As part of our MHC Intern Life series, Laura Ryan tells us about her passion for boxing and her experience as both an intern and trainee.
Talk us through a typical day for you when you were an intern & now as a trainee
I was an intern 5 years ago and the one thing that has stuck with me was that it was nothing like I had expected. We spent very little time at our desks, instead our days were filled with training or talks which included presentations from people in different practices areas and Q&A sessions. There were a number of social events, some with just the intern group and others with the whole firm. I really enjoyed these and it showed me that MHC is true to their promise of a work life balance. As interns, we were all put in groups for projects and while this seemed daunting at first I was really glad of it. The project title was geared toward the practice area we were in. This gave me the opportunity to get to know people on my floor as I would pick their brains for research tips! It also meant that we were up and about the office, as a group we would meet in the meeting rooms to plan or we would venture to the library. I found it was a great way to get to know each other, the firm, the available resources and to see what life was like in the MHC offices.
As a trainee now, every day is different particularly between departments. There are days that I come into the office and spend the day at my desk working on tasks for fee earners and there are other days you spend in taxis running to the courts, to client’s offices or another law firm. There are some days where you are completely run off your feet and there are others where you enjoy an 11 o’clock coffee and you are out the door by 5.30pm. In some departments I have worked on a transaction from beginning to end and have been on that one team for the duration whereas in others I have been involved in smaller tasks for a larger number of matters and fee earners. The benefit of the variation between departments is that it helps you to decide not only the area of law you have an interest in but also which area and style of working suits you best. The benefit of training in Mason Hayes and Curran LLP is that you get exposure to the many forms a career as a solicitor can take.
Why did you choose MHC for your internship?
I was attracted to MHC because of the fact that in order to get a traineeship you must complete the internship. While at the time it may have seemed more convenient to skip an internship and apply for a traineeship, I am really glad that I choose the MHC intern programme. The four weeks I spent in the firm showed me that I wanted to train as a solicitor and that with MHC’s multitude of practice areas it would be an invaluable place to train. It is possible that between being hired and starting your traineeship almost 2 years can have elapsed. It would have been incredibly daunting to have started in the office having only been there once before, for the interview. Instead when I started my traineeship I already knew so much about the firm, I felt comfortable there, I felt it was a good fit for me and me a good fit for them. This has allowed me to really feel at home in MHC and to focus on my training and on finding the area which I would like to qualify into.
What is the best thing about MHC?
The social aspect of MHC is the best thing about the firm. As an intern there were a number activities organised for us which included canoeing past the offices one Friday afternoon. They were such good a opportunity to get to know each other especially as many of the other interns are now in my intake. Since joining the firm as a trainee, it was rare that a week went by without an activity or event. There is boxing classes, tag rugby, an MHC choir, the annual hike, wine tasting evenings, pub quizzes, tree planting afternoons, PRIDE parties, department days out and various interesting and topical speakers have visited the office. The staff at MHC are very social, friendly and personable and the social events have really helped me to get to know people. I think you really cannot overestimate how important it is to get to know people in your network, the difference a chat in the lift or a friendly smile in the coffee queue can have on your day is massive and it is the social events which facilitates this.
What sports/hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy?
When I was in Blackhall I took part in the charity boxing fight, which was without a doubt the most terrifying experience of my life. It did however get me hooked on boxing and I have been attending classes in the nearby Headon Boxing Academy ever since. I even managed to keep it up over lockdown by doing virtual classes in my front garden. While this managed to keep me sane, my neighbours definitely thought the opposite. I am still getting looks from those who spotted me ferociously punching the air while holding my home made weights.
What's your idea of a perfect holiday/favourite place you've ever visited?
The best place I ever visited was New York. When I finished my FE1s, I decided to do the work graduate visa and my friend and I headed away for the year before starting Blackhall. It was an incredible experience, I have never been anywhere with such a buzz. We lived in Brooklyn in a large loft with one plug in heater and our bedrooms were made out of plywood. We thought it was great, my parents thought it was complete madness. We spent the year laughing, and eating, our way around the city enjoying all the wonderful and weird delights New York has to offer.