As part of our MHC Intern Life series, Meghan McSweeney tells us about her secondment experience as a trainee and her favourite travel destinations.
Talk us through a typical day for you as a trainee
I have spent the past four months on secondment at Facebook. I work for the Privacy Legal Team. It is a fantastic opportunity that MHC facilitates a trainee to work at the Facebook EMEA Headquarters in Dublin. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, I have not been able to actually work in the Facebook office, but the team have been very welcoming and supportive during these WFH times! Due to the nature of the work and the time difference with the US, the hours can be different to a normal Irish working day. I am a morning person so I use the time that I would have spent commuting to work to go to my exercise class first thing in the morning. I then start work before the daily calls begin at 10am. Team members are based all over the world, so a lot of my day will be spent on calls with colleagues from EU, Middle East, South America and the US. During WFH, I try to keep to a routine as much as possible. I am a coffee addict, every day my housemate and I walk to the local coffee shop to get some air and caffeine! I also love to cook, WFH has provided me with a great opportunity to try out new snack or curry recipes. I always make sure that I take a break for dinner in the evening and to pop out and get some fresh air. Like a lot of people we are also working our way through Netflix!
Where did you study and why?
I studied Law with History in UCD. I always loved history and wasn’t sure if I would like law, UCD offered the perfect combination for me! I was also fortunate enough to study abroad during my third year, at DePaul Law School (Chicago, Illinois). After graduating from UCD, I sat the New York Bar because I wanted to gain a professional qualification that would broaden my future professional practice and my ability to work with international clients. I also completed a L.L.M. in International Law at Georgetown Law Center (Washington D.C.). I had always wanted to study international law with a foreign affairs/diplomacy aspect. I also have a huge interest in human rights advocacy, Georgetown enables students to incorporate specific subjects like human rights into the L.L.M studies. This coupled with the location of the Law School to so many international institutions, made it a perfect fit!
Best thing about here
The best thing about here is the working culture. We have the benefit to train in a top Irish law firm, work with leading practitioners in their field, but do so in a friendly and supportive environment. You can literally be in the queue for coffee in the canteen and talk to anyone. There is a great emphasis placed on creating a professional, yet friendly atmosphere. MHC is unique because everyone has the same desk in an open plan office. The amount of exposure that a trainee can obtain from sitting across from a Head of Department, Partner or from a newly qualified solicitor is invaluable. Training/learning through osmosis is something that cannot be replicated and during this current WFH time, is something that I have grown to appreciate even more.
“Everything happens for a reason”. I am a firm believer in this line. I didn’t take the traditional route prior to starting my training contract at MHC. Life has a way of putting you in the right place at the right time and I honestly believe that got me to where I am today training in MHC.
Have you ever met anyone famous?
During my study year abroad in Chicago, a bar was hosting a premiere night for the new season of Desperate Housewives. Myself and my housemates went along and met Mike Delfino (James Denton), who stopped by our table to chat about the episode!! Some of our group suddenly soon became fans of the show after taking pictures with Mike!
What's your favourite place you've ever visited?
I love to travel and I have been lucky to visit some great places traveling with family and friends. Prior to starting my training contract, I was fortunate to work for the United Nations in Cambodia. I worked for the Trial Chamber at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). During my time, the Trial Chamber issued its decision in Case 002/02 against two former Khmer Rouge leaders, it was very surreal to be in the same court room as these two men. I love the sun/heat and being able to live and work in such a different culture was an incredible experience!