Intern Thomas Matthews talks us through everything from what led him to law to his love for horse racing.
What inspired you to choose law?
I suppose like many aspiring solicitors, I think it began from enjoying arguing and work on problems! I studied Business and Law because I had not completely made up my mind and thought the course would give me a good base if I wanted to change directions. However, as the years went by, I began to prefer the law modules, and found, when I got to the bottom of a problem question, a great deal of satisfaction from the research and study.
I did a mock arbitration for my final semester project, and while the specific issue was not terribly exciting, I enjoyed trying to build a case and argue it in front of the tribunal. I felt like especially with arbitration you get a chance to try and really argue using as many tricks and moves as you can because the process and the decision-making process are not as formal.
Where did you study and why?
I am currently in UCD doing a masters in International Commercial Law.
I finished my undergraduate and was not too sure what to do next. I had always considered doing a masters but I was more tempted to do it after a traineeship, as seemingly practical experience can really help. However, with the pandemic I knew I would find the FE-1s with their lack of structure quite hard and did not want to them online, so I took the plunge and did the masters.
What department are you working in?
I am working in the Corporate Department.
What pastimes do you enjoy?
I am very into horse-racing. During college, I ride part-time for Sneezy Foster’s in Cullentra House, Meath. I actually rode in a few races too, but my height and weight led me to a quick retirement! I still find it a great way to forget about college work and keep fit, especially when we were in lockdown.
I was at the Cheltenham Festival when we won champion yard for the first time which was a great experience. Unfortunately, I have not been to Aintree for any of the Nationals yet. I was Ireland’s tallest jockey at 6 ft 4… I skipped a lot of dinners before racing.
What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?
At this stage, just out of the country! I cannot wait for that feeling when you get off a plane and are just hit by a glaring lovely sun and the heat.
I went to Petra in Jordan when I was 15 and I remember seeing the Treasury Building for the first time and being blown away by it.
You have to go through this increasingly narrower ridge in the rock face and by the end you’re only walking two or three abreast and you round a corner and it just suddenly appeared in the rock-face. The only thing missing was Indiana Jones.
First Impressions of MHC?
Very friendly. When I heard the internship was going to be virtual, I was a bit deflated because I had heard from other people on virtual placements they were basically just sitting in front of their computer pressing refresh on Outlook hoping for a task but everyone has been great so far at welcoming us and keeping us occupied.
The sessions with the support staff about how to use the facilities has been especially helpful.
One of the things that really piqued my interest in MHC was the forward-thinking departments and international offices. I think there is a lot of young students who like me had reservations about law as you obviously only qualify in one country, however, as firm dealing with international firms I thought it was certainly worth looking into more.
Another reason, I was attracted to MHC was because I liked the idea that you got to do an internship to get a chance at a traineeship. By getting the chance to actually experience the firm’s work and also understand what a traineeship could be like this has allowed me to better enjoy the experience. We have all been placed on partner led teams along with buddies who are trainees and newly qualified solicitors, which helps you understand both the practical aspects of the work done and the culture of the firm. This was my first internship in a law firm so it was really helpful to have a buddy to pester with all my questions.
If you weren't a law student, what would you be?
I wanted to be an architect when I was younger but I think it was probably because I just enjoyed building with Lego!