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In the next interview from our MHC Life series, we chat to Airy Cleere, an Associate in our Real Estate team. Airy tells us about his love for GAA and travel, including his journey back to Mason Hayes & Curran.

Why did you choose law?

Growing up I never really had one specific profession or job that I wanted to do. I liked everything and anything. I decided to keep my options open so I studied Business and Legal Studies in UCD. I really enjoyed the legal element of the degree. It was very practical and interesting and I found the analytical nature of law useful in developing my problem solving skills. I felt these skills would be easily transferrable to other areas in both my professional and personal life. After graduating I immediately sat the FE1's before becoming a trainee with Mason Hayes & Curran. I deferred my traineeship for one year and headed off on the obligatory year away!

What sports/hobbies do you enjoy?

Sport is a huge part of my life. Every day, I try to fit exercise into my schedule whether it be a gym session or an outdoor venture. Being a lawyer is demanding and exercise keeps me on an even keel! I come from a very active family and we all played GAA from a young age despite my dad playing rugby. I played GAA with my local club, St. Sylvester’s in Malahide, and I was part of the Dublin underage set up from the age of 12 to 21. I won a Leinster minor medal playing alongside my brother in 1999, I captained the Dublin minor team in 2000 and won an all-Ireland under 21 medal in 2003.

Since hanging up my boots I’ve had to replace my love for GAA. I now run, cycle, hike and have lately taken up adventure racing – I recently completed a 147km 12 hour race which included running up and down Carrantuohill in Kerry on the same weekend that Dublin were winning the 5 in a row!

I have a keen interest in nutrition and spend most of my commute listening to podcasts on topics like gut nutrition and obesity. Wellness in the workplace is a growing concern in the office environment and its importance is finally gaining the recognition it deserves. I am delighted that we host an annual wellness month for staff and I look forward to this each year.

Architecture has always fascinated me. Whether it be old period homes in the country or contemporary commercial buildings in the city, I have an interest in all things property related.

What was your journey to Mason Hayes & Curran?

I’ve had two journeys to Mason Hayes & Curran.

My first journey started with a walk up the steps of Number 6/7 Fitzwilliam Square for an interview with Emer Gilvarry. I was offered a traineeship and was part of the first group of trainees to start in the Barrow Street office.

I qualified in 2009 and embarked on my travels. My first stop was Guernsey where I spent 5 years as an offshore corporate/funds lawyer. I loved Guernsey and its sunny weather, but realised corporate law wasn’t for me. Next stop was Vancouver where I decided to take some time out from the legal life. After 2 years in Canada, hiking, snowboarding and working in Lululemon, I decided to return to Ireland.

I returned to Mason Hayes & Curran as a real estate lawyer and haven’t looked back since. It was strange walking up the steps of Barrow Street after 8 years away, but it was great to see that the firm has retained its welcoming environment despite doubling in size.

Favourite thing about the role?

The best thing about being a real estate lawyer is the interaction with people. On a daily basis, I interact with agents, surveyors, architects and clients. As I have a keen interest in property, it is enjoyable to work on the leasing or sale of prominent buildings in Dublin. Since the crash, real estate in Ireland has had to re-invent itself and it is great to see all the emerging trends such as shared living and high-end student accommodation.

The experience and knowledge gained from the business element of my degree has proven extremely useful in my understanding of the commercial nature of real estate transactions. Also, as real estate affects everybody one way or another, I enjoy being able to use my professional knowledge in my personal life and I am constantly asked questions from family and friends about buying or renting a property.

Favourite place you've ever visited?

I loved the two years I spent in Vancouver. Vancouver is such a vibrant city and there is always something happening in both the summer and winter. The city boasts a beautiful sky scraper skyline and is surrounded by water and mountains. The winters are cold but it regularly snows so I was lucky enough to ski and snowboard in the local mountains or in Whistler. Vancouver gets warm summers so hiking is very popular. Vancouver is close to the American border so I regularly ventured into the US for a ski weekend or a road trip along the famous Highway 101. Before I returned to Ireland I took a 6 week road trip through the Rockies. The scenery was breathtaking - I can’t recommend a trip to Canada enough.

One thing most people don’t know about you?

I only have one kidney, but thankfully after 30 years of contact sport I am still alive!

Interested in joining the Law Firm of the Year? We are always interested in hearing from talented and experienced lawyers at all levels who are looking to relocate to Dublin.

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MHC Life: Nikki Evans

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