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This week in our MHC Life Series, we speak to Jay Sattin, Senior Associate in our Planning and Environmental Law team. Jay tells us about everything from his journey to law, to a typical day and his favourite past time.

Tell us a bit about you and your career journey to MHC – what inspired you to get into this career?

It has been a slightly unusual career journey and law was not my first career.

I studied environmental management at University. After that, I joined a large engineering consultancy as an environmental consultant. I worked alongside lawyers and barristers providing supporting evidence for major infrastructure projects. At this stage, I realised that it was the legal side I enjoyed more.

After completing my legal conversion course, I trained at DMH Stalled and moved to Farrer & Co on qualification. They’re known as being the Royal Family’s solicitors and I predominantly worked for Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall estate on large-scale housing developments.

My wife is Irish, and we made the lockdown decision to move to Ireland. I had a particular interest in renewables and saw the Mason, Hayes & Curran planning and environment team as the perfect fit.

What was your first job?

An environmental planning consultant for Mott MacDonald. I would prepare environmental reports for large infrastructure projects such as Crossrail. These projects lasted years. I recall in one meeting an engineer commented that a part of the design had gone full circle over the last 15 years and reverted back to original design.

Another major project was upgrading Victoria station. The majority of the works were proposed in a residential area popular with barristers and judges. As you’d expect, the public inquiry was particularly challenging.

Talk us through a typical day for you

My day starts off with dropping off our son at nursery. A strong coffee when I return home and a quick scan of the day’s actions.

There is no typical day as such because the work is so varied. It is likely that I would be working on both contentious and non-contentious matters each day. For example, I am currently working alongside a junior and senior counsel acting for a wind energy developer challenging the Board’s determination that an increase in energy output from a wind farm requires planning permission. This has far reaching implications for an industry where the technology advances at a rapid pace and planning can be a drawn out process.

Non-contentious work includes reviewing planning applications, due diligence and contractual negotiations for property and business transactions, as well as regulatory compliance such as waste management take-back requirements.

What sports/hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy?

I like to watch football and support Watford FC, who are probably most famous for being previously owned by Elton John.

Although I’m tall I never really played rugby, but I do enjoy watching the 6 nations. However, when I watched matches in the pub this year, I realised the biggest cheer is when England concede a try (against any team!).

In terms of hobbies, I like music and try to go to gigs when I have time. I’ve not managed to see that many in Ireland as yet but do have a few in the pipeline.

What's your idea of a perfect holiday/favourite place you've ever visited?

One of the best travel experiences I had was a trip to India. I started in a place called Leh, which is in the far north of the country. The scenery is stunning, and I hiked through a part of the Himalayas for just over a week. It felt like another planet.

After that, I visited Amritsar, which is home of the golden temple, a holy place of worship for Sikkhs. I then travelled down to Delhi and Aggra to see the Taj Mahal. My trip finished in Goa, which has incredible food, relaxing beaches and great weather.

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