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MHC Life: Karen Dunleavy

27 March 2020

​In the next interview from our MHC Life series, we chat to our Corporate Knowledge Lawyer, Karen Dunleavy. Karen, based in our London office, tells us about life in London and her secret talent.

What inspired you to venture on this career path?

After completing a law degree, I had intended to pursue a career in business and did the Diploma in Business Studies in Smurfit School of Business in 1999.  However, any graduates that started their law degree prior to 1996 were exempted from doing the FE1 exams at the time.  So, I decided to make a "temporary" move to qualify as a solicitor (as a fall back) before starting out on my career in business.  I'm still here!

Career advice I would give

Always listen to your gut instincts but take advice when you need it. Also, always respect those you work with and against. It's a bit of a cliché but you will never lose out by treating people as you'd like them to treat you.

What was your journey to MHC?

I started an apprenticeship in Landwell in 2000. I qualified there and stayed for a number of years in the M&A group, then moved to another firm. I finally came to MHC in January 2015 and I have never looked back!

What sports/hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy?

I love reading.  A few of my favourite books over the past year were Educated by Tara Westover, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and Stoner by John Williams.  I enjoy watching and playing lots of sports and doing outdoor activities.  It's not easy to get out to the wide open from London - in Dublin we are so lucky in that respect. But, I am playing lots of tennis - after years in semi-retirement; running organised park runs with my kids on Sunday mornings in the common beside us; and doing weekly pilates. We also live beside a 50 meter outdoor pool in the common called the Lido and I hope to start swimming there again in the Spring.  I couldn't face it during the winter months – but some do! It is also very exciting living in London with young kids and we are trying to fit in shows and exhibitions to benefit as much as we can from all that London has to offer.

One thing most people don't know about you?

I won the Slógadh all-Ireland mime competition in 1992! At the end of the week of multiple competitions, twelve acts were awarded a special award called the Gradám and invited to perform for the president. Would have been a great career option but the pay's not great.

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

These days my favourite holiday is to do anything as long as I get to spend time with my children. A few weeks in Connemara (we go there every year) with warm weather (ok, rare) is really hard to beat, but my favourite holiday destination ever was a 3 weeks visit to Egypt years ago. I loved the history attached to everything we went to see including seeing the pyramids, Abu Simbel near the Sudanese border and the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.  We also sailed in a Felucca up the Nile for a few days and went diving in the Red Sea. It's a shame that Egypt is not seen as very safe to visit at the moment.  

Interested in joining Ireland's fastest growing law firm? 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: Katie McDermott

MHC Life: Laura Rattigan

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