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This week in our MHC Life Series, we hear from Micheál Grace, Banking Partner and Head of our International committee. Micheál chats about his journey into law and his royal connections.

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

My English teacher in Cistercian College Roscrea was the first person to suggest law as a career. Coming from a farming background, I didn’t know anyone or have any connections in the law so hadn’t previously considered it. From there, I looked at the courses available, got into UCC, which led to a year in St Louis University, and ultimately interviewed with various firms for a traineeship. MHC was the only one to offer me a job, so it was easy to make the choice! And as Declan Black was my first interviewer, he can shoulder the blame for my then unforeseen shortcomings!

Which sector do you work in?

Financial services

What was your first job?

Apart from working on the farm at home, my first ‘proper’ job was as a waiter and barman in Aherlow House Hotel, Tipperary. Hotel work is tough, but it is a fantastic way to observe and learn about human behaviour, as you see guests from breakfast through to the wee hours. Also, handy knowing how to hold four plates in one hand and what to put into all of those glasses at dinner.

Talk us through a typical day for you....

Generally, up before 7am. Donal, our four year old, and myself make our breakfast while our one year old, Emer causes a bit of chaos! Donal knows his way around a Nespresso machine and I sort out the fruit and eggs. After he goes to Montessori, I head to the desk either upstairs or in Barrow Street. Depending on the day, we kick off with a team meeting on zoom and work through our list of matters. Happily, the team is always busy so there’s lots to talk about. The day is interspersed with work calls, internal meetings and the odd nappy change if at home! Transactional work can be uneven with periods of extreme busyness followed by quieter periods. Therefore, the day might end in the early hours of the next day. One of the positives about working from home is that I still get to spend some time with Donal and Emer. My wife Gráinne is a barrister so also has a demanding job. She is home most evenings to get the kids to bed and we try to have a family dinner as often as we can. We have always worked hard at balancing work and home and I think we get it right most of the time.

What sports/hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy?

I’ve returned to throwing the hammer as a masters athlete. It has been great fun and the training involves technical work (weekly training with a group out in Santry) and weights. At one point over the pandemic I started running. It’s safe to say I’m naturally suited to/built for lifting and throwing things. Not to running about. Just before the pandemic, I also got a bike as a 40th birthday present. A wonderful way of commuting to the pub, now that they're open.

If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be........

Avoiding this interview!

Have you ever met anyone famous?

I’m pretty sure that by now everyone knows that I met the Queen in Buckingham Palace, but most recently I met multiple Olympic gold medallist and legendary American sprinter Michael Johnson.

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