This week in our MHC Life series, we speak to Patrick Cowhey, a trainee on our Corporate team. Patrick talks about his career journey and his first job.
Tell us a bit about you and your career journey to MHC – what inspired you to get into this career?
In Transition Year I spent two weeks in a law firm making books for hundreds of hip replacement actions, which didn't convince me to go down the law path. However, after school, I studied Business and Law in UCD to give me some options. During this time, I leaned more towards the law side of the degree as I enjoyed figuring out the different ways laws can apply to solve real world problems (and I did not enjoy the monotony of accounting!). I did the internship here the summer I finished college and was lucky enough to be offered a training contract soon after. I went on to study for the FE1s while working part time in a school. Unfortunately, my planned year working in Australia was derailed by Covid, so I continued to work in the school for another year before starting my traineeship.
I was fortunate to get the chance to go on secondment in Meta as part of the data protection team for 6 months. My role was mostly on the incident response (data breach) team, working alongside software engineers and lawyers in the US to determine if an incident was reportable to the DPC or not. This meant dealing with trickier incidents such as hacking attempts and complaints from well-known figures to smaller scale data breaches, such as incorrect email recipients. The experience was not something I had ever expected to do so it was great to get an eye into the running of such a large scale business and be involved in decisions that had such reaching consequences. The Meta freebies were also a career highlight so far.
Talk through a typical day for you?
Luckily, I can walk to work which is nice to just take some time out of the day or listen to podcasts. I am currently in the Commercial Litigation department which means every day is definitely different and what I do depends on what crops up. The variety of work, from property or shareholder disputes to trademark and data protection litigation is something I enjoy. On a given day I could be attending court, preparing briefs for counsel, drafting letters or trying to get something through the Central Office. One of the things I enjoy about working here is that I can make training two or three times a week in the evenings and with working from home these days I can log back on after, if necessary. In the evenings I usually watch whatever terrible tv show my housemates have on or try to find some live sport instead.
What was your first job?
One of my first jobs was running my own gardening company but the only client was my grandad, so I went bust quickly enough. My first proper job was working in a café as a waiter. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of it, as the day went quickly chatting to customers and running around the place. I think everyone should work in the service industry at some stage as getting an earful from chefs, managers and customers definitely helps sharpen your attention to detail and ability to take criticism!
If I wasn't a trainee..
If I wasn't a trainee, I would possibly be a teacher. I worked part time as a rugby coach all through college and then for a year during Covid, I worked full time in a primary school as a classroom assistant and PE teacher. Coaching is a good laugh when you can eventually organise twenty ten year old's and is rewarding to see the progression over the course of the years. Working in the classroom was just as entertaining. Thankfully I only had to take a class by myself a handful of times, standing up in front of thirty kids was a lot harder than I ever envisioned!
Have you ever met anyone famous?
I got a picture with Sea the Stars a couple of years ago.
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