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

Even though I studied law in university, I never intended to be a solicitor or a barrister funnily enough. I didn’t apply for a traineeship, for example. I was living in Spain in 2011 and started working in a law firm to replace a friend who was leaving the firm. I was assisting the lawyers there with litigation relating to economic sanctions that the EU had imposed on certain Iranian companies and individuals. I really enjoyed the detailed nature of the work and took the New York State bar exams in order to get a professional qualification. I stayed working in that firm for three years and really enjoyed working on sanctions cases, a few of which we won in the GCEU in Luxembourg.

In 2014, I decided to return to Ireland but at that point but I still hadn’t decided that legal practice was the career for me long term. I interviewed with a few firms and found MHC was the best fit for me. I was impressed by how the firm had grown during the economic downturn post 2008/2009 and liked the people I met at interview stage. Since joining the firm I haven’t looked back. I think what motivates me is trying to understand the business challenges of our clients and working to help them find solutions.

What was your first job?

Working in the interior decoration department in a Laura Ashley store in order to have money to go on a J1 holiday. I enjoyed working there with some very nice people but the customers were definitely suspect of some of my decoration tips – I still remember suggesting brown wallpaper to a disbelieving customer.

Talk us through a typical day for you during the COVID-19 pandemic…

I have been in Madrid since the onset of the pandemic, so the experience has been somewhat different for me. The first few months were very difficult as the restrictions in Spain were more severe than in Ireland. For the first 10 weeks we could only leave our apartment to buy food or for medical emergencies, nothing else. Having a one year old daughter at home meant that my wife and I had to take turns working during the day which isn’t ideal.

Since those restrictions were lifted in June 2020 the situation has been much better and schools and most retail stores and premises are open, including pubs and restaurants. As a result, apart from wearing a mask everywhere and WFH, things are largely back to normal for us. A typical day would be getting up early before my daughter to get some work done, then preparing her for, and taking her to, crèche. I try to structure the day as best I can. For example, I plan the hours I will be at the desk and then try to fit in some exercise. I usually try to do something with my family in the evenings and then either watch the news or do another couple of hours of work. If you don't plan, you might find yourself spending the entire day working.

What are you most looking forward to when normality prevails?

I don’t think there is any one thing - just going back to enjoying what we used to take for granted. Whether it is being able to attend live sports again or meeting up with friends and family on a regular basis. If I had to mention one thing it would have to be going to Croke Park to see Dublin play and enjoying the atmosphere before a big match.

What sports/hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy?

I always enjoyed playing sports (GAA, football, rugby) but over the last few years my favourite pastime on the weekends has been going for walks in the countryside. I love reading Sherlock Holmes stories on the weekend also.

If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be...

I think I would almost certainly be involved in politics.

People who inspire me…

James Connolly.

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