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In the next interview from our MHC Life series, we chat to recently promoted Employment Law & Benefits Partner, Paul Rochford. Paul talks us through his former life as a professional soldier, his passion for cooking and career advice he would give.

What inspired you to venture on this career path/why did you choose law?

My original undergraduate degree was in engineering in University College Galway (as it was then called). During my time there I fell in with a group of LLB and B. Corp. Law students at the Literary and Debating Society. I enjoyed the back and forth of the debate and the need to think on my feet, which drew me to the law and to litigation. As a trainee solicitor in Toronto, Canada I was exposed to a variety of practice areas but enjoyed employment law most of all. The connection with clients, the potential intersection of a number of areas of law in a client’s case and the ability to develop innovative solutions for clients mean that it continues to be a very enjoyable area to practice in. That has been added to since I joined our Education Law team. Helping schools and colleges to solve their legal issues and focus on their core task of education is very satisfying.

Career advice I would give:

Career plans are good, but as they say in the military “…the plan never survives contact with the enemy”. The practice of law continues to change but that change presents career possibilities you may never have planned for. Be open to unexpected opportunities that align with your values.

Have you always worked in law?

I joined the Defence Forces straight from school and spent over 13 years as a professional soldier before completing my law degree. I then spent 3 more years as a military lawyer before leaving to go into private practice. I’ve been very fortunate that some of values and qualities I developed in military service such as integrity, respect, resilience and hard work have been hugely beneficial to me in my legal career.

What sports/hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy?

I enjoy watching sports of all kinds but particularly rugby and soccer. My time in Canada has also given me a peculiar interest in ice hockey for an Irishman, although Canadians just call it ‘hockey’. I like to relax and unwind by cooking for my family, particularly in summer when I can break out the barbecue.

If I wasn’t a solicitor, I would probably be…

…a chef. Cooking is at the same time both structured and creative, somewhat like the practice of law. There is also the benefit of instant feedback in the form of empty plates and happy diners. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of cooking for family and friends and wondered how I would be able to handle doing that on a larger scale in a restaurant type setting. So far my record is 14 people for Christmas dinner!

Favourite quote?

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” John F. Kennedy

Interested in joining the Law Firm of the Year? 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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