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MHC50: Mason Hayes & Curran Celebrating 50 Years

08 January 2020

Mason Hayes & Curran was founded in 1970 and are celebrating 50 years of practice in 2020.

Dermot Mason, Michael Hayes and Maurice Curran first set up practice together in 1970 in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin with 8 lawyers. At the time there were 1,963 legal professionals in Ireland of which only 151 were women.    

A bright day at 6 Fitzwilliam Square

In the 1980’s we expanded to 16 lawyers and our clients included the main Irish banks, multinationals and telecoms companies.

Current MHC partners Ailbhe Gilvarry, John Kettle (former partner), Declan Black, David O’Donnell, Liam Brazil and Wendy Hederman, pictured on their promotion to senior associates - on some deniable date in the 1990s.

A number of very familiar faces joined in the 1990s (captioned above). The firm increased to 30 lawyers and extended into 65 Fitzwilliam Square. In 1996 we were one of the first Irish law firms to have a website, in keeping with our commitment to technology. 

Websites actually looked like this

We also launched a newsletter, MHC Times, which became very popular, mainly because of the back page of lawyer jokes in each issue. Another source of laughter was our first football team, what they lacked in talent they made up for in enthusiasm. 

MHC first team in the mid 90’s, with a couple of more talented guest players

Maurice Curran was succeeded as Managing Partner by Declan Moylan in 1999 and he oversaw both the local and international expansion of the firm. We formed an alliance with Carson McDowell in Belfast in 2001 and were one of the first Irish law firms to open offices in New York in 2002. 

MHC MP Declan Moylan meets Hilary Clinton to mark the launch of our NYC office (not in Trump Tower)

In 2006 we moved to South Bank House in Barrow Street to accommodate our growing numbers, with over 200 then in the firm – and, it seemed, our growing art collection. Declan led our art committee and, with a relaxed approach to budgets, he marked the move by commissioning a Corban Walker sculpture for the atrium of our new building. We also moved to a well-designed fully open plan working environment, which has been essential to maintaining good internal communications and helping lawyers develop and learn.  

The opening of the Barrow Street Offices by then Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen. Seated are Messrs Mason, Hayes & Curran and then MP, Declan Moylan

Emer Gilvarry succeeded Declan Moylan as Managing Partner in 2008.  It was to be a busy year for Emer as she also oversaw the firm’s merger with Arthur O’Hagan along with their Managing Partner John Gleeson. Arthur O’Hagan could trace their legacy back to pre-famine times and brought substantial expertise, particularly in the areas of healthcare, education and charities. In 2009 the expansion continued with the opening of our London office, which is now home for many of our lawyers each week.

The growth in the last decade has been the most dramatic including the opening of our San Francisco office. We now have over 500 staff across all four offices. We also won international recognition including our first Irish Law Firm of the Year awards from both The Lawyer and Chambers and Partners plus Innovative Lawyer acknowledgement from the Financial Times.    Declan Black became Managing Partner in 2014 and was recently reselected for another three years starting in 2019.

Throughout all this time we hope we have stayed true to our values of legal excellence, real service and making sure our advice is practical and commercial. We have also been home to hundreds of staff and are proud to see so many MHC alumni active in the legal industry in Ireland and internationally.   

We look forward to the next 50 years for Mason Hayes & Curran, and hope to have some fun along the way.

Some current MHC partners - with their old hairstyles

Mason Hayes & Curran will host a special MHC Lounge event for clients of the firm in The Round Room at The Mansion House on Wednesday 26 February.

To enquire about this event, please email events@mhc.ie

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