Course Manager and Lecturer at the Law Society’s Law School
At 12 I decided to become a solicitor (watching too many Matlock episodes I suspect!). I got a place to study in Galway but my mother said I couldn’t go as it too far away from home. Instead I did history and politics in UCD followed by a Diploma in Legal Studies and the FE1’s. Despite not having any legal connections I had a traineeship lined up for many years having nabbed John Garahy from a local firm when he did mock interviews with us in fifth year. Unfortunately the effect of the recession meant I had to transfer my indentures and spent some time knocking on doors before being taken on by the kind and learned Daire Murphy who was principal of Abercorn Solicitors at the time.
When doing my final solicitor exams I also decided to do a law degree as I had become hooked on learning. This has been followed up by various diplomas, certificates, a masters and a PhD in the following years.
I fell into teaching purely by chance as I mentioned an interest in it at my parchment ceremony. This led to an approach to join the Law School which I didn’t take up at that time but did later after I gained post qualification experience.
I have enormous interest and passion for both property law and education and have been lucky enough to combine the two in my career. I enjoy the academic and practical aspects of both and am involved in training people who have no knowledge of law, trainee solicitors and also those long qualified. What gives me the most pleasure is assisting people to get to grips with property law in novel and interesting ways and helping trainee solicitors towards successful careers.
I have published numerous articles and books and have had the opportunity to get involved in other projects within the Law Society such as eConveyancing and eSignatures.
Identify your passions and maximise opportunities in those spheres – often a dead end or no hope project can lead to other, new, interesting avenues.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get – without being obstreperous obviously.
Put yourself forward but don’t allow your willingness to be taken advantage of – always reserve the right to say ‘no’ to additional, voluntary effort. If you don’t value your work and time, no one else will.
Remember the quote from Marianne Williamson (often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela) ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.’ If you decide to study law and become a solicitor remember that as people, as professionals, we must respect and use our power wisely.
For other career success stories, see Career Spotlight.