I completed a degree in Applied Psychology at University College Cork before moving in to law. I then worked in a general practice firm whilst studying for my FE-1s and completed a Diploma in Employment Law before I got my training contract with Eugene F. Collins.
The first thing that struck me when I came to interview here was how approachable people were. Everyone I spoke to was interested in what I had to say as much as in my qualifications and experience. This goes to the core of what is great about working here – the emphasis placed on personality as well as academic performance and proficiency creates a friendly and open atmosphere in which to work. I started training with seven other trainees and there was a real sense that we were all in this together.
I completed my first rotation in Property & Construction. This is a busy department and I got great hands-on experience dealing with property transactions from initial agreement through to completion. I also had daily contact with clients such as receivers and financial institutions. The sense of accomplishment in working on files was fantastic and this rotation set me up for life as a trainee in other practice areas.
My second rotation was in Dispute Resolution, particularly with the Employment & Pensions group. I assisted in advising employers, employees and insurance companies on issues related to recruitment and dismissal, redundancy and the transfer of undertakings. I assisted in drafting contracts and reviewing new employment legislation as well as regularly helping to defend clients before the Employment Appeals Tribunal. The team really involved me in cases and it was great to be exposed to the different aspects of practice in this area.
After PPC2 I worked with the Corporate Recovery team, this is a particularly interesting and dynamic area and the team are at the fore of what they do. Many of the cases I worked on dealt with newly emerging and high profile areas of law, which was interesting and exciting. The team values trainee input and makes sure that you get the most out of your time with them.
I completed my final seat back in Dispute Resolution and recently qualified into this area. I really enjoyed this training and was heavily involved in a number of cases for hearing before the High Court and Commercial Court. Matters dealt with here are very diverse, from property transactions which have gone awry, to enforcement actions by financial institutions, to personal injuries matters and commercial disputes between companies.
People in Eugene F. Collins are very generous with their time and happy to answer questions, even when the pressure is on. Preparing trainees for their career is taken seriously here, with a number of presentations and seminars geared specifically towards trainees. These presentations are also helpful to get to know colleagues working in other areas of the firm.
Outside of the working day, the firm values a good work life balance and the Social Committee regularly arrange social events, which is a great way to get to know everyone as a new trainee. At the moment, we are competing in a summer tag league and we are intent on winning a trophy! Charity fundraising events are also organised regularly, such as the Sing for Simon and the Calcutta Run.
The atmosphere at Eugene F. Collins is different to other firms because the firm is genuinely interested in creating an open and approachable environment in which to work on interesting and challenging cases, and this goes a long way to allowing trainees to develop and to put their best foot forward when they qualify as solicitors.