Having graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Arts in History, I decided to make the move towards a future in the legal profession.
I started this journey working as an intern in a commercial law firm in Dublin before completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Law. While studying for my FE1 exams, I was fortunate to secure a position as a legal executive within the dispute resolution department of Eugene F Collins (EFC).
I was initially attracted to EFC due to its reputation an as ambitious and progressive law firm, which offers the ideal environment for an aspiring solicitor to develop their legal skills. Whilst working as a legal executive, I observed first-hand the culture of teamwork that EFC fosters. The firm also places a great emphasis on the development of its employees and provided me with all of the support and guidance necessary to pass my FE1 exams.
Having thoroughly enjoyed my time as a legal executive, I was delighted to be offered a traineeship with the firm. My first rotation as a trainee was in the firm’s dispute resolution department, where I assisted primarily on a group of high profile and complex personal injury cases. This involved briefing counsel, attending direction hearings and pre-trial motions (both in-person and remotely), working with experts and witnesses in preparation of reports and attending on numerous client meetings. The nature of this litigation afforded me the opportunity to work as part of the team and to observe lawyers who are at the top of their field in action. I also had the opportunity to assist on a variety of other dispute resolution matters such as judicial review proceedings, employment law disputes and regulatory matters.
I found my rotation in the dispute resolution department to be challenging and extremely rewarding. The team structure and open door policy in place at EFC ensures that all solicitors are accessible to trainees. I found that solicitors at every level of the firm whether newly qualified, associates or partners were always more than happy to assist with any queries and to take the time to explain the various elements of the work, which is fundamental in the development of a trainee.
In addition to the extensive ‘on-the-job training’ provided, EFC runs a Trainee Development Programme. As part of the programme, regular training seminars on a wide range of topics are delivered by solicitors and partners from all departments within the firm. This allows trainees to develop their knowledge pertaining to their current rotation, as well as exposing them to legal developments and training relevant to all of EFC’s areas of specialism. Trainees are also required to present regularly on current legal issues in order to develop their research and presentation skills.
EFC also promotes a work-life balance. As trainees, we are actively encouraged to get involved in the extra curricular activities and events offered by the firm. Whether it be signing up for a charity run or cycle, joining the green committee or social committee, every effort is made to ensure that trainees are made to feel part of the team and that they are provided with the opportunity to experience so much more than just their legal training.