After graduating with a Corporate Law Degree from NUI Galway in 2014 I worked in a commercial law firm while studying for my FE-1s before commencing a Traineeship with Eugene F. Collins. Balancing work and study at times proved extremely difficult but looking back now I can honestly say it was definitely worthwhile.
When I came to interview at Eugene F. Collins I was struck by the friendly, open welcome I received as soon as I arrived and found this to be the case in all my ensuing interactions with the firm. I was struck by the genuine nature of the interview, that there was an interest in hearing my story and the sense that the intention was to get to know me as a person as opposed to creating a pressurised environment. While some other interviews felt like I was trying to be caught out, it was clear that the two partners had read my application in depth and had a real interest in what I had to say. This when compared to experiences of interviewing elsewhere meant I had no hesitation in accepting my offer.
I began as a Pre-Blackhall trainee in the firm’s Dispute Resolution Department. This is an extremely busy department however the open-door policy which the firm prides itself on was immediately apparent. Naturally, especially in those early weeks I was heavily reliant on fee earner instruction and interaction and this was never an issue, with everyone being more than happy to offer me their time and experience when required.
While in this seat I received great exposure to many aspects of the litigation process but also a great insight into the work of a litigation solicitor. I have attended client meetings, Workplace Relations Adjudications and various hearings in the Four Courts. Perhaps the most interesting matter in which I was involved was an application for Security for Costs before the Commercial Court in relation to a complex professional negligence action. To be involved in a matter of such significance as a trainee who hadn’t yet to attend PPC-1 was a great experience and one from which I learned a great deal.
The diverse nature of this seat made it extremely interesting as I became involved in matters ranging from Construction and Environmental to Immigration and also contentious litigation such as debt recovery – each affording me the opportunity to work closely with and learn from extremely knowledgeable and talented fee earners and partners.
Eugene F. Collins puts great importance in nurturing their trainees and training and development is seen as extremely important. Trainee seminars and department overview presentations give trainees the opportunity to expand their knowledge to an even greater extent while also providing an opportunity to become acquainted with individuals working in other departments.
I also availed of the opportunity to join the Social Committee which is extremely active and emphasises how much the firm values a good work life balance and also raises much needed funds for local charities.