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Alumni Profiles

Deirdre O’Shaughnessy

A former student of Law and European Studies (President’s Letter, First Class Honours), Deirdre O’Shaughnessy is now a freelance journalist, event MC, and Editor of Cork’s 96fm Opinion Line.

“During my time at UL I wrote a column for the local newspaper, the Limerick Independent, and contributed to An Focal. In fourth year I ran for election to the Students’ Union and won a position as editor of An Focal and spokesperson for the Students’ Union. This was a great training ground for media work and provided me with a lot of the skills I still use today.

My FYP was on the prohibition on political advertising in Irish broadcast media and I did my co-op in the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Irish Aid section, which was then based in Dublin. After college I worked for the Galway Independent for two years and was promoted to deputy editor, then to the editor of its sister paper the Cork Independent, where I worked for five years and won “Headline Newspaper of the Year”.

During that time I built a broadcast profile contributing to RTÉ, Newstalk, and TV3 as well as to a number of national newspapers. I also began a research masters at UCC into the operation of political gender quotas in Rwanda, which has the highest percentage of women parliamentarians in the world; this was against the backdrop of their introduction in Ireland. I finally finished it three years later!

I moved into broadcasting full-time in 2011, and now work as editor of the daily talk show on Cork’s 96fm. My career highlights include Simon Cumbers’ Media Fund assignments in Cambodia and Rwanda.

My UL training was particularly valuable in teaching me how to approach a story. Legal training teaches you to very quickly how to appraise a situation, analyse, and absorb its main points, which is probably the most crucial skill a journalist could have. I really valued the multidisciplinary approach of the Law and European Studies degree, finding I can apply sociology to every story we do. While I’ve found (what remains of!) my French useful in reporting in places like Rwanda, Haiti, and Cambodia.”

Thomas Costello

A graduate of the LLM in International Commercial Law, Thomas Costello is now working at Eversheds Sutherland.

“I graduated from the LLM in International Commercial Law in 2015. I was attracted to the LLM because of its focus on the practical applications of commercial law across a wide variety of jurisdictions. The LLM was both academically challenging and rewarding, with an emphasis on learning through interactive tutorials and presentations. It was through the LLM that I was given the opportunity to apply commercial law to current world market and business scenarios, to step into the shoes of lawyers or businessmen and assess situations from their point of view, all of which has been vital in developing my legal reasoning and analytic skills.

Currently, I am a trainee in the litigation department of Eversheds Sutherland, having won the Eversheds Sutherland LLM Scholarship and successfully progressed through the Eversheds Sutherland Summer Intern Programme. In my opinion, the University of Limerick, and the LLM, have been instrumental in improving my skillset and obtaining my training contract, and I would highly recommend the LLM to any student seeking to further their legal career.” 

Stuart Kennedy

A graduate of the Law and Accounting degree, Stuart Kennedy is a partner in the Asset Finance Group at Matheson where he advises on all aspects of the sale, purchase, finance and lease of aircraft, aircraft engines, helicopters and corporate jets.  Stuart also regularly presents to aircraft and aircraft engine lessors on all aspects of the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol and to company directors on their duties and responsibilities under Irish law. He is also a lecturer and tutor on the Law Society of Ireland’s Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance.

Stuart was recognised as a “rising star” by Airfinance Journal in its 2013 Guide to Aviation Lawyers and was named “a next generation lawyer” by European Legal 500 2017.

“As a Limerick man the University of Limerick was always my first choice.

I was always very interested in a legal career, however, I was very keen to supplement my legal studies with a strong finance and commercial background.  I felt that this would give me an edge over graduates with just a dedicated legal degree. In this respect the law and accounting degree was the perfect blend of law and accounting/finance, which deepened my understanding of the business world.  It is certainly no surprise that my career is now so heavily focused on finance, where I advise international financial institutions, aircraft owners, aircraft lessors and airlines on all aspects of the financing and leasing of aircraft. The co-operative education programme also provided me with an invaluable opportunity to apply the legal and commercial principles developed throughout my studies in the real world.  It also helped solidify my ambition to pursue a role as a solicitor in a commercial law firm.

Choosing to study law and accounting in UL, and then accepting a training contract with Matheson to pursue my career as a solicitor, has allowed me to develop the key skills and qualities required to become a partner in a top class law firm.”