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Rachel Jones Co-operative Education Placement

I am a legal assistant in the Debt Recovery Department in Mason Hayes and Curran (MHC). Photograph of Rachel Jones

As a law student, I understand how lucky I am to be working in a top five firm. MHC truly lives up to its reputation, it is a firm that really cares about the atmosphere in the office and ensures that everyone feels welcome. They make it really easy to get to know your colleagues on a personal and professional level. For example, on my second week of my placement I was asked to be the photographer for a dragon boat race between two teams of MHC employees. It was such a nice feeling to be instantly included and also let me get to know my colleagues personalities beyond the confinements of the office.

As regards my placement, my main tasks involve a lot of research. MHC is fortunate to have a library team that you can go to if you need to find out more about a certain topic.

The library team have truly taught me so much about how to research properly by using keywords, certain websites, and even how to approach a topic from different angles to make sure one has covered everything. For this alone I feel like I have gained invaluable experience from this placement. Their consistent help and patience has made me feel more prepared to face the skills and demands of my final year in UL.

One of my other tasks is attending court. This is something I had never done before working in MHC but is probably one of my favourite parts of my job. Attending Court involves Logo for Mason Hayes & Currangoing to the Four Courts, writing down what the judge says and reporting back to whoever is in charge of the case.

Attending court really breaks up the day and lets you see what law is like in action. However, the highlight of my placement so far has been the opportunity to make a sub-service application in front of the County Registrar. This involved asking for court proceedings to be served in another manner than prescribed in the court rules. I had to open up the application in frontof a room of experienced barristers and hope that the County Registrar would rule in my favour. Thankfully, my application was successful.

One of the most unique aspects of my placement is that unlike some of my other Law Plus classmates, I am fortunate to have another student from Maynooth University working in my department. I think it is a great idea on MHC’s behalf to have two law students in such close proximity to one another because it means I always have someone to double check emails before I send them or someone to read over my research to make sure it makes sense. We have the opportunity to share knowledge and tips without having to ask questions of our superiors in the office.

In conclusion, I am fortunate to have had this opportunity as I had never worked in a law firm before. Although, at times there was a steep learning curve, I feel like this placement has equipped me with the skills needed to go out into the working world once my degree is over.