There is a popular perception that the beginning of your working life spells the end of your social and sporting life. There is a notion that it is an impossible marriage. If that is the case then plenty of people in the firm make the impossible possible.
Fitness and Sport
The culture promoted within the firm is one of a healthy body is a healthy mind. This is evidenced by the many activities which the firm engages in and organises. Gym bags, yoga mats, tennis and badminton rackets, and cricket bags are regularly spotted every day of the week squeezing through the revolving doors.
The firm takes part in the Spring and Summer Irish Rugby Tag Association Leagues and has enjoyed many successes over the years. Debutant(e)s are always welcome but participation always comes with a health warning - once you start be prepared to get hooked! Every week the post match analysis gets underway in the corner of one of the warm environs in close proximity to the pitches with everyone toasting that evening’s performance.
Soccer is another favourite and the team regularly competes in the final stages of the Solicitors’ League. The pitch in Blackhall Place turns into Dublin 7’s very own Field of Dreams where people from firms all over Dublin put on a performance for bragging rights. Five-a-side soccer is weekly instalment for those who have the skills to operate in confined spaces or for those who prefer the smaller soccer field!
Trainees (and future trainees!) form an integral part of both teams and there is always competition for places. The ‘next-day’ tag rugby and soccer match reports are highly anticipated with many in the firm postponing the trip to the canteen for a coffee and a biscuit until it hits their inbox. The reports provide a platform for some of the firm’s talented writers to come to the fore and practise a different form of drafting. No-one escapes a mention from the tag rugby and soccer scribes!
Cycle-to-work competitions are also put in place for those with plenty of energy in the morning! The firm provides a regular free bike tune-up service on site as well as showers and lockers. Golfing and sailing lessons are frequently organised by the firm as post-work activities throughout the year.
Sport and CSR often join forces. This year members of the Policy Committee, the Management Committee and the CSR Committee will join trainees in our inaugural relay triathlon to raise funds for the Trainee Zambia Initiative. Four teams, one from each Department and each including partners and a trainee, will participate.
Several times throughout the year one of the boardrooms transforms into a hub for anyone in the firm with a penchant for poker and an appetite for pizza and beer. The inter-departmental Brain Box Quiz is another successful project run by the entertainment committee. Lunchtime events across the road at the National Concert Hall and comedy nights at one of the venues in town also feature in the social calendar.
One of the biggest events in the trainee calendar is the ‘weekend away’ where all the trainees from the Dublin and Belfast offices get the opportunity to socialise together. The location is top secret right up to the point where you arrive at the gates of the venue which adds much suspense to the trip. Last year saw the bus negotiate winding roads that dipped and peaked before it came to a halt in the car park of the Kippure Estate in Wicklow! It was a brilliant weekend with super food, great music provided by a DJ, singsongs of the customary off-key variety supplemented with guitars and piano playing, team building activities (which get quite competitive!) and casino games. Not to be missed!
Trainees never miss the chance to congregate en masse in one of the neighbouring bars on Friday nights for drinks and laughs and to plot their weekends. It is not unusual either on Fridays for a convey of cars to hit the road immediately after work following signposts for the West of Ireland, dropping in to visit the families of some trainees along the way!
The key to putting yourself in a position to get involved and integrated in the firm is to be organised and efficient in what you do. Adopt a healthy and sustainable routine and commit to it. Be prepared to provide a good defence at your end of rotation evaluation if you haven’t! A perfect career-life balance is probably not achievable but there is huge scope to find a level of comfort between the two that works for you. Meeting friends, having lunch, making it to training and keeping up hobbies should not be a bonus but the norm. Don’t settle for less. It is worth the effort.
Trainee Corporate Social Responsibility
The firm supports our trainees in their successful charitable initiatives.
Arthur Cox Mwandi Project
In early 2008, a group of trainees had a desire to do some voluntary work overseas. They were very conscious of the history and legacy of their founder, Arthur Cox, who in his later years joined the priesthood and became a missionary in Zambia. With this in mind, they approached the Irish charity Slí Eile (now Magis Ireland) to explore the possibility of making a link to a project in Zambia. The idea for the Arthur Cox Mwandi Project was born and in July 2008 a group of Arthur Cox trainees ventured to Mwandi in south eastern Zambia in support of rural communities in the remote villages of Masese, Limpumpu and Lutaba with the goal of lifting standards of living and improving health facilities in the area.
Since 2008, the Mwandi project has gone from strength to strength with Arthur Cox trainees travelling to the region annually to continue to develop this work. The project is run by the trainees, in partnership with Magis Ireland, and the trainees engage in the project at their own expense so as to ensure that all funds raised go directly towards the charitable objectives. It is a unique project in that it is driven by the needs of the local people and local leaders, governmental and tribal, who are integral to planning and who work alongside the trainees on the ground. As part of this cooperation in 2010 the Chief of the Losi tribe in Mwandi laid down a tribal law protecting the investment made by the trainees in the area and enshrining the relationship between Arthur Cox and the local communities.
Over the past four years the project has raised approximately €75,000 to benefit the Mwandi region. All funds raised go directly to the project and to Magis Ireland for its charitable efforts in Ireland. The trainees have refurbished Masese Health Clinic including providing for solar driven running water and solar powered electricity. They have funded the drilling of bore holes and the installation of water pumps in Masese and Lutaba, giving reliable medical facilities and fresh water to over 5000 people. The trainees have also driven the development of an agricultural project aimed to create self-sufficiency by teaching farming techniques to communities to help them overcome the difficulties encountered by climate change and desertification. In 2010 the trainees provided the agricultural project with a hammer mill empowering the local community to produce its own food produce from farming and in 2011, 16 trainees from the 2009 intake travelled to Zambia to build ablution blocks to raise sanitary standards at the Masese Health Clinic. The trainees also support local schools with supplies and desks and provide funding to a local Orphan and Vulnerable Children centre.
The trainees who visited Mwandi in 2012 worked on building a maternity unit and had an opportunity to view the work that previous groups of trainees had completed and to teach in the local school. Brick laying was just the start of the learning experience: after two weeks of living and working in the community trainees said they were humming (if not quite singing) many of the local songs and could even speak a few words of the local language, Lozi.
The trainees also learned about everyday life in Zambia and when sharing their experiences described how they were particularly struck that many of the conveniences we take for granted in our lives are difficult tasks when living in rural Zambia: water needs to be pumped and carried long distances, cooking is done over an open fire which must be set and tended, and disease and hunger are too often a part of everyday life.
More striking than this hardship was the dignity and beauty of the people the trainees met. They said that from the songs and music around the fire at night to the smiles and laughter of the children playing football, the incredible people they met have left an impression on each of them that will last a lifetime.