Trainee Experiences

Helen McDonagh, Litigation and Dispute Resolution

McDonagh-Helen-2015-WU (web)

 Helen McDonagh, Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Prior to joining Arthur Cox, I completed a Bachelor of Civil Law at NUI Galway, where I also went on to complete an LLM. I developed a particular interest in company law and commercial law at university and was eager to practice in a fast-paced corporate environment. I always understood Arthur Cox to have a well-established practice in commercial law so the Trainee Development Programme really appealed to me.


My first rotation was in the Pensions Group. This was an excellent way to start my training as it is one of the smaller groups within the firm. I gained an enormous amount of knowledge on such a specialist area of law and was given the opportunity to work on a diverse range of work. Regular tasks included the taking of attendances at client meetings, assisting in the drafting of pension trust deeds and rules and in the drafting of deeds of amendment and appointment. I was also fortunate enough to work on a commercial transaction and assist in the preparing of a due diligence report in relation to any potential pension issues which may arise in a takeover bid.


My second rotation was in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group. Litigation is a very fast- paced group to work in. No two days are ever the same and it was this quality which brought a great sense of excitement to the job. Some days involved attendance at the High Court or Supreme Court, while others involved researching very niche areas of law, drafting affidavits or preparing books for court.  During this rotation I learned how to multi-task. In a large group such as Litigation, you may be working on a variety of different tasks and matters which all have important deadlines. It is therefore important to learn how to work in an efficient manner while also ensuring attention to detail. A Litigation trainee is also required to liaise regularly with counsel and clients in court and effective communication is an integral part of becoming a successful litigator.


My career highlight to date was working on a high profile court case which ran for a week in the High Court. I was involved in the discovery process, the preparation of books for court and I attended meetings with senior counsel and liaised regularly with the client. It was truly enjoyable to be involved in every aspect of the case.

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