Brendan O'Connell

Why a career in Law, why RDJ?

Growing up I wanted to be loads of different things, a Garda or a footballer amongst many others! I was always intrigued by the Courts and how they work. I also very much enjoy the adversarial side of the profession, with two or more teams fighting out for the most positive outcome for their client. I enjoy interacting with people, but most especially I enjoy problem solving and advising clients on a road map to tailored resolutions which best serves their needs. I was first introduced to the Courts through my father who was the head of the Probation Service in Cork and took me on numerous educational trips to the local courthouse on Washington Street which probably whet my appetite for a career in law.

Developments in my area

In the Personal Injury Litigation sphere it’s more about the changes that are about to happen rather than any recent changes that I feel will have the most significant impact in the area. A working group in the area, led by Mr. Justice Kearns has recommended the introduction of ‘Judicial Guidelines’ in the area of quantifying awards – this could serve to revise down awards particularly for whiplash type injuries. Also there is a proposal to set up a dedicated Garda unit funded by the Insurance industry to investigate fraud which may serve to tackle the area of insurance fraud which costs the Insurance industry billions of Euros each year. There is also legislation being drafted to deal especially with fraud, but I’m not hopeful of any groundbreaking effects to be bought about by this – The 2004 Civil Liability and Courts Act already contain provisions to deal with fraud, the giving of inaccurate evidence and exaggeration and unfortunately we have only seen one prosecution in the past 5 years for insurance fraud the existence of this legislation notwithstanding

My football career

I have been honoured to have enjoyed great success and have had many doors opened for me through my participation in Sport, I’m the current captain of the Irish Intermediate Soccer team (that is for players who do not have a professional contract) I play my club football with Rockmount FC (Schoolboy club of Roy Keane) in the Munster Senior League. I have 65 caps for Ireland. I started playing Hurling & Football with Sars & Glanmire. As a teenager I was offered trials with various English Clubs, such as Manchester United, Aston Villa, Wimbeldon FC and Preston North End, I was offered an apprenticeship with Preston North End at 17 but overcome with homesickness I returned home, where I took up a sports scholarship with UCC where we won three Collingwood cups in 4 years. In 2016 the Cork footballers tried in vain to convert me to a GAA goalkeeper, but unfortunately the phenomenal time commitment meant it was never going to be feasible, I sincerely regret that opportunity never arose sooner. Sport is a huge part of who I am, it has allowed me to travel the world and make lifelong friendships, it has enhanced my professional career as in my view the fundamentals in sport are entirely transferable to professional life.

If I wasn’t a lawyer...

I once played Gay Byrne as host of the Late Late show in a school play and enjoyed unprecedented success in that role (according to myself) … I’m just awaiting my big break.

People who inspire...

My parents, both of whom came from humble beginnings raised five children and gave us all every opportunity in life. They taught us good values and instilled a great work ethic in all of us.

One person in public life whom I have always admired is Mary Robinson, I believe she firmly put the issue of Gender Equality to the fore in Ireland at a time when Ireland was lagging behind, her International Humanitarian work makes her an International figure who we can be proud of.

Sonia O’Sullivan is my favourite sporting hero, her record over a sustained period cements her place as one of Ireland’s greatest sporting heroes of all time, she carries herself always like a champion, very unassuming and down to earth and was someone who as 100% clean athlete possibly lost out on even greater honours at the hands of unfair competition.

A blade of grass or a door knob?

Whilst I always like to be out on the pitch, I think I’d prefer to be a door knob, I can open doors for people and also shut out any unwanted noise or negativity.

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