James Leahy

Talk us through the RDJ solicitor trainee programme

Before I became a trainee in RDJ I was an intern in the Cork office for seven months. This internship was part of my BCL Clinical degree in University College Cork. Following on from my internship I was offered a training contract with the firm which began in January 2019. My first rotation took place in the Commercial Litigation department where I assisted with research for cases, drafted pleadings and attended the District, Circuit and High Court. There is a continuous flow of work for trainees and both solicitors and partners are eager for you to learn from the start.

I started my second rotation in the Corporate and Commercial Department after I returned from PPCI. It was evident from the beginning of this seat that I was now becoming more trusted as a trainee having completed my first of two stints in the Law Society. The work was varied in this department from attending client calls to drafting documents and being involved in complex transactions.

My third rotation is the Commercial Property department. It is an invaluable opportunity to work with leading professionals in this area on large scale commercial transactions and residential matters. Following my third rotation I will be attending PPCII and upon completion I will be completing my final rotation before qualifying as a solicitor.

When did you decide to study law?

Going into sixth year in secondary school, I still did not know what to put down on my CAO form. I subsequently attended a law open day at University College Cork and I was immediately drawn to studying law. I have always had an interest in public speaking and debating and they were the key reasons why I chose to study law.

While completing my internship with RDJ I knew I wanted to become a solicitor. It became apparent that it was a career with a lot of variety and it is highly rewarding working to achieve a successful outcome for your client.

Something you’ve learned being here at RDJ

RDJ affords you the environment to train at the highest level. The most important thing I have learned is self-awareness and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. No two days are the same given the variety and pace of the work. From the outset you are encouraged to be part of the team and as time goes by you are trusted and challenged more and more. The direct interaction with clients and being heavily involved in transactions allows you to build self-awareness, which I believe has become an invaluable asset to me.

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