Educated at Trinity College Dublin and King’s Inns (or ‘The Honourable Society of King’s Inns’, to give it its official title), I qualified as a barrister in June 2000 and was called to the Irish Bar that September.
In no rush to start life at the Bar, I spent that summer learning a computer coding language and arranging a few alternative ways to celebrate the end of formal education. Shortly after my formal call to the Irish Bar I jumped on a 45-foot sailboat in Southampton and set off for the Caribbean.
Arriving in St. Lucia after a transatlantic voyage, I landed a job as the skipper of a luxury 53-foot sailing yacht with responsibility for the yacht, her crew, and guests.
After running the yacht as a luxury charter, and sometimes as a luxury Sailing School, I retired (!) from professional yachting and made my way to Copenhagen for a little bit of colder weather.
In Denmark from late 2001 to summer 2002, I worked in Conference Sales with the Marcus Evans Group, selling conference seats to C-Level Executives at Fortune 500 companies around the world.
Ultimately, however, the lure of the Irish Bar was too much. Why spend your life working on a luxury yacht in the Caribbean when you can live and work in Ireland’s cold and wet climate instead? Why indeed! Why spend your life quickly moving through the ranks at a multinational company, earning a very nice income, when you could make a start at the Irish Bar and earn absolutely nothing at all for the first few years? Why indeed!
In October 2002 I put on a wig and spoke my first words to a judge, in the Circuit Court in Dublin. That first year was spent managing an enormous court workload on behalf of my barrister ‘Master’ who worked predominantly in civil litigation and medical negligence.
In October 2003 I widened my practice to incorporate the Midland Circuit, and spent that second year managing my own practice and assisting my second barrister ‘Master’ who worked predominantly in criminal and general practice.
Having long admired the work of Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, and having acted in plays such as ‘Twelve Angry Men’ (TCD Players, 1998) and Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ (Civic Theatre, 1999), it was almost inevitable that I would be drawn to jury trials to enjoy the real-life drama that the law can provide.
While continuing to accept work in other areas (tort, property, employment, injunctions, commercial disputes) I get the most enjoyment from criminal work, one of the few legal fields where juries are still used.
I have acted in countless jury trials, from the ridiculous (example: a 14-day trial about whether or not a delivery driver had stolen some Tunnocks Tea Cakes from his employer) to the sublime (example: securing an acquittal, on appeal, for two brothers who had been convicted of rape before they hired me for the appeal). Cases that could ‘only happen in Ireland’ (example: the killing that happened in a cattle crush in Laois, using a blackthorn stick, in an argument over a stray heifer) and the cases that could happen anywhere (example: the murder trial of a doctor accused of killing her severely disabled daughter). All of the cases mentioned resulted in acquittals, as did most of the trials I was involved in.
The criminal courts are the ultimate proving ground for barristers – clients are in a state of extreme stress, the outcome of the case will have enormous implications for the lives of those involved, and the rules of evidence and procedure are enforced more strictly in criminal trials than in any other type of case.
Through my work in criminal, commercial and civil trials I have become an Accredited Member of the International Faculty of Advanced Advocacy, and have taught advocacy skills (eg. direct examination, cross examination, oral advocacy, and trial strategy) in Ireland and internationally.
I live in Dublin with my wife and three young children. A cat is pending, and we’re still on the fence about a dog.