CLONAKILTY native Conrad Murphy was recently appointed a solicitor at Collins Brooks and Associates Solicitors in Clonakilty, having returned from a six-year stint working in the industry in Canada.
But the 35-year-old is no stranger to the prestigious law firm, having received his training there when he qualified as a solicitor in 2008.
Collins Brooks is based in Rossa Street and covers agriculture, commercial, property, civil litigation, probate and estate planning. Liam M Collins, nephew of General Michael Collins, established the firm of Liam M Collins, solicitor, in 1943.
In the early 1970s, Thomas J Brooks joined the practice and in the early 1980s the firm was renamed Collins Brooks & Associates.
The company employs nine solicitors and the partners are Thomas J Brooks, Roni Collins and Lorna Brooks. Conrad, who is married to Jennifer, made the decision to return home to Clonakilty with their two young children, having spent six years living in Vancouver in Canada, where he worked as a barrister and solicitor.
While enjoying the Vancouver lifestyle, the lure of home and West Cork was never far away for the Clonakilty couple.
‘Things were going fabulously for us over there and the work was great, but we always had the intention of coming back. The one thing that would have drawn us to stay was that work was extremely good and we enjoyed it and the lifestyle was outstanding,’ Conrad told The Southern Star.
‘But the question is then asked “where is home?” It takes a bit of re-adjusting, of course, after being away and that includes the weather, too. We haven’t had much of a chance to miss anything as we’ve been so busy with two young children, building a house and I hit the ground running workwise.’
Having worked previously at the Clonakilty law firm, it was a natural fit to be back there again.
‘I always kept in touch with the office here in Clonakilty, and it’s a very good practice litigation-wise. It’s probably the best in litigation. outside the main cities. It makes a lot of sense for me business-wise, too, to be in Clonakilty, as that’s where my roots are and where I know everybody. So I can lean on relationships and network with people.’
While Conrad admits there wasn’t an opening per-se for him, the fact that he had worked there before stood to him. They moved back to Clonakilty at the end of September and Conrad re-joined the firm on October 18th.
For the past two-and-a-half years while in Vancouver, Conrad worked for the Slater Vecchio law firm, which would be seen as one of the most progressive personal injuries firms in Canada.
There Conrad dealt with some high profile cases, as part of his large workload.
‘Over there I was a barrister and a solicitor, while here it’s a dual system where you are either a barrister or solicitor. In Canada I would take a case from the very first day and I would run it to The Supreme Court and it meant I’d take the whole case through to its finality.’
While both countries are common law jurisdictions, Conrad said there isn’t a huge difference in the legal principles, and much of what he learnt there can be applied here in Ireland.
GAA fans will be well aware of Conrad’s sporting achievements as a football player in his late teens.
He won an All-Ireland minor medal for Cork in 2000 as well as two minor Munster medals in 1999 and 2000. He also had the honour of representing his country against Australia.
‘I was a member of the Irish Under 17 International Rules Team in 1999 and we toured Australia for three weeks, and it was a fantastic experience to have taken part in,’ recalled Conrad.
While having retired his football boots for now, Conrad has competed in a few triathlons and he’s hoping to take part in a few more this year, time permitting, that is. For now, he is busy with his new job and young family and is enjoying his legal work.