A day in the life of Gerry Halpenny

Gerry Halpenny partner, LK Shields Solicitors and president, Ireland France Chamber of Commerce, talks to Vincent Ryan about his busy working day

MORNING

I get up at 6.30am and I am usually in the office by 7.30am. Two or three times a week I go to Fitzwilliam Tennis Club and play tennis, swim for half an hour or go to the gym. On those mornings I am up at about 6am, and having had my exercise and some breakfast afterwards I get to the office by about 8.30.

As I am president of the Ireland France Chamber of Commerce for 2012, I try to attend all of the events which include the regular breakfast seminars hosted by the chamber.

Our own firm LK Shields would also occasionally present at the seminars.

There is no particular pattern to my mornings. They can involve client or internal meetings, dealing with calls and emails and working on documents for transactions that we are involved in. The way that lawyers work has changed significantly over the years. I can remember when the morning post generated a lot of the work during the day. Now most communication is by email. Ironically, in the legal business the advent of technology has increased, rather than reduced, the volume of paper generated because it has become so much easier to produce numerous redrafts of documents. The firm is now taking more aggressively to the idea of electronic files, even if the paperless office remains a distant reality.

AFTERNOON

A lot of our internal meetings, such as departmental and specialist committee meetings, take place at lunchtime, so I would have those meetings about twice a week. I would occasionally have meetings of either the council or executive committee of the chamber. Other days could involve client meetings over lunchtimes or lunch with colleagues or friends, but occasionally I like eating a sandwich in peace at my desk, where I can catch up with the latest news online. On a normal day I would expect to leave the office at about 7pm, but that can change depending on what work we have on. Late evenings and nights at work are pretty common, particularly as I operate in the corporate/ commercial area where everything tends to be required urgently. Work at weekends is common too, but I can do most of this from home.

EVENING

Our partner meetings are held in the evening but they are usually just once a month. A number of the Ireland France Chamber events are evening ones and I try to attend all of them if I can. As president of the chamber I receive quite a few invitations to evening events in the French ambassador’s residence. It is always a pleasant experience as the residence is a beautiful and very welcoming building. On the occasional evening where I can slip away early, I might try to fit in a few holes of golf or a game of tennis. Other evenings I quite like settling down and watching a bit of TV, listening to music or reading a good book.

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