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Matheson and NUI Maynooth unlock Irish graduates’ potential

PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Asset Management and Investment Funds
DATE: 04.04.2013

In a bid to combine an innovative learning opportunity with a thriving area of the Irish economy, NUI Maynooth and law firm Matheson have joined forces to produce a brand new law course which has never been taught in an Irish university before now.

Irish funds law courseIn a move which in its most literal sense pushes the boundaries of a traditional university campus, each week sees a class of students from Maynooth university coming to the offices of leading international law firm Matheson to learn about funds law.

This initiative seeks to directly link education and employment opportunity in the context of a thriving area of business in Ireland today – the Irish investment funds industry.

Ireland is internationally renowned as one of the world's leading jurisdictions for funds, and is responsible for administering over 40% of the world’s alternative investment funds. The world’s major fund service providers have established a presence in Ireland, and the value of assets under administration in this country has surpassed the €2 trillion mark. It has been previously been estimated that, on average, every fund administered in Ireland creates 1.5 jobs. Matheson acts for funds with 28% Irish market share of assets under management.

Through the collaborative effort of Matheson and Maynooth, this educational initiative marks the very first time that investment funds law is being taught to students in an Irish university.

The Managing Partner of Matheson, Liam Quirke, says: “We welcome the students to our offices every week almost as an extension to their campus. Matheson is delighted to be involved in this course which builds a bridge between Irish students and global business activity conducted in and through Ireland.

Professor Sandeep Gopalan, the founding Professor of the NUI Maynooth Department of Law explains that: “We set up the Funds Law course in partnership with Matheson - a first in Irish legal education - to take advantage of Ireland's position as a leading jurisdiction for the funds industry and to open up job opportunities for our students. Our collaboration with Matheson is also unique for the active and substantive engagement it entails; the firm contributes knowledge in advanced applied areas of the law and hopefully we will develop new thinking on prospective regulatory changes by marrying the best from the worlds of academia and practice.

Professor Gopalan has steered the Law Department at Maynooth so that it is now ranked third among law schools in Ireland

The person who has designed and is leading the funds law course is Liz Grace, Head of Matheson’s Knowledge Team in the Asset Management and Investment Funds Group, and Visiting Professor in Law at Maynooth.

Professor Gopalan says: “Liz Grace brings a standard of excellence into the classroom. She is uniquely able to combine academic knowledge with her rich real world experience to the enormous benefit of our students. I know that many of our female students view her as an inspiring role model; this is particularly valuable as there are few women in top positions in this area of the law. Matheson has set up a six month internship in the firm for the best student on the course, offering the best kind of experiential learning possible.

The idea for the course emerged following a chance meeting between Professor Gopalan and Liz Grace at a legal conference on women and the law, where they discovered that they had both completed the same postgraduate law degree at Oxford within a year of each other. Ms Grace started her career in investment funds in 2000 at Matheson.

She said: “In terms of developing the students' real-world potential in an area of Irish business activity which continues to grow from strength to strength, this course is imparting knowledge which is usually accessible only at a professional level.

The course itself will challenge the students in terms of subject matter as they will not have had exposure to this content before - it is designed to stimulate and whet the appetite of today’s third level student who is ambitious and pro-active in planning their careers and managing their attractiveness to future employers.

Matheson will provide recognition to the best written research assignment produced on the course with an award, and we are delighted to announce that the best performing student overall will receive a six month internship at Matheson.

An understanding of the European Union architecture which underpins Irish funds regulation, the factors involved in Ireland’s emergence as a global leader in the funds space and its status as an international distribution hub are included within the subject matter covered on this course.

Michael Jackson, Head of the Asset Management and Investment Funds Group at Matheson says “Ireland continues to thrive as a leading international fund domicile. Setting up this course represents Ireland’s first step in terms of having an academic hub for funds law development, research and analysis”.

Dr Maura Kelly, Director of Lawyer Training and Graduate Recruitment at Matheson, states that: “This project is in many ways an extension of the premium Matheson puts on providing first class internal education to its own people in key practice areas such as funds and asset management, to a university standard”.

The Funds Law course is available as part of the Master of Laws Degree and the Master of International Business Law Degree offered by NUI Maynooth.



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