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Matheson Appoints Niamh Counihan as Pro Bono Partner

Services: Pro Bono, Impactful Business Programme Date: 29/07/2021

Matheson, Ireland’s largest law firm, has appointed Niamh Counihan as Pro Bono Partner.  Niamh will dedicate 50% of her professional time specifically to pro bono legal activities, with the other 50% continuing to be dedicated to her responsibilities as Matheson’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs.

Niamh will be responsible for working with management to refine Matheson’s pro bono strategy and for leading the pro bono initiatives and collaborative projects that engage Matheson’s lawyers and clients in supporting the communities in which they work and live. 

This appointment marks a significant investment by Matheson in further supporting its pro bono commitment to assist and promote the legal needs of those who most require support in our community.  Pro bono is a distinct practice area within the firm, drawing on its diverse and multi-disciplinary talent and innovative technological solutions.  Underlining its importance, Matheson’s pro bono practice area is partner led, supported by the firm’s management and is afforded the same priority and resources as all of its other specialist practice areas.  Pro bono work is treated in the same way as commercial work, with equal priority, quality of service and standard of professional conduct.

The appointment of a Pro Bono Partner follows Matheson’s recent establishment of a Pro Bono Committee, and the launch of the firm’s Impactful Business Programme, reinforcing its dedication to delivering a meaningful impact to its clients, communities and colleagues.

Michael Jackson, Managing Partner at Matheson said: “Niamh is a lawyer of outstanding ability and extensive knowledge. Her appointment as pro bono partner, with responsibility to help refine and manage the implementation of our pro bono strategy, will greatly enhance the impact and reach of Matheson’s pro bono programme. I know that Niamh is enthusiastically looking forward to working with as many of our clients and our colleagues as possible as part of pro bono at Matheson.”

“Matheson is a founding signatory of Ireland’s Pro Bono Pledge, and the appointment of a dedicated Pro Bono Partner and establishment of a Pro Bono Committee is a demonstration of our commitment to impactful business.  We believe that universal access to justice and to legal services is essential to the rule of law and that our lawyers have a responsibility to use their legal skills and knowledge to support the legal needs of those who are otherwise unable to access legal services.  We already have number of ongoing and upcoming pro bono projects, and we look forward to further supporting the work of Niamh and of the Committee in putting the firm’s values into action.

Niamh Counihan, pro bono partner at Matheson said; “I am delighted to have been appointed Matheson’s Pro Bono Partner.  I am very excited about driving our impactful initiatives forward, together with our clients and colleagues in Matheson.  Appointing a Pro Bono Partner recognises that serving our community is a strategic priority for Matheson.  It represents a welcome opportunity for us to leverage our skills and experience to help those in our community who could not otherwise access legal services.  It also reflects our belief that our lawyers have a responsibility to use their professional expertise to provide access to justice to those who cannot afford it.  We will prioritise those projects which will deliver the most positive impact on our communities, and I look forward to seeing the meaningful benefits they will deliver to those who need them most.”

We are already progressing with a number of exciting pro bono initiatives which support Environmental Sustainability, CSR and D&I to benefit our communities. Matheson this month became a signatory to The Open Community Cairde Allies Partner Pledge. The Open Community is a collaborative national support organisation for Ireland’s Community Sponsorship Programme for Refugees.  Matheson lawyers will collaborate with The Open Community to support communities assisting refugee families, by providing free legal services to those refugees and their families.  We are proud to continue and further develop our long standing partnership with The Irish Rule of Law International by providing pro bono services that enhance and promote the rule of law and access to justice, and to collaborate with the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) in providing legal advice and assistance to not for profit organisations working with groups and individuals who cannot afford to pay for or access legal services. Further details to be provided in due course. 

In November 2020, Matheson became a founding signatory to Ireland’s Pro Bono Pledge , an initiative which calls on legal professionals to commit to promote access to justice by providing free legal assistance to those in need.

About Niamh Counihan

Originally from Adare, Co. Limerick, Niamh holds a BCL from UCC and a Diploma in Arbitration from UCD. She is a member the Pro Bono Pledge Steering Group which supports PILA in growing and developing Pro Bono Pledge Ireland and provides strategic direction to the operation and development of the Pledge.  She is also a member of the Law Society of Ireland’s Business Law Committee (since 2016).  She has worked in Matheson for over 20 years, and was appointed partner in 2011.

Impactful Business Programme

Matheson is committed to being a business which is responsible and sustainable.  It recently launched the Matheson Impactful Business Programme, an initiative which brings together the firm’s existing Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Environmental Sustainability and Arts activities into one dedicated programme.

In June 2021, Matheson’s female / male partner gender ratio was ranked the fifth most gender-diverse in Europe by The Lawyer in its European 100 report.  Matheson will host its annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference in partnership with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in September.  The key themes for this year’s event are: the business case for well-being; and hidden disabilities.  The conference will bring together some of the most forward thinking experts and progressive businesses and organisations operating at a local, national and international level across a wide variety of sectors to speak on these themes.  


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