Gender Diversity at Matheson The Power of Influence

12th May 2017

Posted In: The Topic

At Matheson, one of the largest Irish law firms with over 600 staff across its offices in Dublin, London, New York and Palo Alto, diversity is a core value. On Wednesday, 3 May 2017, the firm hosted an event which focussed on one aspect of this value – gender diversity.

The event, which was held at the firm’s offices at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, was titled ‘The Power of Influence…a Conversation’, and it was dedicated to a discussion with female and male speakers on ways to support and drive gender diversity at all levels in Irish business today. A number of women in senior positions at top Irish companies and business organisations attended, and shared their views on how corporate Ireland and public service organisations can achieve strong gender diversity at all levels, and encourage both women and men to achieve and take up senior positions in their career

“This event allowed us to share with our guests some of the initiatives implemented here at Matheson to improve and build on diversity within the firm, and also to learn from their experiences in this area,” said Cara O’Hagan, Head of Matheson’s Commercial Real Estate Group and organiser of the event. “The discussion acknowledged the importance of good maternity, paternity and parental leave arrangements, and we are pleased to have implemented the Matheson Maternity Coaching Programme and the Mumager Programme here at Matheson to provide support for our female colleagues returning to work following maternity leave. The discussion also acknowledged however that balancing work with raising a family is not the only challenge we face if we are going to achieve strong gender diversity in corporate Ireland. Each of us, particularly those already in senior positions, can influence how we bring about a working environment where all talented people, male and female, can succeed through our behaviour and shared respect for one another.”

Guest speakers at the event included Aisling Hassell, Global Head of Airbnb and Head of Airbnb Ireland, Patrick O’Brien, Head of Fund Services Ireland at Citi, Orlaith Rafter, owner of Corporate Stage Media, Communication and Executive Coaching, and John Belton, owner of No.17 Personal Training and Corporate Wellness. The discussion was led by Cara O’Hagan (Partner and Head of the Commercial Real Estate Group), Sally Anne Stone (Partner, Commercial Real Estate), Tara Doyle (Partner and Head of the Asset Management and Investment Funds Group) and Helen Kelly (Partner and Head of the EU, Competition and Regulatory Law Group). Organisations represented at ‘The Power of Influence…’ spanned a wide range of industries including banking and financial services, technology, tax and accountancy, insurance, real estate, pensions, and food and beverage.

Commenting on the event, at which role modelling, unconscious bias, maintaining the talent pipeline, recruitment and promotion processes, mentoring and male advocacy of gender diversity formed part of the discussion, Matheson partner Tara Doyle noted “Research confirms what our instinct tells us which is that businesses thrive, and will achieve stronger financial performance with higher levels of innovation, when there is a diversity of voices throughout the organisation and particularly at senior levels. In what was a very frank and open conversation at our event, the importance to both men and women, when it comes to building a successful career, of having strong family and other support networks in our personal lives was discussed. Speakers also touched on the need for all of us to be self-aware when it comes to unconscious gender bias in the work place, whether that is positive or negative, and the benefits of putting aside the work ‘persona’ we may feel is needed to succeed in the workplace and allowing our authentic selves to be seen.”

Managing Partner, Michael Jackson said: “At Matheson, we are committed to excellence and to providing our clients with the highest quality of service, and we believe that all of our people, regardless of gender, should be empowered to realise their full business and professional potential – to be the best business lawyers in Ireland. For that reason, we have invested in developing professional development and talent programmes individually tailored for all levels of experience, from solicitors through to junior and senior associates right up to partnership level. These programmes are designed to give all of our lawyers access to advanced learning on building client relationships, business development, and team coaching and mentoring.”

37% of Matheson’s partnership is female and WMB is delighted that one of Matheson’s partners, Liz Grace, is one of our WMB Magazine Ambassadors for Gender Diversity. This year, Matheson appointed 12 new partners to the firm in its largest partner promotions round in over a decade. WMB is delighted to see an equal gender balance with six new female partners announced. A firm that clearly ‘walks the talk’.


L-R: Matheson Partner Cara O’Hagan; Aisling Hassell, Global Head of Airbnb and Head of Airbnb Ireland; Patrick O’Brien, Head of Fund Services Ireland at Citi; Matheson Partner Sally Anne Stone; John Belton, owner of No. 17 Personal Training and Corporate Wellness; Matheson Partner Tara Doyle; Matheson Partner Helen Kelly; and Orlaith Rafter, owner of Corporate Stage Executive Coaching.