Impact & Opinions | Tionchar & Tuairimí

Spotlight on: Corina Cunningham, Lawyer, Vice President, Macquarie Group 

Spotlight on: Corina Cunningham, Lawyer, Vice President, Macquarie Group 

13 December 22
 | 9 MINS

With a passion for law, Corina’s journey has taken her to some of the top financial and legal organisations in the world. Now a lawyer for Macquarie Group, Corina highlights the richness that working internationally affords to graduates.

Following a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Legal Science, Political Science and Sociology at the University of Galway in 2006, the following year, Corina undertook a one-year Bachelor of Laws (LL. B) course, which provided her with the fundamental corporate law knowledge she would later utilise in her career. Next was a Masters of Laws (LL. M) in London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), followed by a stint with Diageo, PLC in London. In 2010, she returned to Ireland to complete her Law Society of Ireland entrance exams and to pursue her New York attorney licence by sitting the NY Bar Exam. In addition to being a New York attorney, Corina is a qualified solicitor in Ireland and England & Wales. 

 Her early career saw her work with Deloitte LLP followed by a training contract with William Fry Solicitors (William Fry). After qualification, Corina decided to pursue legal opportunities in the US, first at a top law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (Simpson) before moving in-house to Ameriprise Financial. “Working at William Fry set me up with the best legal training and international work experience; I am a more effective lawyer because of it. Simpson kick started my legal career in the US; it was so inspiring to work on ground-breaking corporate transactions with the best lawyers in US private equity law.” 

Having the opportunity to work on a Macquarie project while working with another employer, Corina was drawn to how Macquarie approached their work. “The people were intelligent, hardworking and personable. I knew people who worked there, and they had positive experiences.” 

After joining Macquarie in 2021, Corina works as a lawyer on the Legal and Governance team, advising internal stakeholders across the business divisions on corporate law and corporate governance matters that arise on corporate transactions.  

“The people and the culture, which is a mixture of American and Australian, make Macquarie a unique place to work. The culture is hard-working, fun, personable and aspirational, and the best I have ever experienced. Everyone’s contribution is valued and makes a difference. I have really enjoyed working here every day. Macquarie has a strong vision and is committed to reaching net zero operational emissions by 2025, and aligning their financing activity with the global goal of net zero emissions by 2050. 

International work will provide you with many experiences, and opportunities you may not otherwise receive.

So, what would Corina’s advice to new graduates be? “I would highly recommend that people work internationally after college or at any stage of your career because it forces you to get out of your comfort zone and to learn new ways of working. International work will provide you with many experiences, and opportunities you may not otherwise receive.”  

Looking back on her time at University of Galway, with its “positive, energetic and collegiate environment”, Corina says the university culture made it easy to make friends, with everyone being encouraged to succeed. “As a result, my classmates and I supported each other. I am really grateful for the support I received from my professors when I applied to LSE; LSE in turn recognised the excellent law department that the University of Galway has.”  

It was the holistic education that was provided by University of Galway that also stood out for Corina. “I was encouraged to explore my other interests such as volunteering at Flirt FM, where I produced a live radio show every week. In my final year, I was elected President of the Radio Society, and was able to lead a team of volunteers to build up the society and to win a media award. These leadership skills have been useful when managing and motivating staff in my current role.” It also was during her time at University of Galway that she met her husband, Ross, who has been “incredibly supportive” of her career decisions and the relocations that entails.  

Having been in New York for five years now, Corina’s experience of living and working in the States has been extremely positive. “We’re really enjoying our new life. Not a surprise to anyone, New York is the greatest city in the world. Opportunities are around every corner and there is something for everyone. Being Irish in New York is also beneficial, as it’s a small community on which you can rely. It is hard to believe that I have been in New York for five years—it feels like I have just arrived!”.


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