Attorney-General Rory Brady surprised political insiders last year when he stepped down from the nation's highest law office. At the age of only 51, he returned to his legal practice as a senior counsel.
Brady's was former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's personal choice for this ex-officio cabinet post in 2002. The Synge Street and UCD-educated lawyer is a well-known Fianna Fail supporter, but retired after the FF victory at the 2007 general election.
A good bet for the bench in the coming years, Brady has not restricted his recent interests to purely legal work . He was a surprise appointment to the chair of the Takeover Panel last April succeeding another senior counsel, Daniel O'Keeffe, who headed for the High Court -- a signal of a path that Brady himself may follow after his three-year term ends in 2011.
His time in the AG's office covered the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement including the changes to Articles 2 & 3 of the Constitution. His experience there earned him a visiting fellowship at Harvard to lecture on the Peace Process.
As AG he handled Northern Ireland well, but was less sure -footed when he initially knew nothing of proceedings pending in the highly sensitive Mr A statutory rape case.
His first year at the Panel has been dogged by the tortuous ICG battle while other corporate deals under his scrutiny have included IAWS'S merger with Aryzta, Iona Technologies, Horizon Technology Group and Celtic Resources.
Such commercial conflicts sit easily with a healthy law practice which recently included a victory in developer Sean Dunne's action against the DDDA.
The ex-AG lives quietly in Rathmines with his wife and two teenage daughters.