COVID-19 Team Blog: Julie O'Hare

15 May 2020

3 minutes to read.

We’re proud of what our teams are achieving at Carpenters during the coronavirus pandemic. Written by colleagues across multiple divisions of the company, they hopefully provide a small insight into our continuing working practices and values as we all adjust to our new world.

Here is the fifth in the series from Defence Team Manager, Julie O'Hare. 


A bend in the road is not the end of the road…

“...Unless you fail to make the turn.” Helen Keller


We are currently living and, for many, working in unprecedented times.  For those in this industry we have certainly seen a bend in the road with firms entering lockdown and then the Courts following suit.  Just how many will make that turn?

It is a challenge for practices to get their systems and staff to a place where they can adapt for life in lockdown.  Sadly, some will not be able to rise to this challenge and for them the bend in the road may just be the end.

However, the Defence team here at Carpenters Group have embraced the recent “turn” and continue to offer our clients the same level of service (if not better) as if we were all in the office.

All of our teams are now equipped to work from home and able to conduct hearings remotely where appropriate (and, of course, where just to do so).  We continue to liaise with clients, opponents and courts to navigate litigation in a changing landscape.

It is heartening to see that litigation is taking on more of a human approach than ever as we appreciate each other’s plights not only professionally but also from a personal point of view.  I can’t think of a time during my career when exchanges have been so agreeable and easy to conduct!

Our insurer clients continue to be at the heart of the Defence department’s business and while we are keen to see just and equitable litigation for all concerned, we continue to deter those looking to gain advantage from the pandemic.  To that end, we have seen some really good results lately at application hearings which is a credit to our teams and instructed Counsel.

It has been easy for our teams to transition to work from home, but it can be a struggle for those with children at home.  Adapting to a new way of working has some holdbacks but actually I am seeing the benefits outweighing the negatives.  We are now able to offer a better out of hours service to our clients who would ordinarily be working the same office hours as us and not available to communicate with us so easily during “normal working hours”. 

Our teams are spreading their working hours across the day making themselves accessible to clients in the early mornings or late evenings which would not have been possible before.  This also fits in nicely with home life for some of our team too so we are all finding ourselves settling into a new pattern of working with each other and having time to home school/spend some quality time with family without the stresses of commuting.

I’ve also witnessed some of the team really stepping up during what is a strange time; crisis really can bring out the best in people! 

We have a great team spirit and sense of camaraderie in all departments across the business and thankfully, this has not been lost without seeing each other in the office environment.

Of course, I am missing the face-to-face contact with my colleagues but we are in touch with each other daily – not just on work platforms but using social groups so that our work banter is not completely lost!   Keeping in touch is as important as we usually spend most of our waking day with the people we work with, plus there are some issues that only your work family truly understand.

All in all, I feel truly lucky to have such a great team and I could not be prouder of them for making what could have been a very difficult time so easy to deal with."

About the author 

Julie O'Hare, Defence Team Manager

Julie joined Carpenters Group back in 2012 and has enjoyed promotion to her current position of Defence Team Manager. She has 15 years in the industry having previously studied at University of Liverpool and University of Law in Chester.

Julie is the President of Liverpool Law society and has been a Director since 2010 and was a Chair of Merseyside Junior Lawyers Division (MJLD) for 2 consecutive year before that.

Her interesting fact is that she was featured in the Guinness Book of Records for being part of the longest Conga Line.