Donna Scully appeared in Modern Law Magazine 'Women Legal Pioneers' edition

21 November 2022

3 minute read

Our Director, Donna Scully, recently spoke to Modern Law Magazine in their “Women Legal Pioneers” edition. This issue is all about inspiring women in the law & more!

What is your most memorable achievement whilst working in your current role?

Can I have two, it’s so hard to choose! I still pinch myself that John and I employ over 1000 people, are still expanding and that half of them are women (top to bottom). As an older woman who experienced discrimination, due to my sex and my background, I’m so pleased to have been able to do something about that at Carpenters Group both in terms of equality and social mobility. I don’t want young women coming after me to face that.

I’m also really proud of the social conscience Carpenters Group has. It is a continuation of what is in mine and John’s hearts. We both come from very basic backgrounds, are self-made so it is imperative to us that we ‘pay it forward’ and send the ladder down to lift more people like us up. That transcends through our business and we’re both very proud of it.


What has been the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given?

Without doubt, be yourself. That sounds so easy but when you are starting out, drowning in imposter syndrome and beating yourself up for every little thing you do wrong, it’s very hard. 

A legal trainer told me years ago to be proud of my accent and not try to ‘fit in’. An extension of ‘being myself’.  This is a ‘work in progress’ for me but it definitely gets easier as you get older and a little bolder!

Can I also add here ‘be kind’.  It costs nothing but is just so important. Spread it everywhere!


What has been the key positive or negative impact of change in your area of the market?

I’ve seen a reduction in access to justice over my 25 years at Carpenters Group.  I know change and reform must happen and I am good at moving with the times but we must not forget that we are a service industry and without customers, we wouldn’t be here.  Serving them well and putting them at the heart of what we do is important. 

Cost saving, technology and being frictionless must be embraced but not at the cost of providing a good service.  It’s a balance we must get right if we are to show our value and why customers should choose us.  Artificial and emotional intelligence combined. We need people too.


If you were not in your current position, what would you like to be doing?

An Irish dancer but I’d have to have lessons.  I’ve only had one so although I do Irish dance (after wine), I’m awful!

I left school at 16, became a legal secretary so law found me quite early on.  I’m a campaigner by nature, I like to argue and I love to solve problems so I think I found the right career for me. That said, give me a glass or two of wine and I think I am the best Irish dancer ever…..


What three items would you put on display in a museum of your life and why?

- A 5” pair of heels because I have run around in them for years just to be ‘tall’!

- A photo of Dublin (where I was born) because no matter how long I live in the UK, it will always be my ‘home’!

- My Twitter Feed to remind people what a campaigner I was, how I loved a soapbox and to give people a flavour of what was important to me!


What three guests would you invite to a dinner party?

John Carpenter would always be my No. 1 guest!  It’s corny but true.

Jurgen Klopp not just to talk about football but the way he leads, the human being he is &, obviously, to get a hug!

Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, what a trailblazer for Irish women like me she’s been. She is warm, witty and relentless in all she has achieved paving the way for other women to follow and she does it all with such class.


Donna Scully
Director, Carpenters Group

Credit: Modern Law Magazine Our Latest Magazine Edition (