31/5/2021 by Edward Sorrell
In our latest edition of Realm Talks To..., we caught up with Helen Otty, Legal director of Commercial Litigation at Brabners.
In the interview, Helen let us in on why she chose to become a lawyer, the biggest obstacles she has overcome in her career, and her favourite place to eat out.
Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
I originally wanted to be a fashion designer! I loved art and design at school. However, I decided that there was a more solid and respectable career in the law - and potentially an income stream. I still paint as a hobby though.
What do the next 12 months look like for you and your team?
The litigation team at Brabners has had an incredibly busy 12 months despite initial concerns that the pandemic would cause a slow-down in our workstream. The courts and legal system have adapted quickly so the pace of our work has been as busy as ever. We are hoping to expand the team and to continue working on high profile disputes.
What is the best thing about your job?
The nature of commercial litigation means that every case is different and we get to meet a wide variety of clients. We get to learn about their business, the industry they are in and to help them resolve disputes to enable them to concentrate on the more positive and remunerative aspects of their business.
What's the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome in your career so far?
Returning to work after 3 lots of maternity leave over 5 years did create the challenge of persuading the firm I worked for that I was still keen to be promoted and in rebuilding a following of clients. 11 years later, most firms now seem much more adept at supporting employees when they return from maternity leave.
Who do you turn to for advice at work?
I like to work in a collaborative way which means that I will constantly be talking to other members of my team both more junior than me (usually for technical advice on how to best work the IT system) and more senior members to seek second opinions on matters of law. I regularly check in with members of other teams, as Brabners has a strong support team with great expertise in many areas of the law so I am frequently liaising with colleagues in our corporate, employment, charity, sport and private client teams.
What do you like to do away from the office?
Most of my time away from the office is spent running the children to various clubs and activities. I’ve recently added the responsibility of managing an under 7s football team and, as mentioned above, I like to paint when I get the opportunity.
Where is your favourite place to eat out?
Our long-time favourite has been Il-Forno in Liverpool but more recently we’ve been sticking with our favourite takeaway which is Thai To Go in Crosby Village.
What is the last book you read/film you saw and what did you think of it?
I have recently finished reading Barack Obama’s autobiography – “The Promised Land” and found it fascinating. I have read a few presidential autobiographies and they can become a bit dreary in mentioning too much legislation - which even lawyers find difficult going, but I am looking forward to reading the next instalment of Obama’s.
Which 3 people would you invite to your dream dinner party?
I am afraid it would have to be my kids.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
I constantly bore my 11-year-old daughter with all of the advice that I would have given my teenage self. It's predominantly to have confidence in your own views, don’t follow the crowd and to work hard to be the best that she can be. I also think it is important that teenagers keep hobbies and interests into their teenage years and don’t become solely focused on academics.
About Helen Otty
Helen Otty is a Legal Director in the Commercial Litigation team at Brabners
She is an experienced commercial litigator who advises on commercial and company disputes including shareholder and partnership disputes along with breach of warranty claims.
Helen acts for private companies, public sector organisations, and individuals, regularly advising clients in the education, food and drink, and retail sectors.
She has specialist expertise in media law including defamation claims, intellectual property disputes, and reputation management.
She also advises on claims pursuant to the Equality Act, professional negligence claims, company restorations, judicial review and directors’ disqualifications.
Helen has over 20 years experience in her chosen field and is classed as both a ‘Recommended Lawyer’ and a ‘Rising Star’ by The Legal 500.