By Legal Futures’ Associate CILEx
The nominees and winners demonstrated the range of environments CILEx members work in, from large City law firms to thriving high street practices, and from local government to professional institutions. They also show their diversity – the winners reflect that 74% of members are women, and 14% are from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background.
At the ceremony at Madame Tussauds in London on Thursday 5 September, hosted by TV presenter Claudia Winkleman, Fran Edwards – a family law partner at Welsh firm Caswell Jones – was given a lifetime achievement award in recognition of her outstanding service to both CILEx and the wider legal community.
Fran specialises in divorce and financial matters and is a member of Resolution. A CILEx Council member for a decade until last year, and President in 2014/2015, Fran remains involved with CILEx as Wales advisor.
Fran has been prominent in campaigning for access to justice in Wales, and is a member of the Legal Wales Board and is a trustee of the Access to Justice Foundation and Reaching Justice Wales.
The Advancing the Legal Profession award has from this year been named after Joyce Arram, the Honorary Vice-President of CILEx who passed away last November. It was won by Alexis Thomas of CJCH Solicitors, for her dedication to inspiring future generations to join the profession and helping them achieve to their goals.
A new category, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Initiative award, was created in partnership with legal sector health charity LawCare. It was won by City law firm Trowers & Hamlins, which also won the Diversity & Inclusion award.
National practice Bevan Brittan also walked away with two awards: Aimee Haden was named Chartered Legal Executive Apprentice of the Year, and Samantha Ross triumphed in the Paralegal Apprentice of the Year category.
Other winners included: Nicholas Williams, paralegal officer at Lancashire County Council (Visionary Leadership), Yorkshire law firm Chadwick Lawrence (Innovation & People Development), Bristol-based Lyons Davidson (Law Firm of the Year (100+ Employees)), Surrey and London firm BakerLaw (Law Firm of the Year (1-99 Employees)) and The Family Law Company in Devon (Promoting Access to the Profession).
CILEx Chief Executive Linda Ford, who was one of the awards judges, says: “Our members are playing a vital role for clients, the profession and the rule of law up and down the land, and these awards are all about recognising their achievements.
“It is striking just how diverse our winners are in terms of the types of organisations and practice areas, and what they have done to win their awards. These are people and firms who recognise the privilege of working in the law and want to make it work for them and society as a whole.
“Shortlisting and then choosing the winners was no easy task. It has been so pleasing to see the strides our members are making and the influence they are having, and CILEx is proud to have played its part in their success.”
The full list of winners:
Chartered Legal Executive Apprentice of the Year
Aimee Haden, Bevan Brittan
Paralegal Apprentice of the Year
Samantha Ross, Bevan Brittan
Learner of the Year
Harriet Mearns-Thomas, Thompsons Solicitors
The Joyce Arram Award for Advancing the Legal Profession
Alexis Thomas, CJCH Solicitors
Bahar Ata, Duncan Lewis Solicitors
Legal Expert Property
Amanda Payne, Fishers Dewes Solicitors
Legal Expert Private Client
Melissa Hill, Thorneycroft Solicitors
Nicholas Williams, Lancashire County Council
Diversity & Inclusion
Trowers & Hamlins LLP
Innovation & People Development
Chadwick Lawrence LLP
Law Firm of the Year (100+ Employees)
Lyons Davidson Limited
Law Firm of the Year (1-99 Employees)
Mental Health & Wellbeing Initiative
Trowers & Hamlins LLP
Promoting Access to the Profession
The Family Law Company
CILEx Employee of the Year
CILEx Branch of the Year
CILEx Lifetime Achievement
Our dedicated awards page is here: https://www.cilex.org.uk/membership/cilex_national_awards