Here, we chat with Harriet Mearns-Thomas, a 32-year-old chartered legal executive originally from Northamptonshire, who now lives in Penarth on the South Wales coast. Harriet, who is a CILEX Fellow, is based in our Cardiff office and has been working for Thompsons for 15 years.


Image of Harriet Mearns-Thomas
Harriet Mearns-Thomas, our chartered legal executive based in Cardiff

How do you start your week at Thompsons?

Coffee. Lots of it. And then I review my diary for the week ahead and start working on my to-do list.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities at the firm?

I run a caseload of multi-track personal injury claims (cases with a value of over £25,000), so my responsibilities involve corresponding with the injured client, medical experts, lawyers, defendants and the court.

I am responsible for cases from their outset and at any one time will have numerous ongoing cases, all at different stages. My days therefore range from dealing with claims that have been ongoing for some years, which typically involves preparing statements and building up for a court hearing, to working on new cases where I will be taking down important initial information from the client to be able to start their claim.


What do you have planned for the week ahead?

This week, I have two conferences with counsel for different personal injury cases, one of which resulted from an assault at work and another which started with a simple tripping accident but the injury is still causing symptoms three and a half years later.

Counsel conferences are essentially meetings between me as the solicitor working on the claim and a barrister who will be providing specialist input on issues that have arisen in the case and the tactics to adopt going forwards. The conferences also often involve the client. A medical expert will be joining one of these conferences this week so that my client’s evidence can be discussed, and the other is being held because medical evidence for that case has been completed and steps now need to be taken to issue court proceedings.

I also have a couple of telephone meetings one to take statements for a case that is due to go to trial in February 2022, and another with a new client to take some initial information and a statement about the circumstances of their injury so we can submit a letter of claim. The initial meeting is very important as it is the first opportunity to gather information about the accident, when it is likely to be freshest in the client’s mind, and it is also the first opportunity to explain to the client the way in which the claims process works and to chat through any concerns they may have.


Looking back at last week, what was your most memorable moment?

Settling two cases for people I have been advising for several years. One case that had been ongoing for just over three years settled for £40,000 and another that has taken seven years settled for £35,000. The more serious the injury generally the longer the cases take to resolve as it’s important to wait for the outcome of treatment so that the full extent of the injury and its impact cannot be determined and a proper valuation of the claim made.


How do you like to unwind after a working week?

With a nice seaside walk in beautiful Penarth followed by an episode of Murder She Wrote.


What other activities are you involved with at the firm?

I work on the automated vehicle consultation responses and draft the responses on behalf of the firm, it’s going to be a huge change for the driving public and we need to make sure that if people get injured by automated vehicles – whether the driver or other road users – that they get proper compensation and insurers can’t wriggle out of liability. I am the training representative for our region, which involves delivering the Law Bulletin and co-ordinating colleagues’ attendance at various training sessions. We use a case management system called Mattersphere and I have been designated a ‘Mattersphere Champion’, which means I support colleagues in using it and contribute ideas in monthly meetings for improvements.

I am also a Labour Party member and take part in client activities, including those for Unison and the RMT, delivering training and attending conferences on behalf of the firm.