As part of our Spotlight On series to profile the specialists at Thompsons Solicitors, we interviewed Helen Shakespeare – a serious injury lawyer with almost two decades’ experience of supporting people across Yorkshire and the Humber.


What inspired you to go into law?

I have always been motivated by fairness and social justice, and going into a law was an obvious way to put those ideals into practice. My family was involved in the trade union movement, which had a huge impact on me growing up and is probably why I’ve spent the majority of my career at Thompsons. Thompsons has given me the platform to stand up for those who have been unfairly treated or marginalised.


What is your specialism, and why did you take that route?

I’ve specialised in serious injury litigation for many years. I like to focus my practice on rehabilitation - trying to use a claim to get the best therapeutic interventions for my clients so they can start seeing an improvement in their quality of life.

Helen Shakespeare wearing a blue coat, with her son
Helen Shakespeare with her son

We don’t just wait for the case to settle but work hard to secure interim payments so that improvements can be made sooner, rather than later.

I think the reason I specialised in serious injury claim is because of the huge impact you can make on a client’s life. Some of the injuries I deal with are truly horrific, so I take it upon myself to do my very best to help them and it is rewarding to join them on their journey.


How have you found lockdown and working from home?

I worked from home regularly prior to lockdown, so I was aware of dos and don’ts of home working, and was able to guide my own team accordingly. While I cannot say that I miss my daily commute from Sheffield to Leeds, not being able to meet with my clients in person – many of whom I was working with prior to the pandemic – has been really challenging.

I am hugely proud of my team for not just adapting but actually thriving in a home working environment. In the last 12 months they have settled cases with a value in excess of £10 million, which is a testament to the work ethic they have.


Tell us something surprising about you that most people don’t know?

In my younger days, I played the trombone in a concert band - we toured Spain and Germany, made a couple of recordings, and even featured on BBC Radio 2!