We invest in your training and development and want you to progress through the firm – whether you have a law degree or not.

We challenge our employees as professionals and provide every single one of them with the opportunity to make a difference. That’s why we were incredibly proud of our litigation executive, Harriet Mearns-Thomas, who won Learner of the Year at this year’s Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) Awards.

Harriet Mearns-Thomas with presenters picking up her CILEx Award.

Harriet has worked at Thompsons for several years and has progressed through sheer determination and the support from her team in the Cardiff office. Below, Harriet shares her success story and how Thompsons has invested in her law career.

What is the CILEx?

Harriet answered: “The CILEx is the professional association and governing body for Chartered Legal Executive lawyers, legal practitioners, and paralegals in England and Wales. The CILEx offers access to a legal career without the need to have a law degree; it provides comprehensive legal education and training for people to achieve a law qualification. The professional association works closely with the government, the Ministry of Justice and the Law Society to provide support, and is recognised as an approved regulator of the legal profession.”

How has the CILEx qualification enhanced your career?

Harriet said: “Working as a full-time case handler, undertaking the CILEx qualification was the last thing I thought I wanted to do. Having put it off for six or seven years, it wasn't until my former branch manager called me into a meeting asking me to reconsider sitting the qualification, that I realised how important it would be for my career. I was also encouraged to do it as the Scheme of Assistance was being re-introduced in the firm, which meant that Thompsons would pay for half of my course fees and would give me time off for the exams. This made the decision that much easier, although the timing was less than ideal as I was applying for the scheme from Heathrow airport on the day of my honeymoon!

“The qualification has taken me more than five years to complete but I am proud to say that I am finally a graduate member of CILEx and am hoping to achieve my Fellow status in the coming months. The rewards of earning the qualification have manifested themselves on numerous occasions throughout the last few years, equipping me with confidence in my work that I never before thought was possible as, having left school midway through my A-Levels, I felt self-conscious about my lack of formal education.”

How has Thompsons supported you?

Harriet added: “I am incredibly grateful to Thompsons, not only for the financial assistance provided through the scheme but also to all my colleagues who cheered me on along the way. Having obtained the Student of the Year Award at the CILEx regional awards in March this year, I truly felt that I had achieved the best recognition of the work I had put in. However, Thompsons was not done with me. My colleagues have supported me through every stage of my qualification, from coping with my despair whenever the new course books arrived and last-minute pre-exam nerves, to the talk down after the exam. They then nominated me for the national Learner of the Year Award, which, unbelievably, I won in September 2019.”

A career at Thompsons

If you’re interested in a career at Thompsons and share our values of helping those who have suffered an injury or injustice, then why not have a look at our current opportunities? You can visit our careers page to learn more about working at Thompsons and the current vacancies available.