Leading social justice law firm, Thompsons Solicitors, has marked a century of fighting for the injured and mistreated with an event to inspire the next generation of activists and charity initiatives.

Thompsons, recently listed again as one of the top law firms in the UK by The Times newspaper for a fourth consecutive year, was founded by prominent civil rights lawyer, William Henry 'Harry' Thompson in 1921, and immediately dedicated its work to providing justice to working people.

Within its first year, the firm represented Labour councillors during the Poplar Rates rebellion as they protested the poorest boroughs of London paying the same tax as the richest. The revolt led to the Local Authorities (Financial Provisions) Act 1921 being rushed through parliament, which bridged the gap of tax burdens between the rich and poor boroughs.

Clare Mellor, Thompsons' chief executive, speaking at the centenary event
Clare Mellor, Thompsons' chief executive, speaking at the centenary event

Thompsons has since been involved in every major fight against unfair working practices - including acting for trade unions in the landmark 1937 case that established employers were liable for the safety of their workers, winning the first successful asbestos-related disease case in the House of Lords in 1972 and securing millions in compensation for Unite members who were victims of the biggest blacklisting scandal in UK construction industry history.

To mark its centennial year, and inspire the next generation of trade unionists and activists, Thompsons held an event in Manchester where students had the opportunity to meet and speak with leading representatives from Thompsons but also politics, trade unions, and the Labour movement about the experiences and inspiration that led them to their current positions.

Commenting at the event Clare Mellor, chief executive of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Our vision is to be the leading legal advisor to the trade union and labour movement, and to the victims of injury.

“It is my absolute privilege to be leading a firm that has, for over the last 100 years, remained true to that vision. It has been so rewarding to sift through our history in preparation for these centenary events - remembering those cases that I learnt about as a law student at university, but more than that – recognising the shared values of the people who have worked for the firm over the firm’s history.”
Today, Thompsons Solicitors has teams of specialists across the length and breadth of the UK representing people who have experienced personal injury, including serious injuries such as spinal cord and brain injuries; medical negligence; asbestos disease; accidents at work; and challenges to their employment rights.

The firm continues to protect the rights and interests of tens of thousands trade union members every year, campaigning for justice and equality and using its affiliations with the global trade union movement to show international solidarity in defence of civil liberties and human rights.

Teams have also marked the firm’s centenary with fundraisers, including a ‘100 repetitions’ challenge in Cardiff that raised more than £1,000 for Cerebral Palsy Cymru.

Clare Mellor added: “It has been an honour and privilege to work so closely with the trade union and labour movement throughout our history, and to continue that work, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the movement to fight the battles which remain.”


Thompsons' centenary event in Manchester