CILEx reveals winners of National Awards 2019

CILEx reveals winners of National Awards 2019

06 September 2019

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives has unveiled the winners of its second annual National Awards, celebrating the best and the brightest in the profession.

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

Legal Expert

Bahar Ata, Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Legal Expert Property

Amanda Payne, Fishers Dewes Solicitors

Legal Expert Private Client

Melissa Hill, Thorneycroft Solicitors

Visionary Leadership

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)

BakerLaw LLP

Mental Health & Wellbeing Initiative

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Promoting Access to the Profession

The Family Law Company

CILEx Employee of the Year

Matthew Brecknock

CILEx Branch of the Year

Lancashire Branch

CILEx Lifetime Achievement

Fran Edwards

Our dedicated awards page is here:


For further information, please contact:

Kerry Jack, Black Letter Communications on 07525 756 599 or email:

[email protected]

Louise Eckersley, Black Letter Communications on 0203 567 1208 or email:

[email protected]

Notes to editors:

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is one of the three main professional bodies covering the legal profession in England and Wales. The 20,000-strong membership is made up of Chartered Legal Executives, paralegals and other legal professionals.

CILEx members are regulated through an independent body, CILEx Regulation. It is the only regulator covering paralegals.

CILEx provides career support and training, with qualifications open to those holding GCSEs, A levels or a degree. Over 100,000 students have chosen CILEx over the last 25 years, with the majority studying whilst in full or part-time employment.

CILEx provides a non-graduate route to qualification as a lawyer, and those who complete the full CILEx qualification are known as Chartered Legal Executives. They can become partners in law firms, coroners, judges or advocates in open court.

Those who complete the full CILEx qualification are known as Chartered Legal Executives. They can become partners in law firms, coroners, judges or advocates in open court.

CILEx is committed to supporting members to deliver accessible legal services to the public.

The membership is diverse – 75% of members are women and 11% are from a BAME background.