Frances Edwards is to become the 51st President of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) later today at a ceremony in Cardiff City Hall. Originally from Newport she works for Caerphilly-based firm Caswell Jones as a legal aid lawyer specialising in family law.
Mrs Edwards said of her new role: “It is such an honour to be elected not only as CILEx president but as the 10th female and first Welsh woman to be president. I am certainly taking office in interesting times. Many changes are taking place in the legal market not least the unacceptable changes to judicial review and reductions in the Legal Aid system.”
She continued: “With impending practice rights and the recent launch of our paralegal enquiry, I am looking forward to leading CILEx through an exciting year, and supporting our members at a time when they and their firms face challenging circumstances.”
The inauguration will be attended by many notable members of the Welsh legal profession, including Counsel General Theodore Huckle QC, and the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd who will give the guest speech.
Ahead of the event, Lord Thomas said: “I am delighted to see Frances Edwards inaugurated as President of CILEx. She exemplifies the hard-work and determination demonstrated by so many of the CILEx Fellows.”
He continued: “Chartered Legal Executives occupy an important place in the provision of legal services in this country, and recent appointments of CILEx Fellows to the judiciary are further testament to the excellent work which has been done by CILEx in recent years. I have every confidence that the Chartered Institute will continue to grow and flourish under her leadership.”
Frances joined CILEx in 1998 and qualified as a Fellow in 2000. Frances has been a CILEx Council Member for Wales since July 2008.
She left school aged 16 with 6 O-levels but never wanted to go to university. Her first job was as a secretary in a solicitors’ office in Newport. Following a career break to raise her two children; daughter Sian and son Alun, she returned to work and spent the next 6 years studying at home to become a Chartered Legal Executive with ILEX Tutorial College, now CILEx Law School. Frances is currently employed by Caswell Jones Solicitors in Caerphilly where she has worked since 1995 as a member of the Family Team.
She was one of the founder members of the CILEx South Wales Branch when it was re-launched in 2004, becoming treasurer. She was chair of the branch in 2005 and still remains actively involved.
Frances was the first Chartered Legal Executive to be appointed president of a local Law Society when appointed president of Rhymney Valley Law Society in 2008/09.
David Edwards was elected Vice President and Consultant Lawyer Solution's own Martin Callan was also elected Deputy Vice-President at the event in Cardiff and congratulated Frances on her appointment. Martin said "Its great that CILEx has its first Welsh Woman President and I want to wish Frances all the best for her year. Its also great privilege for me to be elected to the office of Deputy Vice-President"