Under Sheriff of Leicestershire
Helen Johnson was born and educated in Essex. She has lived and worked in Leicester since 1992 where she was employed as an assistant solicitor at two local firms before, at the age of 29, setting up Emery Johnson Solicitors in 1995.
The practice expanded quickly specialising in criminal and family law. Helen concentrated solely on criminal law and after honing her advocacy skills in the Magistrates Court Helen obtained her Higher Rights of Audience in 2007 and began practising in the Crown Court. She defends all types of cases including drugs, violence and dishonesty offences. She has also appeared at the Court of Appeal dealing with appeals against sentence and conviction.
In 2013 and 2014 she appeared as junior counsel in a trial and re-trial at the Old Bailey representing a vulnerable young man charged with terrorism offences. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome after his arrest. She also appeared as junior counsel at Nottingham Crown Court representing a 17 year old charged with 4 counts of murder. He and his co-defendants were charged following a house fire which occurred within hours of one of their friends being stabbed to death. She continues to undertake a variety of criminal defence work in the Crown Court.
Alongside her professional duties Helen fulfils the role of Managing Partner. In 2011 she opened a branch office in Loughborough and the existing Criminal Defence team at Moss Solicitors joined the Emery Johnson team. In 2013 she negotiated a merger with a long established local firm Astills which specialises in private client work and Emery Johnson Astills was born.
Helen won the Leicestershire Law Society Solicitor of the Year award in 2007 In 2012 she became the president of the Leicestershire Law Society. In 2012 she was a finalist for the Leicester Mercury Business Executive of the Year Award.
Also in 2012 she was awarded an “Inspirational Woman “award by Leicestershire Asian Business Association Helen was awarded Solicitor Advocate of the Year in the national Law Society Excellence awards 2015/16. In 2016 she became a trainer for the Advocacy and the Vulnerable training programme which is a national programme to ensure trial advocates have the necessary skills to deal with vulnerable witnesses.
She is one of the founders and organisers of the annual Leicestershire School Courts Competition which invites teams of year 10 children from state schools to compete at Leicester Crown Court before real judges. Helen is a trustee for The Warning Zone a charity which seeks to prevent criminal and anti-social behaviour in children through education.