On the 1st anniversary of my firm I have been reflecting on the path that led me here. To quote the one and only Bob Dylan "So I remember every face of every man who put me here".

The road hasn't been easy despite my parents having given me an education and the opportunity to succeed. I have been the victim of severe bullying whilst working for more than one law firm. Each time I fought back and I won. The last, well publicised battle, very nearly broke me but my determination to continue to look after those who need me and the realisation that I still had much to contribute kept me going.

My story starts long before I was born.

My dad, Frank Clifford, was a founding member of the Construction Safety Campaign. Having been a shop steward he felt that he had done all he could to improve conditions from the shop floor, he was recruited by W H Thompson, and at the age of 47 qualified as a solicitor. A not insignificant achievement for a boy who was born in 1918 into an impoverished Irish family, living in Hull. A boy who lived for a period in the Workhouse and who was so hungry he ate orange peel he picked up off the street.

Let's go back another generation to where it really starts. My grandfather was a docker who lost a leg in an accident at work. At that time there was virtually no support available, the welfare state was in its infancy and his already impoverished family were quickly plunged into abject poverty. There would have been no support at all for the mental health issues he inevitably suffered. Determined to try to continue to provide for his family of 11 he took a job as a "knocker upper". This entailed him walking around the streets with the aid of a crutch and using a long stick to knock on workers' windows to wake them up. Hunger was an every day reality and life was bleak.

My grandfather, despite his circumstances was a very insightful man who, having recognised my dad's genius from a very young age, was adamant that his son would understand the importance of obtaining an education. In 1920s poverty in Hull obtaining an education was not what we would consider it to be. However, what he could do was insist that my dad attend school, which he did until the age of 14 and that he read extensively, each and every book he could get his hands on. Not an easy task when the priest would carry out house to house inspections and remove any books he deemed inappropriate. So began my dad's lifelong love affair with books and his determination to better himself through self education. His first job was selling newspapers on the street. He moved to London during WWII and went to work at Standard Telephones where he quickly became a force to be reckoned with on the shop floor, a man who could bring a factory of 10,000 men to a standstill. The next step was becoming a solicitor, which with no formal education entailed 7 years as an Articled Clerk, followed by attendance at the College of Law in Guildford and the Law Society Finals. He qualified at the age of 47 and set up Clifford & Co in 1965. My father's firm was, in his words, "an extension of his work on the shop floor, an extension of his socialism". It was never a business to him. It was never about financial reward and the financial rewards which came were a byproduct of his determination to fight for those who had been injured or killed at work.

He was driven by what he and his family had suffered because of his dad's accident. There was no justice secured for my grandfather. Until the day my dad died at the age of 84 he was haunted by the fact that his dad ultimately lost his battle to survive and committed suicide by putting his head is the family's gas oven.

Because of my grandfather's accident I never got to meet him.

Continuing the fight for justice is in my blood. I was born to do this work. Just in case I might have been thinking of doing anything else, my dad sealed the deal by taking me into his office for the first year of my life so that I could watch and learn from my Moses basket. I've been involved ever since.

By the time I was born my dad was financially successful. My brother and I had a privileged upbringing and education at my mum's insistence. My dad was sensible enough not to fight a battle with her! But what I'm even more grateful for is the values that my parents instilled in me. Determination to fight for justice, determination to fight through adversity, kindness and respect for my fellow man, an understanding of how fortunate I am and that I am as good as but no better than anyone else.

My work is about providing a voice to those who need me. It's a simple as that. I fight to right injustice.

I will continue to fight, to add my voice, my expertise and to put my heart into the fight to improve working conditions in this country and I will not stop doing so until our workplaces are safe. Until every man, woman and child comes home safely from work, to their loved ones and there are no more empty boots- no more bereaved families crying for the loved ones they will never hold in their arms again.

I set up Helen Clifford Law to enable me to provide the personal service my clients need, without the commercial pressures that are prevalent in large firms. I am free to represent my clients as they deserve, their needs are paramount and are at the heart of everything I do. I stand for excellence in law, integrity in my dealings, act with decency and kindness. As my parents taught me.

So, back to Bob Dylan whose words perfectly sum up my battle, my survival and my determination to continue to fight for what's right for me and for each and every person who needs me.

"They say every man needs protection
They say that every man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Somewhere so high above this wall

I see my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released"

Helen Clifford is a solicitor who is renowned for fighting the toughest opponents.