Major general Susan Ridge, the British Army’s highest-ranking woman ever, was among the winners at the 10th annual Law Society Excellence Awards.

She was named Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year 2016 at last night’s ceremony, which was attended by hundreds of solicitors at the Hilton on London’s Park Lane.

As head of Army Legal Services, Ridge (pictured, second right) commands a team of more than 100 qualified solicitor and barrister army officers deployed in the UK or overseas conflict zones.

The daughter of a farmer, Maj Gen Ridge started her legal career with a firm in North Wales. Upon being invited to join the partnership, she decided to try a short four-year commission in the Army Legal Service before undertaking that commitment. Twenty-four years later, she has risen to the very top.

An Army representative said: 'To be recognised as among the top in the legal profession in this way is a real tribute to the hard work, dedication and skill that general Susan brings to her legal work, and to the wider Army; and everyone at Army Headquarters is extremely proud of all of her achievements.'

Read the Gazette's interview with the major general here.

Other individual winners included Tabatha Mossman, Roche Products Limited (Solicitor of the Year - In-House) and John Halford of Bindmans (Solicitor of the Year - Private Practice). Deputy High Court judge Alexandra Marks, a board member of both JUSTICE and the Judicial Appointments Commission, won a lifetime achievement award.

The Woman Lawyer of the Year award went to Ruth Grant, a board member at Hogan Lovells. Grant is a former London managing partner and people development partner at the firm, and chairs its global diversity and inclusion committee. 

The evening, hosted by BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter Mishal Husain, saw ten firms and seven individual solicitors receive awards across the 17 categories, along with a further 21 highly commended awards.

In the firms category the Excellence in Client Service Award went to Cohen Davis Solicitors and the award for Excellence In-house to Spire Healthcare Group.

Congratulating the winners, the highly commended and the shortlisted candidates, Law Society president Robert Bourns (pictured left) said: ‘The competition for these awards is becoming ever more fierce and each winner should be particularly proud of their achievement in the face of so many outstanding nominees. The standard they set is an example to the whole solicitor profession.’

A full list of winners is below.

The Law Society of England and Wales: Excellence Awards 2016

Winners and Highly Commended



Excellence in Pro Bono

The Jackson Canter Group – WINNER

Huddersfield Law Society Uganda Twinning Group – HIGHLY COMMENDED           

Simmons & Simmons – HIGHLY COMMENDED


Excellence in Client Service                                                                                                    

Cohen Davis Solicitors – WINNER

EMG Solicitors Limited – HIGHLY COMMENDED                              


Excellence in Technology                         

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP  – WINNER

Shakespeare Martineau LLP – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Watkins & Gunn Solicitors – HIGHLY COMMENDED


Excellence in Marketing and Communications   

Stephens Scown LLP – WINNER

Wollen Michelmore LLP – HIGHLY COMMENDED                 


Excellence in Private Client Practice     

Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP – WINNER                  

Hugh Jones Solicitors HIGHLY COMMENDED


Excellence in Learning & Development

Simpson Millar LLP – WINNER       



Excellence In-house

Spire Healthcare Group plc – WINNER

Action for Children – HIGHLY COMMENDED


Excellence in International Legal Services       

Centil Law Firm (formerly Colibri Law Firm) – WINNER

Anjarwalla & Khanna – HIGHLY COMMENDED


Excellence in Business Development                  

Martin Searle Solicitors – WINNER

Ridley & Hall Legal Limited – HIGHLY COMMENDED


Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion         

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – WINNER                                       

Latham & Watkins – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Paul J Watson Solicitor – HIGHLY COMMENDED




The Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year                     

Major General Susan Ridge, Army Legal Services        


Solicitor Advocate of the Year                

Ranjit Uppal, Switalskis Solicitors – WINNER

Simon Jones, Crown Prosecution Service – HIGHLY COMMENDED


Junior Lawyer of the Year            

Elissa Thursfield, Gamlins Law Ltd – WINNER

Keiley Ann Broadhead, ACCA – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Rhiannon Jones, Lester MorrillHIGHLY COMMENDED


Woman Lawyer of the Year                                  

Ruth Grant, Hogan Lovells – WINNER

Rachel Horman, Watson Ramsbottom Limited – HIGHLY COMMENDED


Solicitor of the Year – In-house               

Tabatha Mossman, Roche Products Limited – WINNER

Sophia Dirir, Action for Children – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Rishi Sharma, InterContinental Hotels Group – HIGHLY COMMENDED


Solicitor of the Year – Private Practice             

John Halford, Bindmans LLP – WINNER

Melinda Giles, Giles Wilson LLP – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Susan Bartfield, Lester Morrill – HIGHLY COMMENDED


Human Rights Lawyer of the Year           

Chris Topping, The Jackson Canter Group – WINNER


Lifetime Achievement Award                   

Alexandra Marks, Linklaters – WINNER