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
AWARDS FOR FIRMS OR TEAMS
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
Suffolk Legal – HIGHLY COMMENDED
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
AWARDS FOR INDIVIDUALS
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 Morrill – HIGHLY 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