Karen Todner, the London solicitor who represented ‘Pentagon hacker’ Gary McKinnon, received a standing ovation as she collected the Law Society Gazette’s Legal Personality of the Year award at last night’s Law Society Excellence awards ceremony.

Todner (pictured) has been at the forefront of high-profile extradition cases for clients including McKinnon and the ‘Crete 5’. In such cases, the force of not one, but two nation states had been trained on her clients.

In addition to her defence of their direct interests, Todner was recognised for the public pressure she put on unbalanced laws.

Kathryn Ludlow, partner at City firm Linklaters, was highly commended in the same category. As Linklaters’ first global pro bono partner, Ludlow has driven projects that have taken pro bono’s aim of meeting unmet need to the ‘next level’, setting a benchmark for other international firms.

Among the 17 awards presented at Old Billingsgate was a Lifetime Achievement Award to Roger Smith, who stepped down as the director of Justice earlier this year.

Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said: ‘Every year the number, range and quality of the entries gets greater, and this year is no exception. The winners and highly commended entrants should be extremely proud.

‘Winning a Law Society Excellence Award is a huge achievement that brings valuable recognition for individuals and firms. These awards reflect the Law Society’s commitment to the promotion of quality, innovation and client service across the legal profession,’ she said.

The full list of the winners:

Excellence in Community Investment

Winner: Sheffield firm Unity Law Highly commended: Stephensons & Barnardo’s and Gordons

Excellence in Equality and Diversity

Winner: AMV LAWHighly commended: Eversheds and Hogan Lovells

Legal Sector Alliance Award for Excellence in Environmental Responsibility

Winner: Muckle Highly commended: Allen & Overy and Eversheds

Excellence in Client Service

Winner: Turpin & MillerHighly commended: The Royal College of Nursing legal services team and Mayo Wynne Baxter

Excellence in Marketing & Business Development

Winner: Fosters SolicitorsHighly commended: QualitySolicitors

Excellence in Conveyancing Practice

Winner: CoodesHighly commended: Comptons and KJ Commons

Lexcel Award for Excellence in Practice Management

Winner: J.D Spicer & CoHighly commended: Trowers & Hamlins, London Borough OF Enfield legal services and Paul Crowley & Co

Excellence in Innovation

Winner: Paris Smith LLPHighly commended: Clifford Chance

Excellence in Learning and Development

Winner: The Clifford Chance AcademyHighly commended: Hugh James training team and the Hogan Lovells Litigation Foundation

Association of Women Solicitors Legal Business Woman of the Year

Winner: Sarah Goulbourne of Gunnercooke Highly commended: Jackie Newstead of Hogan Lovells

Chartered Legal Executive of the Year: Ian Ashley-Smith of Heringtons

Solicitor Advocate of the Year: Craig Connal QC of Pinsent Masons

Junior Lawyer of the Year

Winner: Myles Jackman of Hodge Jones AllenHighly commended: Kevin Timms of Garden House

In-house Solicitor of the Year

Winner: Paul Heron of Hackney Community Law CentreHighly commended: Carolyn Osbourne of Streetwise Community Law Centre

Private Practice Solicitor of the Year: David Enright of Howe & Co