The lead solicitor in the Cambridge Analytica test case was among 23 award winners at this year’s Law Society Excellence Awards. Ravi Naik of Irvine Thanvi Natas Solicitors, who represented Professor David Carroll in the initial action against Cambridge Analytica, was named Human Rights Lawyer of the Year.

A Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred upon former civil service commissioner Dame Janet Gaymer DBE QC (Hon), the first woman to be a senior partner at a top-20 law firm. Another eminent woman lawyer, Janet Legrand QC (Hon), the first female senior partner and global co-chair at international law firm DLA Piper, won the Woman Lawyer of the Year award for her work promoting the role of women in the legal profession.

A record attendance of over 1,000 gathered for the 2018 awards at London’s  Grosvenor House hotel last night.

The Gazette’s own award, Legal Personality of the Year, went to the anonymous Secret Barrister. Author of Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken, this anonymous advocate and social media sensation has made a huge contribution to raising public awareness of the deteriorating plight of the justice system in England and Wales.  

Commenting on Ravi Naik’s award, Nadeem Thanvi, managing partner at Irvine Thanvi Natas, said: ‘There is a new electronic frontier where some of the key defining challenges to the rights of the individual are being played out. Ravi’s commitment to human rights, his skill as a lawyer, and the tenacity he shows mark him out as a worthy winner.’

National firm gunnercooke won the award for Law Firm of the Year (large, 21+ partners); Sunderland-based firm Ben Hoare Bell was named Law Firm of the Year (medium, 5-20 partners); while Leicester firm Glynis Wright & Co won Law Firm of the Year (small, 2-4 partners).

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said the record number of nominations highlighted ‘the exceptional dedication, thoughtfulness and skill solicitors bring to their job on a daily basis’.

Peter Liver, the Society’s executive director, membership services, said: ‘This year’s awards were bigger than ever. I was delighted to see so many people celebrating the best of the solicitors profession with their representative body. Many congratulations to all the winners and nominees.’

A special supplement featuring all the award winners will appear in the Gazette on 29 October.

The full list of winners was as follows:

Solicitor of the Year (In-house)– Ben Foat, Post Office

Solicitor of the Year (Private Practice)– Simon Moore, Stephensons Harwood

Solicitor Advocate of the Year– Mark Tooley, Larcomes

Sole Practitioner of the Year– Rachel Roche, Roche Legal

Human Rights Lawyer of the Year– Ravi Naik, Irvine Thanvi Natas Solicitors

Woman Lawyer of the Year– Janet Legrand QC (Hons), DLA Piper

Junior Lawyer of the Year– Lauren Crow, MJC Law

Excellence in Practice Management– Alexandra Hatchman, Fletchers Solicitors

Excellence in Marketing and Communications– SA Law

Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion– Government Legal Department

Excellence in Learning & Development– Family Law in Partnership

Excellence in Pro Bono– Simmons & Simmons Access to Justice Programme

Excellence in In-house– Working Families Legal Advice Service

Excellence in Client Service– Renaissance Legal

Excellence in Technology & Innovation– LawBid

Excellence in Private Client Practice– Rowlinsons Solicitors

Excellence in Business Development– Escalate, Bermans and Moore Blatch

Excellence in International Legal Services– Centil Law Firm, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Law Firm of the Year (Small, 2-4 Partners)– Glynis Wright & Co

Law Firm of the Year (Medium, 5-20 Partners)– Ben Hoare Bell

Law Firm of the Year (Large, 21 Partners +)– gunnercooke

Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year– Secret Barrister

Lifetime Achievement Award– Dame Janet Gaymer DBE QC (Hon)