A solicitor who successfully defended high profile whistle-blowers and a firm that led projects on children’s rights were among 23 winners at the annual Law Society Excellence Awards – the most prestigious awards ceremony for solicitors in England and Wales.
Professionals and their firms were recognised across categories covering all areas of legal practice and business.
The event – held in Central London on Wednesday 23 October - attracted more than 1,000 guests.
President of the Law Society of England and Wales, Simon Davis, said: 'In such uncertain times, we must never forget the immense contribution that solicitors make to society. Our work is indispensable to upholding the rule of law.
'At the Law Society Excellence Awards, we come together to celebrate outstanding success in the sector.
There are more than 180,000 solicitors in England & Wales: to be shortlisted is to be recognised among the best. To win is a remarkable achievement.'
Tamsin Allen of Bindmans LLP was awarded Solicitor of the Year – Private Practice, for pioneering work successfully defending high-profile whistle-blowers - most notably in the Cambridge Analytica and ‘Vote Leave’ cases.
This year we introduced the Excellence in Access to Justice – to recognise those who champion access to legal services for those who need it most. The winner, Paul Hastings LLP, were lauded for their partnership with multiple charities leading to significant improvements in children’s rights.
Harriet Wistrich, of Birnberg Peirce, won the Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year. She has used the law to secure accountability for violence against women, as a solicitor and founder of the Centre for Women’s Justice.
Taking home the major firm awards: Dentons won the award for Law Firm of the Year (Large, 21+ partners); Family Law Partners (Medium, 5-20 partners); and Nottingham’s Instalaw Solicitors (Small, 2-4 partners).
A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to former Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, who currently sits as the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards. She is known as a powerful mental health advocate and human rights lawyer - and as an ardent promoter of the profession and its values.
List of winners
- Solicitor of the Year (In-house) – Chris Fox, Kambi Group plc
- Solicitor of the Year (Private Practice) – Tamsin Allen, Bindmans LLP
- Sole Practitioner of the Year – Ayesha Nayyar, Nayyars Solicitors
- Human Rights Lawyer of the Year – Sapna Malik, Leigh Day
- Woman Lawyer of the Year – Alison Lobb, Morecrofts Solicitors
- Junior Lawyer of the Year – Jonathan Andrews, Reed Smith
- Practice Manager of the Year – Joanne Dalton, MSB Solicitors
- Excellence in Access to Justice – Paul Hastings LLP
- Excellence in Business Development – Fosters Solicitors LLP
- Excellence in Client Service – CFG Law
- Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion – Sainsbury’s Legal Team
- Excellence in In-house – Young People's Legal Service, Warwickshire Legal Services, Warwickshire Country Council
- Excellence in International Legal Services – The International Family Law Group
- Excellence in Learning & Development – Russell-Cooke and Lawyers in Charities
- Excellence in Marketing & Communications – RPC
- Excellence in Private Client Practice – Morecrofts Solicitors
- Excellence in Pro Bono – Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher UK
- Excellence in Technology & Innovation – Co-op Legal Services
- Law Firm of the Year (Small, 2-4 Partners) – Instalaw Solicitors
- Law Firm of the Year (Medium, 5-20 Partners) – Family Law Partners
- Law Firm of the Year (Large, 21 Partners +) – Dentons
- Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year – Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Peirce and the Centre for Women’s Justice
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, Scott-Moncrieff Associates Ltd.