The legal profession’s ‘brightest stars’ will be honoured at a ceremony later this year, the Law Society has said, announcing the shortlist for this year’s Excellence Awards.

Individual solicitors are competing in categories that include the Gazette Legal Personality of the Year, junior lawyer of the year and solicitor-advocate of the year.

Finalists in the firms’ category range from City firms to local authority alternative business structures to small local practices, with awards for excellence in pro bono, client service, technology and other areas.

Former Law Society president and lord mayor Fiona Woolf, Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC and Royal Dutch Shell’s legal director Donny Ching are among the judges for this year’s awards.

Society president Jonathan Smithers (pictured) said: ‘I am proud that my profession has so many impressive individuals who continue to innovate and thrive even in challenging economic and legislative environments, seeking to serve their clients and communities in the best way that they possibly can.’

For a full list of nominees, click here.

The seven-strong list for the Gazette Legal Personality of the Year are:

Robin Murray and Bill Waddington, vice-chair and chair respectively of the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association;

Zoe Norden, solicitor at Guardian News & Media Limited;

Tunde Okewale, barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, who specialises in general and serious crime, and extradition, as well as appellate work in the Court of Appeal and Administrative Court;

Joss Saunders, general counsel at Oxfam;

Rebecca Stevens, family solicitor-advocate at national firm Withy King;

Ayesha Vardag, president of family firm Vardags; and

Michael Ward, senior partner at national firm Gateley Plc.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Hilton hotel, in Park Lane, London, on 22 October.