2021 winners

Congratulations to all those across the profession who have gone above and beyond to deliver for their clients and uphold the rule of law.

Team awards

Winner

Wilsons: believe in justice for all
Wilson Solicitors LLP

The judges commented that Wilson Solicitors LLP punches well above its weight.

Specialising in immigration – an area which has seen substantial public funding cuts – this firm has demonstrated a strong commitment to continued legal aid provision.

They have also initiated partnerships with other organisations such as Islington Council to provide free legal advice to EU migrants; the Hear for Now Project which has funded a full-time solicitor at Wilsons to provide wider legal advice to EU migrants; and Micro Rainbow which supports LGBTQI migrants.

Highly commended
South West London Law Centres

South West London Law Centres impressed the judges with their transformation of their service delivery through an online triage system that has enabled more clients to be signposted to appropriate advice.

They have also developed effective remote working that has allowed them to support large numbers of often highly vulnerable clients during the pandemic in the areas of immigration, housing, and employment law.

Gold Jennings, formerly known as Matthew Gold and Co Ltd

Gold Jennings produced outstanding work on judicial review test cases to secure the rights of some of the most marginalised people in society.

These include establishing entitlement to free school meals for thousands of migrant children and a ruling that housing asylum seekers in poor conditions at Napier Barracks was unlawful.

Winner

Thursfields Solicitors
Thursfields Legal Limited

Thursfields Legal Limited are a team who have shown an impressive commitment to diversity by tackling a full range of diversity strands through practical initiatives in the workplace.

They are tackling a full range of issues from many different angles, including an important commitment to the wellbeing of colleagues.

In doing so, they are driving inclusion and achieving real change and impressive results.

Highly commended
City Solicitors Horizons

The judges were impressed by the excellent initiative shown by City Solicitors Horizons to advance social mobility.

Their innovative scheme shows an opportunity to “break out of the mould, follow suit, and change things for the better” by providing access and supporting people entering the profession.

Travers Smith

Travers Smith impressed the judges with their endorsement and thoughtful commitment to inclusion.

The judges appreciated the commitment to an intersectional approach Travers Smith has taken with their Black, Asian and minority ethnic network group.

Travers Smith have also shown a focus and recognition of the need to increase the diversity of people entering the profession.

Winner

Baker McKenzie
Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie have developed a truly international focus through the creation of their easy to use, tech-driven portal.

The portal enables them to advise their clients on employment law across 57 jurisdictions and benefits their multinational clients and staff across multiple jurisdictions from London.

With each request from the client to the portal, they have gained a greater understanding of their client’s needs, cultures, and priorities – allowing them to improve the service that they offer from the UK.

Highly commended
Expatriate Law

Expatriate Law, a firm who have forged an excellent reputation in international family law.

100% of cases undertaken by Expatriate Law have an international element, and the firm has worked on cases fluidly between international offices, using video link conferencing and online servers to efficiently manage cases across borders.

Through their new branch offices in the UAE and Singapore, they have been able to forge close links with foreign law firms in those regions and with the British consulates in the Far and Middle East, providing staff training for consular staff.

Stevens & Bolton

Stevens & Bolton have demonstrated an impressive internationalisation of their practice area.

By developing close relationships with select foreign law firms in each major jurisdiction over the past decade, Stevens & Bolton have been able to offer clients high-quality international advice with a single point of contact on cross-border matters.

Since starting their international programme 10 years ago, Stevens & Bolton have been able to diversify and increase their client base.

They have attracted work from international UK-based firms looking for a safe pair of hands for smaller projects, and aide the recruitment and retention of high-quality lawyers.

Winner

The Family Law Co by Hartnell Chanot
The Family Law Company

The Family Law Company impressed the judges with their holistic approach, reflecting the full range of strategic factors which together create effective practice management.

From client care, succession planning to staff wellbeing and clear communications, the practice clearly puts people at the heart of its operations without losing sight of its key business objectives.

This focus on culture and collaboration to achieve excellent client outcomes and deliver key projects while exceeding financial aspirations made this firm a stand-out winner.

Highly commended
Ian Walker Family Law and Solicitors

The judges were impressed by this firm’s introduction of new opportunities for qualifications, including the development of a paralegal training programme that significantly benefits each of their trainees and their future clients.

Additionally, this firm is commended for their introduction of a psychology-based training and supervision of the team to assist with their well-being.

Shentons Solicitors

This firm demonstrated success in pro-actively managing key projects, and the judges were impressed with the innovative initiative they took during the pandemic which allowed the firm to run efficiently and effectively.

Shentons is further commended for its Lexcel accreditation, which in itself is an externally verified acknowledgement of excellence in practice management.

Winner

DAC Beachcroft
DAC Beachcroft

DAC Beachcroft have been described by the judges as a ‘standout entry’, reinforcing the idea that great customer service is the best marketing a firm can do.

The judges were particularly impressed by the thought that had gone into establishing the user experience, the clarity of the language in the films, and the quality of animations.

The impression that has been given is that this is a firm that cares about the clients it has and the quality of its interactions.

Highly commended
Irwin Mitchell - Marketing Team

The judges found Irwin Mitchell’s campaign ‘Protect What Matters the Most’ campaign to be ‘warm and human’.

The testimonies from staff featured in the film replicated the sense that ‘people buy from people’ and gave a great insight into the firm.

The judges particularly enjoyed the way that Irwin Mitchell deployed social media as a storytelling tool, commenting that this gave more rounded view of partners, the firm, and the work it does.

Parker Bullen LLP

Parker Bullen was highly commended for their ‘sensitive and responsive’ campaign which the judges described as ‘refreshing and inspiring’.

The judges were particularly impressed by the return of offer achieved as well as how the campaign reinforced the firm’s position as a local champion, doing valuable and inspiring work within its community.

Winner

Aslym Aid, White & Case, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Morrison Foerster, Reed Smith, Orrick, Dentons, Latham & Watkins, Akin Gump, Ashurst, Cooley, O'Melveny, Skadden
Akin Gump, Ashurst, Cooley, Dentons, Freshfields, Latham & Watkins, Morrison & Foerster, O'Melveny, Orrick, Reed Smith, Skadden and White & Case

This year's winner is a collaborative team that has achieved lasting and dramatic change in an area of significant public importance.

The judges were impressed by the collaborative effort of 12 global law firms who combined their expertise and resources to provide pro bono assistance on a large scale to help Asylum Aid deal with statelessness within the UK.

Highly commended
Owens Solicitors
The judges felt this was an excellent example of a sole practitioner providing years of grassroot pro bono services to vulnerable people within her community.
The University of Bolton Legal Advice Centre
The University of Bolton Legal Advice Centre impressed the judges with their collaborative efforts with the local community to ensure efficient use of resources to meet unmet legal needs.

Winner

The Ethical Solicitor
The Ethical Solicitor

The judges were highly impressed by the Ethical Solicitor’s demonstrable commitment to driving up ethical standards in the profession.

Our winners are joint authors of ‘So You Think You’re an Ethical Solicitor?’ and have produced a series of podcasts on legal ethics.

The judges were impressed by their obvious expertise and passion for engaging with difficult ethical problems, and the way they use a wide range of examples, scenarios and illustrations to promote serious and nuanced discussions amongst practitioners.

Winner

Monaco Solicitors
Monaco Solicitors

Monaco Solicitors impressed the judges with the way they deployed technology ‘for the people’ and opened a door to help in the employment law ‘minefield’.

This firm seized on a gap in awareness of the thousands of people across the UK who have urgent employment law issues.

The firm’s use of artificial intelligence means they can help 500 people per week access justice.

Highly commended
Thirdfort Limited

Thirdfort Limited was commended for their impressive innovation in the delivery of a smart and “savvy” product.

The judges were impressed by their new app-based solution which helps to address issues of ID-fraud which means users can complete quicker, easier ID checks, increasing client satisfaction.

Solicitors Title LLP

Solicitors Title LLP made history with their use of video technology to witness the execution of a will for a self-isolating client during the first national lockdown.

Their ground-breaking research and snap campaign persuaded the government to pass emergency legislation retrospectively sanctioning this approach.

The judges felt this was an impressive use of technology, which enabled significant change in the way wills have been governed.

Winner

Rook Irwin Sweeney
Rook Irwin Sweeney LLP

Our winner in this category has demonstrated that they have gone above and beyond in upholding the rule of law.

Bringing important test cases against the central government has demonstrably improved the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society during the pandemic and will have a lasting impact on society and future policy making.

Particularly for a new initiative, their demonstrable level of success, activity and long-term public impact is highly inspirational, and the judges look forward to seeing this work continue.

Highly commended
Public Law Project

This firm set out a strong vision of how they have held government to account to preserve human rights and uphold the rule of law. This has been especially impactful during the pandemic.

With their focus on transparency and accountability of elected officials, judges were able to see how the Public Law Project’s work will have a long-term, positive impact on society.

Protect's Legal Advice Team

The judges commended Protect for their admirable and important work on the extremely important issue of whistleblowing during the pandemic.

As part of this work, Protect published reports highlighting whistle-blowers’ concerns and launched a legal reform campaign to better protect those pointing out when the law is not followed.

Winner

Working Families: changing the way we live and work
Working Families

The judges were highly impressed by how this small legal advice service team responded to the huge increase in demand of the charity’s service from working parents during the pandemic.

The creation of a self-help website covering topics on employment rights continues to help those with issues.

The strong feedback from those that have been helped impressed the judges, as did the introduction of counselling for advisors, recruitment of home-based advisors and volunteers to ease workload. This demonstrated a truly agile and innovative legal team.

Highly commended
Loughborough University

The judges were impressed with how this small team managed to build efficiencies into the way they worked with the wider university.

Their innovative solutions such as the self-service portal, online assessment centre and insourcing of property work showed the great impact of their work.

Department of Health and Social Care Legal Advisors in the Government Legal Department

The judges felt that this legal team have been at the heart of everything over the last 18 months, demonstrating their impressive impact.

The work of this team has significantly impacted the national fight against COVID.

Their forward-thinking and legally robust and innovative advice has contributed to the protection of the population, earning them a glowing testament from Chris Witty.

Their highly commendable work includes drafting legislation, coordinating advice on social distancing, vaccinations, face coverings, and so much more.

Winner

Phillips Solicitors incorporating Brain Chase Coles
Phillips Solicitors

Phillips Solicitors have implemented excellent initiatives for their staff, including the introduction of funding for IVF treatment.

This firm have also performed well financially despite the unprecedented pressures of the past year.

Highly commended
Hausfeld

The judges were highly impressed by their innovative working practises in challenging the traditional hourly fee model to better provide services to their individual and corporate clients.

Hausfeld is also making important advancements regarding group action claims, with a view to pursue the important principles of social justice and corporate accountability.

MSB Solicitors
The judges would like to commend MSB Solicitors for their commitment to supporting their staff.

The introduction of a Partnership Progression Scheme and new policies including their menopause policy, staff abuse policy and transgender policy show they are a firm that goes above and beyond the standard HR policies.

Winner

Tatham & Co
Tatham Law LLP

Tatham Law LLP has an outstanding niche practice freeing maritime hostages.

This complex area of work involves building an international and commercial profile and international policy work in various jurisdictions.

This firm greatly impressed the judges with the tremendous impact they have on people’s lives in life and death situations.

Highly commended
Commons

This small firm impressed the judges with their demonstrable commitment to public access matters for minority and vulnerable groups.

Their highly impactful work includes setting up a web-based app to access COVID fixed penalty notices.

The judges commend this innovative approach to help the wider public and the impressive non-profit work they do.

Gold Jennings, formerly known as Matthew Gold and Co Ltd

The judges were truly impressed with the high-impact and high-profile Napier Barracks case, which saw the high court ruling in their favour after a judicial review.

As a result of their important work with vulnerable individuals, they were able to increase their workload during unprecedented times.

Individual awards

Winner

Neil Hudgell
Neil Hudgell, Hudgell Solicitors

Neil Hudgell has taken the 24-year-old firm he founded from a locally based business in Hull to an established and lauded national brand.

Recently, he used the law to secure justice for dozens of former sub-postmasters wrongly convicted in the Post Office Horizon Scandal.

The case has been described as the ‘biggest miscarriage of justice the UK has ever seen’.

Highly commended
Trevor Sterling, Moore Barlow

A career in personal injury law has taken Trevor Sterling to the helm of Moore Barlow that has included representing victims of the Westminster attack in 2017, families of victims of the Croydon tram crash and 60 Jimmy Savile child abuse victims,

The first Black senior partner to lead a Top 100 law firm, his is a strong voice promoting greater equality and diversity in the law and wider society.

Georgia Dawson, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

As senior partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the first woman to hold the position, Georgia has led the firm’s 2,800 lawyers through much of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her priorities include enhanced support for staff welfare, improving the inclusivity of the firm’s culture, adopting new technology, promoting its pro bono work and improving the firm’s environmental record.

Winner

Maria Patsalos is a fair-skinned women with medium length straight brown hair. She wears a yellow blouse and blue nail polish.
Maria Patsalos of Mishcon de Reya

Maria Patsalos is a true champion of diversity. She has founded a range of pro-bono initiatives such as Pink Law and Black Justice to ensure the rights of marginalised groups are protected and promoted.

Her dedication to these initiatives has been unwavering and her support knows no bounds, ranging from providing free legal advice at drop-in clinics to fundraising.

She masterfully juggles her grassroots work with securing far-reaching impact for vulnerable people through the highest levels of the law.

As an example, she recently worked on a Supreme Court case challenging fees for registering children as British.

Maria is an asset to the legal profession and is awarded this title in recognition of the extraordinary lengths she goes to ensure the protection of human rights law is available to all.

Highly commended
James Packer, Duncan Lewis Solicitors

The judges felt that for too long James has been an unsung hero of the legal profession, working tirelessly and courageously on often unpopular cases to ensure the rights of all, and particularly the most disadvantaged, are protected.

His long list of successes, both reported and unreported, achieve real impact for his clients and are worthy of recognition.

He also goes above and beyond to add value to the profession through providing an exemplary standard of training to new solicitors who will undoubtedly carry on his good work.

Matthew Jury, McCue Jury & Partners

The judges were impressed by Matthew’s innovative use of the law to achieve recognition for the rights of victims of terrorism, often at personal risk and showing great tenacity and courage.

Matthew was pivotal in pioneering a development in civil remedies in ground-breaking litigation culminating in an award of £1 million in damages for his client.

This was undoubtedly the result of Matthew’s dedication in pursuing the case across many years.

Matthew’s work continues as he seeks to further expand the recognition of the rights of secondary victims and the psychiatric harm resulting from terrorist activity.

Winner

Jeremy Bloom
Jeremy Bloom, Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Our winner has been involved in pivotal cases that make a big impact and a real practical difference after just two years of post-qualification experience.

Jeremy is a real change maker, and his involvement in the Windrush project and work at a legal aid firm has changed the lives of thousands of people.

With long working hours and low pay, his high energy is truly impressive.

Highly commended
Aneesa Ehsan, Proctor & Hobbs Solicitors

The judges were impressed that, as a junior lawyer, Aneesa has set up a law firm.

But in addition to this, she is assisting women in law and breaking down barriers.

As well as being a social mobility and BAME advocate, Aneesa has ensured that her firm has an inclusive recruitment policy, and she has secured funding for skills training for paralegals and other team members.

Aneesa also does pro bono work at the University of Bradford and is making good use of social media.

Winner

Ian Walker is a white man with short grey hair. He is smiling and wears a charcoal grey suit, a pink shirt and a red patterned tie.
Ian Walker, Family Law and Mediation Limited

The judges chose our winner from an impressive field of candidates.

Ian Walker has strongly demonstrated evidence of the firm’s growth and expansion, including the substantial increased turnover despite the pandemic.

The judges were highly impressed with the innovative initiatives he implemented for his clients.

Highly commended
Glyn Lloyd, Newfields
The judges were highly impressed by Glyn’s strong client base and pro bono work for domestic violence victims. The judges commend Glyn’s desire to give back to society.
Sheree Green, Greenchurch Legal Services Ltd

The judges were impressed with how Sheree managed to make a profit and give staff bonuses despite the pandemic, along with not furloughing any staff.

Sheree’s work outside of her firm to give back to the profession is truly commendable.

Winner

Marios Kontos is a tanned man with cropped black hair and stubble. He wears a light grey suit, white shirt and dark tie.
Marios Kontos, Rainbow Migration

Marios Kontos stood out to all the judges because they are a junior lawyer advising on sexual orientation or gender identity asylum claims with limited resources during the pandemic.

The judges were highly impressed with this solicitor’s interactions on law and policy work with the Home Office and involvement with the European Court of Human Rights on a Belarus case.

Highly commended
Jelena Madir, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

The judges were impressed by Jelena’s legal leadership at Gavi with its role in the global COVID vaccination programme.

They were particularly interested in the set-up of the No-Fault Compensation Scheme and international funding work helping low-income countries to obtain vaccines.

Jelena has also found the time to publish two books and created courses on cutting-edge issues.

David Burbridge, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

The judges were impressed by the breadth of David’s work during the pandemic, including advising on emergency legislation, legal ethics, commissioning the Nightingale hospital and the vaccine programme, all in an unprecedented and highly pressured environment.

In addition, the judges would like to commend David for his training as a psychological first aider to support colleagues.

Winner

Anne Kavanagh is a white woman with short, straight blonde hair. She is smiling and wearing a white dress and pearl necklace.
Anne Kavanagh, Irwin Mitchell

Anne Kavanagh has shown exceptional energy and focus representing women and children through pregnancy, obstetric, or gynaecological treatment as part of her clinical negligence practice.

She has made a significant impact on the women and families she has supported and will continue to have an impact because of the judgements made.

The judges felt that in an area of work that rarely has the spotlight, our winner’s achievements are highly deserving of recognition.

She has brought about positive changes not only for her clients but society at large.

Highly commended
Attiq Malik, Liberty Law Solicitors

Attiq impressed the judges with the tenacity, generosity and cooperative mindset shown through his work supporting those experiencing disadvantage to access justice through areas of discrimination law and challenges against public authorities.

Attiq is committed to making law and the system more accessible, demonstrated through his mentoring of school and university students, pro bono work, television appearances and role as secretary for the Society of Asian Lawyers.

One judge remarked, “He has terrific courage and belief in the system, showing that it works. He’s out there fighting the good fight."

Joseph McCormick, Rosenblatt

Joseph’s work taking on the case of a Lebanese national in London who had been locked out of his life savings by a Lebanese bank demonstrated a highly creative and tenacious approach to a challenging problem affecting thousands.

The judges were impressed by Joseph’s exciting and less obvious approach which secured a real-world result of not just giving hope to potentially thousands of people locked out of life savings but also developing the UK in the international marketplace.

Winner

Fatema Orjela is an Asian woman with long, straight black hair. She wears a black shirt and a beaded necklace.
Fatema Orjela, Sidley Austin

Fatema is a dedicated solicitor who has demonstrated clear leadership in gender diversity since being promoted to partner at the age of 31.

Despite working on numerous high-profile cases, the category winner is an active member on numerous gender focused committees and is the London chair of her firm's global committee for the retention and promotion of women.

Her dedication to gender equality has led her to mentor the next generation of aspiring solicitors from diverse backgrounds as well as coach and mentor over 50 associates.

Highly commended
Glynis Wright MBE, Nelsons

Glynis has displayed great leadership in her personal career as well as her commitment to the progression of women in law.

Glynis’ commitment to her career development saw her progress to partner before eventually launching her own award-winning firm.

She continues to practice law as a partner and head of department all whilst being the chair of the advisory board at De Montfort university and mentoring both women solicitors and students.

Amandeep Khasriya, Moore Barlow

Amandeep Khasriya of Moore Barlow has been recognised for her support of women at all stages of their career.

Amandeep has supported over a dozen women lawyers in the early stages of their career and has supported three women back to work during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Her impact in the industry includes inspiring women returners back to the profession through the ‘Women Back to Law’ podcast, which has over 500 listeners.

She also co-founded her firm’s women’s committee and is an active member on the Law Society’s Women Lawyers Division.

Winner

Michael Hanley
Michael Hanley, Wilson Solicitors LLP

Michael Hanley has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to our profession and to legal aid.

Across 36 years, he has dedicated his career to fighting for society’s most vulnerable, ensuring they have access to justice and their voices are heard – an integral aspect to all our careers as solicitors.

He is renowned for his work in immigration and refugee law, often taking unpopular cases and tirelessly working to protect and defend his clients, their rights, and the rule of law.

Together with Andrew Wilson, he set up and built a successful legal aid practice in North London where he carried out this work, leading it to become one of the largest and best-known in the area and an invaluable and important part of the community there.

His work to stand up for those who struggle to stand themselves, his dedication to fairness, equality and to the law is commendable and I feel honoured to share this profession with him.

I would personally like to thank Michael for all his work for our society, for equality and for our legal profession.