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Going above and beyond - Law Society awards recognise top solicitors

A trailblazing woman lawyer and the lead solicitor in the Cambridge Analytica test case were just two from the list of 23 award winners at the annual Law Society Excellence Awards last night in London.

The Law Society’s Excellence Awards – which attracted more than 1,000 guests – are the most prestigious awards for solicitors in England and Wales with professionals and their firms recognised across a range of categories covering all areas of legal practice and business.

President of the Law Society of England and Wales Christina Blacklaws said: “Every year law firms and solicitors from every corner of England and Wales support their clients through major life events or particularly trying times.

“This year we received a record number of nominations, which highlighted the exceptional dedication, thoughtfulness and skill solicitors bring to their job on a daily basis.”

Janet Legrand QC (Hon), the first female senior partner and global co-chair at international law firm DLA Piper, won the award for Woman Lawyer of the Year for her pioneering work in promoting the role of women in the legal profession.

She said: “I’m delighted to have received this award this year, at a time when Christina’s presidency of the Law Society is focusing on women in leadership in the law. This is a particularly important topic to me, having been the first woman senior partner and global co-chair at DLA Piper.

“Women now make up over half of the profession and the profession’s commitment to diversity and inclusion needs to result in their advancement to leadership positions in law firms becoming a normal career path, not an exceptional one.”

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.

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 when fighting for the principles that he and his clients believe in mark him out as a worthy winner of this award, however the award should stand as recognition of the integral role that lawyers have played – and will continue to play – in the fight for data rights. They become questions that are as fundamental to us as any other human right.”

Taking home the major firm awards, Manchester 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).

Legal Twitter personality and author the Secret Barrister won the Law Society Gazette award for Legal Personality of the Year.

A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to former civil service commissioner, Dame Janet Gaymer DBE QC (Hon), the first woman to be a senior partner at a top 20 law firm.

Notes to editors

List of winners:

  • Solicitor of the Year (In-house) – Ben Foat, Post Office
  • Solicitor of the Year (Private Practice) – Simon Moore, Stephenson 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)

A full list of winners and highly commended is available.

Photos from the awards are available for download for use, please credit the Law Society: Flickr gallery

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Law Society Press Office | 020 7320 5764 | 020 3189 1880