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Well-deserved gongs for solicitors making a difference in challenging times

Solicitors and firms who have made an outstanding contribution during the Covid-19 pandemic were among 26 winners at the annual Law Society Excellence Awards, which were held virtually for the first time.

Excellence was recognised across a range of categories covering all areas of legal practice and business at the most prestigious awards ceremony for solicitors in England and Wales.

Given the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s Excellence Awards took place as a series of online ceremonies, held from 13-15 October.

President of the Law Society of England and Wales David Greene said: “In an extremely challenging year, it is more important than ever to recognise the hard work, skill and dedication of solicitors in England and Wales, to champion the rule of law and to defend the right to justice for all.

“At a time when lawyers come under attack for simply doing their job, we must never forget the immense contribution solicitors make to society.

“Congratulations to all those who have won and been shortlisted.”

This year we presented three special awards for outstanding contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elizabeth Rimmer ensured that LawCare was able to provide adequate resources to members of the profession during these unprecedented times, while Jelena Madir, excelled at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance – an institution which has played a key role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK Collaborative Plan for Pro Bono is made up of 60+ law firms who, building on their expertise of previous crises and the importance of working together, shared information and reduced demands on those at the forefront of the pandemic legal need.

Polly Sweeney, of Rook Irwin Sweeney (RIS), won the Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year. She was recognised for her high-profile campaigning role in litigation to maintain the educational rights of children with special educational needs.

Our Lifetime Achievement Award went to Naomi Angell, of Osbornes Law, who has had an incredibly successful and influential career spanning almost 50 years. Throughout her career, she has shown true dedication to improving the law as it relates to children and families.

Refinitiv’s Vivienne Artz took the Woman Solicitor of the Year gong for her tireless effort in supporting equality, diversity and inclusion, and for continuously pushing for change within her industry.

Our Large Law Firm of the Year award (21+partners) went to Duncan Lewis Solicitors, who impressed the judges with their ability to make a significant difference to their clients. Collins Solicitors scooped the medium firm gong (5-20 partners), while Emmersons Solicitors took home the small firm award (2-4 partners).

Notes to editors

List of winners:

  • Excellence in Business Development – DAC Beachcroft
  • Excellence in Client Service – JD Spicer Zeb
  • Excellence in Technology and Innovation – DAC Beachcroft
  • Excellence in Marketing and Communications – Rayden Solicitors
  • Excellence in Learning and Development – King & Spalding LLP
  • Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion – Clifford Chance
  • Woman Solicitor of the Year - Vivienne Artz, Refinitiv
  • The Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year – Polly Sweeney, RIS Law
  • Excellence in Access to Justice – Child Poverty Action Group
  • Excellence in Pro Bono – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Human Rights Solicitor of the Year – Matthew Evans, The AIRE Centre
  • Large Law Firm of the Year – Duncan Lewis Solicitors
  • Excellence in International Legal Services – LCN Legal
  • Excellence In-house – Cornerstone
  • Solicitor of the Year – In-house – Wayne Spillett, Vodafone Group
  • Junior Lawyer of the Year in memory of Aya Hachem – Sengova Kailondo, Hogan Lovells
  • Sole Practitioner of the Year – Tom Bohills, Chronos Law
  • Practice Manager of the Year – Steve Bradley, Greenhalgh Kerr
  • Small Law Firm of the Year – Emmersons Solicitors
  • Excellence in Private Client Practice – Shoosmiths LLP
  • Solicitor of the Year – Private Practice – Chloe Jay, Shentons Solicitors & Mediators
  • Medium Law Firm of the Year – Collins Solicitors
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Naomi Angell, Osbornes Law
  • Outstanding Contribution during Covid – Elizabeth Rimmer, LawCare
  • Outstanding Contribution during Covid – Jelena Madir, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
  • Outstanding Contribution during Covid – UK Collaborative Plan for Pro Bono

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: Nick Mayo | nick.mayo@lawsociety.org.uk | 020 8049 4100

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