Categories

Choose from 20 categories, including eight awards that recognise outstanding individuals. Whether you have a high-achieving business development strategy you want to shout about or have made strides in your diversity and inclusion work, with so many categories to choose from, there’s a place for everyone to shine.

Team awards

Access to justice is a fundamental right and legal aid performs a crucial role in providing fair and equal access to those most at risk of being excluded from our legal system.

Many people are finding it more difficult to access legal representation because of the growing gaps in the provision of services, so this award celebrates the teams, firms and organisations of legal aid providers and others who go above and beyond to combat this issue.

Examples could include:

  • using technology to improve access to justice
  • innovative approaches to casework and service delivery
  • bringing test cases
  • delivering new services in advice deserts
  • developing business models to provide effective and affordable services to those who need but cannot afford legal advice and representation
  • finding novel ways of promoting access to justice in your community
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • a proactive approach to tackling access to justice issues
  • identifying needs and demonstrating benefits to clients
  • a sustainable service model

*Your firm or organisation must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or operate under an SRA waiver

This award is designed to showcase successful and innovative examples of the promotion of diversity, inclusion and social mobility.

The judges are looking for evidence of organisational commitment to policies which have been put into action for partners, employees or clients, and which demonstrate measurable results.

Initiatives could include:

  • recruitment, retention and promotion of a flexible workforce to ensure a modern, diverse and inclusive profession
  • evaluating staff data in order to drive change
  • reviewing equality pay gaps
  • inclusive leadership at all levels
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • innovative examples of best practice
  • demonstrated organisational commitment to inclusion and diversity policies and practices
  • measurable results

In today’s international marketplace, many firms are delivering legal services across the world. This award recognises law firms with an innovative approach to the delivery of legal services.

Our judges want to hear how you are embracing the opportunities globalisation offers to your firm and clients.

Initiatives could include:

  • exploring emerging markets
  • developing international networks to build business
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • innovative approach to the delivery of legal services globally
  • measurable results

*Your firm must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

Law firms often operate in a highly competitive and volatile business environment, which creates risks but also huge opportunities to thrive and develop. We are looking for firms that:

  • drive excellence in business management
  • demonstrate excellence in client care
  • focus on continuous improvement
  • demonstrate sound financial planning and risk management principles
  • encourage technological innovation around data and cyber challenges
  • develop innovative learning and development strategies
  • future proof and work collaboratively to reduce the regulatory burden
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • innovative solutions to dealing with a specific issue
  • practice excellence in systems and procedures
  • continuous improvement in performance

*Your firm must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

Many solicitors are becoming talented marketers, finding innovative ways to communicate with clients, staff and stakeholders.

The judges are looking for creative campaigns with clear objectives, messaging, channels, execution, audience understanding and, crucially, the quantifiable results.

Initiatives could include:

  • building digital presence to drive new business opportunities and retain existing clients
  • having a strategic approach to sponsorship to positively impact clients, reputation, business and staff
  • using existing channels and opportunities to maximise client and prospect engagement and sales opportunities
  • identifying opportunities in new sectors or practice areas using thought leadership, white papers or other cross promotional tools

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • creative and inspiring campaign
  • identification of clear and, preferably, SMART campaign objectives
  • outlines campaign elements of key messages, how they were conveyed, through what channels and to whom
  • quantifiable results – such as return on investment (ROI), response rates, etc.

Whether your pro bono work is for clients in your local community or NGOs through either a domestic or global partnership, the judges are looking for examples of innovation and best practice.

Credit will be given to work having a strategic impact in a community and/or the overall engagement of the organisation.

Initiatives could include:

  • improving access to justice for vulnerable parts of the community
  • responding with efficiency and agility to deliver services in urgent or unforeseen circumstances
  • providing support to an NGO that allows it to achieve its goals, domestically or internationally
  • partnering with community organisations to provide targeted legal assistance where it is needed
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • need
    • response to a genuine need
    • developing business and people
  • impact
    • on the business
    • on the client/community
    • on the profession
  • innovation
    • creative solutions
    • new partnerships
  • sustainability
    • demonstrate how your project will continue for the duration of a short-term need, or how it will be sustainable to meet a long-term need

*Open to signatories of the Law Society Pro Bono Charter only. Collaborations are welcome, but the lead contact must be from a Charter Signatory firm or in-house team. Firms can join the Pro Bono Charter.

Continuing to uphold the highest standards of professional ethics is ever more important in defining and differentiating the solicitors’ profession, so this award celebrates the teams and firms who demonstrate the greatest commitment to promoting high ethical standards through outstanding initiatives.

Examples could include:

  • innovative use of case studies to promote deeper discussion and consideration of ethics
  • exploration of ethics through film or live drama
  • use of interactive technologies which place the user at the centre of an ethical dilemma
  • partnerships with universities or centres of ethical excellence
  • successful panel discussions, or guest speaker events
  • evidence of ethics training for fee-earners and staff
  • insights and thought pieces on ethics

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • initiatives that provoke discussion and consideration of ethics that go beyond adherence to rules, sometimes tackling issues which may be uncomfortable for the profession
  • initiatives that embed an ethical culture within the firm, one in which solicitors and staff feel empowered to raise concerns
  • a willingness to acknowledge mistakes internally and learn from them, and also to learn from the firm’s own data

Law firms and in-house teams use information technology to cut costs, improve services, enhance the working environment, and improve access to justice for vulnerable groups.

Pandemic lockdowns have led to innovations in the way client services are delivered with many examples of the way in which technology has overcome distance and improved traditional delivery models.

Further innovation can be expected from firms and teams that continue to embrace technology as formerly novel ways of working become the norm in legal services delivery.

The judges are looking for legal innovations that can demonstrate convincingly that they have benefited staff, improved efficiency, and helped clients through novel forms of collaboration and communication.

Of particular interest will be those innovations which demonstrate the most potential for producing lasting change(s) to the way in which legal services are delivered.

Initiatives could include:

  • help for law firms or teams in adapting new technologies and preparing their deployment, including effective risk mitigation and data protection and cyber awareness training
  • innovation enabling more effective remote collaboration between colleagues
  • innovation for more effective virtual and/or digital communication with clients
  • workflow management and process automation
  • regulatory and case laws analytics
  • mentoring for law tech start-ups or gear-ups through own firm activity, incubators or provision of other law tech ecosystem support

As appropriate, the judges will want to see evidence of:

  • innovative linking of technology and law
  • effective changes to law firm operations, with particular attention to staff training and ongoing development
  • improvement in services to client or for previously under-represented users of legal services

The rule of law underpins the functioning of our society, and our trust in each other – we all agree to follow the laws that apply to us all clearly, equally and fairly.

Lawyers have a crucial role to play in upholding and safeguarding these principles, ensuring that laws are followed by everybody, regardless of position, power or status, and holding those who do not to account via our independent judiciary in the courts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the challenges and importance of upholding the rule of law during emergencies: public trust is vital in to provide a coordinated and effective response.

Lawyers provide a collective effort in serving this purpose, and this award celebrates those who have gone above and beyond in upholding the rule of law during the most challenging of times.

Initiatives could include:

  • exceptional efforts to selflessly uphold the rule of law
  • publicly demonstrating the importance of the rule of law
  • bringing test cases on a pro-bono basis to uphold values such as transparent law-making
  • serving the collective purpose of upholding the rule of law to ensure everybody is able to access justice, especially in challenging situations requiring tenacity
  • bringing landmark cases to court and successfully seeing a change in the law as a result

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • an outstanding achievement in upholding the rule of law
  • examples of how the team/firm has gone ‘above and beyond’ the ordinarily high professional standards expected of them, such as a high level of perseverance shown in challenging circumstances
  • a commitment to a collective, professional purpose of upholding the rule of law
  • impact achieved as a result, for example, on wider society or the profession

In-house teams are required to exhibit a unique blend of legal and other skills such as leadership or innovation. These skills benefit both the legal function and the overall organisation.

The judges are looking for an excellent in-house team or an outstanding achievement by an in-house team. 

Initiatives could include:

  • restructuring departmental work streams and client interface to achieve better outcomes
  • performing complex legal transactions and designing innovative internal training
  • improving efficiency and innovative partnering with external legal providers or the business itself
  • creating or assisting in innovations to give the organisation a competitive advantage such as helping them reach new customers or new markets faster and at lower cost
  • managing risk across the organisation and assisting in developing new products and strategic thinking
  • using legal and business knowledge to resolve an issue or problem in a crisis
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • initiatives that have had a positive impact on both the legal function and the wider business or objectives of the organisation
  • an innovative solution to dealing with a specific issue
  • demonstrating and contributing to the impact of the organisation

This award celebrates your success over the last year, whether from highlight events or overall performance.

The judges are looking for what sets you apart from other medium sized firms. They want to see the progress and improvement of your firm together with details of your exceptional impact.

Initiatives could include:

  • professional excellence
  • staff engagement and development
  • business improvement
  • client acquisition
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • what sets the firm apart from other medium size firms
  • firm’s progress and improvement
  • firm’s exceptional impact

*Open to firms with five to 29 partners. 'Partners' covers equity and non-equity – anyone classed as a partner within the firm. Your firm must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

This award celebrates your achievements over the last year, whether from stand-out events or overall performance.

The judges are looking for what sets you apart from other small firms. They want to see the progress and improvement of your firm together with details of your exceptional impact.

Initiatives could include:

  • professional excellence
  • staff engagement and development
  • business improvement and diversification
  • client acquisition
  • risk mitigation through crisis
  • process management
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • how the firm differs positively from other small size firms
  • examples of excellent initiatives and/or work and/or performance that demonstrate professional excellence
  • improvement over the last year and its exceptional impact

*Open to firms with two to four partners. 'Partners' covers equity and non-equity – anyone classed as a partner within the firm. Your firm must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Individual awards

Entries to this category will be selected by the senior editorial team of the Law Society Gazette. Entries are sent directly to the Gazette.

This award celebrates excellence and outstanding achievement in human rights.

We are looking for a solicitor whose sheer determination and dedication has made an exceptional contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights. This can be through long-term activity or from a single outstanding case.

Initiatives could include:

  • championing the rights of minorities, vulnerable and marginalised people and communities, and successfully litigating on their behalf
  • representing endangered journalists or human rights activists
  • bringing landmark cases to court and successfully seeing a change in the law as a result
  • successfully challenging decisions by public authorities to secure the rights of vulnerable individuals or communities
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • initiatives that have had a positive impact on the legal profession and significant contribution to promotion of human rights
  • dedication and tenacity against the complexity, risk or challenge of the case/work
  • impact achieved on people and society: for example, lives changed positively as a result of the work carried out

*Open to solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

This award celebrates an exceptional standard of work as well as great dedication to the role of a junior lawyer.

The judges are looking for a lawyer who is excelling in their role or making a significant contribution to voluntary or pro-bono schemes.

The winner will be going beyond what is expected of a junior lawyer and bringing insight, flair, imagination and hard work to everything they do.

Initiatives could include:

  • setting up a new and profitable income stream for the firm or organisation
  • leading in a ground-breaking area of practice
  • leading on a case which has led to a change in the law
  • being considered an expert in your area of practice by fellow professionals
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • significant contribution to legal services through their work as a junior lawyer
  • positive social or commercial impact through their actions
  • creativity and hard work consistently demonstrated

*Open to Legal Practice Course (LPC) students, LPC graduates (for example those working as a paralegal), trainee solicitors and solicitors with up to five years and 364 days' post-qualification experience as of 1 February 2021. LPC students and LPC graduates who are shortlisted may be asked to provide confirmation of their LPC attainment.

This award celebrates excellence and outstanding achievement for sole practitioners.

With regulatory, legislative and financial management challenges we are looking for creative, innovative sole practitioners who stay on top of the ever-changing industry.

We're looking for exceptional solicitors who can demonstrate:

  • creative approaches to running a successful business
  • innovative responses to cybersecurity and data protection issues
  • excellence in client care
  • future-focused thinking and collaboration to reduce the regulatory burden
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • sound business and financial planning
  • innovative business practice
  • building a strong reputational brand
  • a passion for the practice of law

*Open to solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

This award celebrates excellence and outstanding achievement by a solicitor working in an in-house role.

In-house solicitors are required to exhibit a unique blend of skills and we are looking for someone who has applied these skills innovatively to the benefit of both the legal function and the overall organisation.

Initiatives could include:

  • identifying efficient and effective processes to manage your legal team or function
  • delivering initiatives that add value to your organisation
  • leading your team by promoting personal growth, development and wellbeing
  • using your legal knowledge and time, to contribute to your sector or community
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • initiatives that have had a positive impact on both the legal function and the wider activities of the organisation
  • an innovative solution to dealing with a specific issue
  • demonstrating value to the wider organisation

This award recognises an outstanding contribution made by a solicitor in private practice.

The judges will look for someone in a legal practice who goes 'that extra mile'. Whether working in the corporate world or with private clients the winner of this award brings professionalism and commitment to all that they do.

Initiatives could include:

  • work on a particular subject area or case
  • proposing and implementing business solutions to secure outstanding results for their firm and clients
  • challenging the status quo or innovating to accelerate change
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • positive social or commercial impact through their actions
  • significant contribution to legal services through positive impact of their work in private practice 
  • tenacity and creativity in their approach to tackling challenges

*Open to solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

This award celebrates a solicitor achieving professional excellence in her field.

We're looking to recognise a woman solicitor who has achieved significant results in her business or for the benefit of society. The winner will be opening doors historically closed to women and inspiring and influencing others to pursue a career in law.

Initiatives could include:

  • setting up networks to support women in the profession
  • championing sponsorship, mentoring and other programmes promoting progression of women in their careers
  • volunteering for charities and other community groups for the benefit of wider society
  • and more…

The judges want to see evidence of:

  • initiatives that have had a positive impact on both the legal function and the contribution of women in law
  • achieving senior level results either in business or for the benefit of society
  • inspiring and influencing female solicitors to pursue a career in law

This special award recognises a solicitor who has made an effective contribution towards the work of the profession and/or the Law Society.

To be entered for the award, the solicitor must:

  • be a member of the profession and be of impeccable reputation
  • have been in practice for at least two decades
  • have made an effective contribution towards the work of the profession and/or the Law Society
  • have helped to advance the profession
  • have achieved and/or promoted practice excellence

No self-nominations are allowed for this category.

*Open to solicitors regulated by the SRA