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Categories and criteria

Team awards

Individual awards

Team awards

Excellence in Business Development

The business environment and client expectations are constantly evolving. Law firms are finding new and innovative ways to secure new business and deliver legal services. Our judges are looking for examples of business development initiatives that challenge convention and create greater added value.

Excellence in Client Service

Sponsored by First Title Insurance

This award celebrates commitment and service in client care. Your entry should describe your client service model, including how and when it was implemented, how performance is measured and how successes and lessons learned are communicated. Your application must be accompanied by evidence of the quality and consistency of your approach. If you place a strong emphasis on client care and want to demonstrate your commitment to continued excellence in client service, then this is your opportunity to receive the recognition you deserve.

*Your firm must be regulated by the SRA.

Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion

Open to firms that have embraced the Law Society's Diversity and Inclusion Charter, this award is designed to showcase successful and innovative examples of best practice in the promotion of diversity, inclusion and social mobility. We are looking for evidence of organisational commitment to diversity and inclusion policies which are being put into action for employees or clients with measurable results. These might include innovative approaches to the recruitment, retention and promotion of a diverse and flexible workforce, or the creation and delivery of value-added services to meet the needs of diverse clients.

Excellence In-house

Sponsored by Thomson Reuters

This award celebrates excellence and outstanding achievement by an in-house team. In-house teams are required to exhibit a unique blend of legal and other skills such as leadership or innovation. We are looking for a team who can provide evidence of how they have applied these skills to the benefit of both the legal function and the overall organisation.

*Open to all in-house legal departments.

Excellence in International Legal Services

This award will recognise law firms with an innovative approach to the delivery of legal services in today's international marketplace. Whether exploring emerging markets or developing international networks to build your business, we want to hear how you are embracing the opportunities globalisation offers to your firm and clients.

*Your firm must be regulated by the SRA or your firm must be a member of the Law Society's International Division. Membership of the International Division is open to foreign law firms. Find out more

Excellence in Learning and Development

Following the removal of mandatory CPD hours it is more important than ever that firms continue to invest in their employees' learning and development. Our judges are looking for a clear link between your learning and development initiative and how this has enhanced your business, whether through improved service, staff development, increased efficiency or profitability, or higher rates of retention. Your entry will need to describe the development needs that the learning programme addressed, the rationale underpinning its conception and subsequent delivery, and the measurements that show how your approach was effective.

Excellence in Marketing and Communications

Solicitors are becoming adept marketers, finding innovative ways to communicate with clients, staff and stakeholders. This award celebrates the very best in marketing and communications. The judges will examine your campaign's objectives, messages, channels, creative execution, audience and, crucially, the quantifiable results. This is your opportunity to showcase how your marketing and communications are making a real difference to your organisation.

Excellence in Private Client Practice

Sponsored by Tavistock Investments Plc

This award celebrates excellence and outstanding achievement in private client work. Covering a broad spectrum of work, this category relates to wills, probate, trusts, tax planning, charity, Court of Protection and mental capacity issues. We're looking for exceptional teams or firms, including sole practitioners, who set themselves apart in the private client world. This is your chance to showcase your significant contributions to private client work. The judges will be looking for entries who demonstrate innovative ideas and new techniques, evidence the positive impact the action has had on both a firm and its clients and show an inventive use of qualifications, knowledge and skills.

Excellence in Pro Bono

Sponsored by Three

Whether your pro bono work is for clients in your local community or NGOs through a global partnership, we are looking for examples of innovation and best practice by solicitors providing pro bono legal work. Please focus on one project, which your solicitors have engaged in over the previous 12 months, that you feel demonstrates excellence in pro bono. The judges will give particular credit to work having a strategic impact in a community and/or the overall engagement of the organisation providing the pro bono work.

*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. Find out more about the Charter and how to join.

Excellence in Technology and Innovation

Sponsored by LEAP

Law firms are increasingly making use of technology to improve their efficiency and deliver legal services in new innovative ways. This award celebrates the innovative marriage of technology and law in the provision of online legal services for clients. Alongside innovation and client service, the judges will be looking for online legal services that promote access to justice and are accessible to all, secure, data protection compliant (GDPR) and open the provision of legal services to clients including individuals and SMEs for whom such services may have been previously unaffordable.

Law Firm of the Year - Small - New

This award celebrates your firm's success over the last year, whether from stand-out events or overall performance. Your entry should demonstrate what sets you apart from other small firms. This may be through: professional excellence, staff engagement and development, business improvement, client and work winning or other initiatives which demonstrate your excellence. Our judges are looking to see the progress and improvement of your firm over the last year together with details of your exceptional impact to make you stand out against other small firms.

*Open to firms with 2-4 partners. 'Partners' covers equity and non-equity – anyone classed as a partner within the firm.

Law Firm of the Year - Medium - New

This award celebrates the success of your firm over the last year, whether from highlight events or overall performance. Your entry should demonstrate what sets you apart from other medium sized firms. This may be through: professional excellence, staff engagement and development, business improvement, client and work winning; other initiatives which demonstrate your excellence. Our judges are looking to see the progress and improvement of your firm over the last year together with details of your exceptional impact.

*Open to firms with 5-20 partners. 'Partners' covers equity and non-equity – anyone classed as a partner within the firm.

Law Firm of the Year - Large - New

Sponsored by Accuity

This award celebrates the success of your firm over the last year, whether from highlight events or overall performance. Your entry should demonstrate excellence in legal services which set you apart from other large firms. This may be through: professional excellence, staff engagement and development, business improvement, client and work winning or other initiatives which demonstrate the excellence of your firm. Our judges are looking to see the progress and improvement of your firm over the last year together with details of your exceptional impact.

*Open to firms with 21+ partners. 'Partners' covers equity and non-equity – anyone classed as a partner within the firm.

Individual awards

Gazette Legal Personality of the Year

Sponsored by Wesleyan Bank

Entries to this category will be selected by the Law Society Gazette. Find out more information and how to enter. 

Human Rights Lawyer of the Year

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 either through long-term activity or from a single outstanding case.

*Open to all solicitors practicing in human rights.

Junior Lawyer of the Year

We're looking for demonstrable evidence of an individual who has an exceptional standard of work as well as great dedication in their role as a junior lawyer. They will be excelling in their role rather than just doing a good job or making a significant contribution to voluntary or pro-bono schemes rather than simply assisting. The winner of this award will be raising their own profile or their team's/firm's and bring insight, flair, imagination and hard work to everything they do.

*Open to LPC students, LPC graduates (for example those working as a paralegal), trainee solicitors and solicitors up to five years qualified. If the nominee is a solicitor, they will be eligible to enter this category if they are qualified five years or less as of 1 March 2018 (the month nominations open). LPC students and LPC graduates who are shortlisted may be asked to provide confirmation of their LPC attainment.

Solicitor Advocate of the Year

Sponsored by Solicitors' Association of Higher Courts Advocates (SAHCA)

This award celebrates excellence and outstanding achievement in advocacy that individual solicitor advocates make to their practice, client work and the wider community. We’re looking for exceptional solicitors who can demonstrate a significant contribution in their advocacy work, a positive impact on the image of solicitor advocacy, and strong practical advocacy skills.

*Open to all practicing solicitors undertaking advocacy.

Excellence in Practice Management - New

Sponsored by Leap

This award celebrates excellence and outstanding achievement in practice management. 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 individuals who help their firm to: drive excellence in business management, focus on continuous improvement, demonstrate sound financial planning and risk management principles, encourage technological innovation around data and cyber challenges as well as innovative learning and development strategies, creative approaches to future-proofing and collaborative working to reduce the regulatory burden.

Solicitor of the Year - In-house

Sponsored by Hiscox

This award celebrates excellence and outstanding achievement by an individual 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 can provide evidence of how they have applied these skills innovatively to the benefit of both the legal function and the overall organisation.

*Open to all solicitors working in-house.

Solicitor of the Year - Private Practice

This award recognises an outstanding contribution made by a solicitor in private practice. The winner is someone in a legal practice who is seen by colleagues as going 'that extra mile'. This maybe in the context of work they are doing in a particular subject area or case. Or they may have proposed and implemented business solutions which have proved beneficial in securing outstanding results for their firm and clients. Whether working in the corporate world or with private clients the winner of this award brings professionalism and commitment to all that they do.

*Open to all solicitors working in private practice.

Sole Practitioner of the Year - New

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 collaborative working to reduce the regulatory burden.

Woman Lawyer of the Year

In 2017, women solicitors represented more than half the profession, however still too few women reach senior level positions. In addition to achieving professional excellence in her field at senior level, we're looking to recognise a woman solicitor who has achieved significant results either in her business or for the benefit of society through her legal skills. This individual will have opened doors historically closed to women and will be inspiring and influencing others to pursue a career in law.

*Open to solicitors who identify as a woman.