Assistant Solicitor of the Year

Tom Cassels, Baker & McKenzie

2nd place: Michael Young, Richards Butler
3rd place: Lucy McCullagh, White & Case
Shortlisted: Mark Cranwell, Coudert Brothers; Rosali Pretorius, Denton Wilde Sapte; Alethea Siow, Dechert
The winner of the Assistant Solicitor of the Year Award, sponsored by deaconwinehouse, is Tom Cassels of Baker & McKenzie, a rising star in commercial litigation and public law.
Cassels played a pivotal role in the team led by partner David Fraser which triumphed on behalf of Camelot against the National Lottery Commission. Not only was he instrumental in getting Baker & McKenzie instructed by Camelot in the first place, but quick thinking and a cool head allowed him to take on the brunt of one of the highest profile judicial reviews of 2000. He mobilised the team that spent most of the next two days devising Camelot's strategy for its successful challenge – a strategy which required a keen awareness of media as well as legal deadlines. It is this, as well as an all-round commitment to the law in both internal education and pro bono work, that makes him a deserved winner of this award.
In second place is Michael Young of Richards Butler, a two year-qualified lawyer who is mature beyond his experience. He played a key part in a number of major deals last year, notably the Direct Line acquisition of Green Flag Group by way of auction bid. In that deal his commitment was above and beyond the call of duty, working as he did right up to the day before his wedding. He was also involved in the reorganisation of MTV's business interests in Italy and two AIM admissions, which involved client-handling on a senior level. Young has clearly won the respect of clients and peers alike, and his will be a name to watch.
Third place goes to Lucy McCullagh of White & Case, who joined the Moscow office of the firm in October 1998. Having transferred to London in March 2000, she developed a pro bono programme for the London office from scratch. She also became a founding member of an associates' committee, which has instituted a buddy system for new lawyers and the creation of a new associate career development model.