Lawyers toast legal 'oscars'

The second year of The Lawyer/Hifal awards saw an impressive turnout of bow-tied, animated lawyers, all hoping to attract a round of applause at the Dorchester Hotel last Friday night.

The gala event was co-hosted by actress Honor Blackman and barrister Graham Davies who presented London and Manchester firm Leigh Day & Co with the Law Firm of the Year award.

The award was made in recognition of the firm's successful establishment of a niche personal injury, environmental and medical negligence practice in less than a decade.

Doughty Street Chambers again won the award for Barristers Chambers of the Year.

And national firm Shoosmith & Harrison proved its might, winning both the Client Care Award and the Law Firm Management Award.

City firm Clifford Chance won the award in a new category, Best European Law Firm.

Other winners in new categories were Ipswich Borough Council's legal team for Public Sector Lawyer of the Year and Rank Xerox's legal team, which won the In-House Legal Team of the Year.

Ernst & Young's Victoria Cochrane took the prize for In-House Company Commercial Lawyer of the Year.

The only award voted for across the whole profession was Legal Personality of the Year with Law Society president Martin Mears pipping the Vice-Chancellor Sir Richard Scott and Cherie Booth QC to the post to scoop the accolade.

The Lawyer editor Mary Heaney said: “We set up the awards to celebrate all that is good in the profession.

“As journalists, we appreciate that good news does not always make a good story and that perhaps there should be a forum for recognition when lawyers attempt to stand out from the pack.”