Lord Falconer presented Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with the coveted Law Firm of the Year prize at The Lawyer Awards, which took place at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel last night (24 June 2008).
Freshfields stole the show, scooping Law Firm of the Year and Competition Team of the Year while Lewis Silkin won Employment Team of the Year for defending Freshfields in its age discrimination case against former partner Peter Bloxham.
The awards mark an astonishing comeback for the magic circle firm after a year of turmoil. The firm revolutionised its partnership with a major restructuring that has been validated by exceptional financial results (The Lawyer, 2 June 2008).
Additionally, the firm has been involved in most of the year’s key deals including advising Northern Rock on the pre-nationalisation takeover battle and advising the Bank of England on its £50bn liquidity support programme. Star hires included Mike Goetz and Maurice Allen from White & Case.
The award was also in recognition of the firm’s achievements in the sphere of corporate responsibility (4 February 2008).
Stephenson Harwood took second place for its success in building a City-beating AIM practice as well as growth in commercial litigation and real estate, while Nabarro came third for high profile client wins and strong financial growth on the back of its successful rebranding.
In-House Lawyer of the Year was won by Trevor Faure, Europe, Middle East and Africa general counsel at Tyco.
Since Faure joined Tyco from computer giant Dell in September 2004, he has recruited a whole new legal team, overseen a three-way split of the company and invented a new in-house methodology designed to eliminate tension between in-house and outside counsel - a methodology being scrutinised by America’s Harvard law school.
Management Team of the Year was won by Tyco’s main law firm, Eversheds. Chief executive David Gray and chairman Alan Jenkins are responsible for initiatives including having introduced a yellow and red card scheme to spur partners into better lockup, while international integration officer Stephen Hopkins and senior associate Diana Newcombe helped introduce the Global Account Management System (GAMS) management software, giving in-house counsel greater control over costs.
For the international firms of the year click here, for barrister and chambers of the year click here, for the real estate winners click here and for the Editor's Award for Outstanding Achievement click here.