Freshfields stole the show, scooping Law Firm of the Year and Litigation 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.
Additionally, the firm has been involved in most of the years 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 firms achievements in the sphere of corporate social responsibility.
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 Americas Harvard law school.
Barrister of the Year was taken by Mark Howard QC of Brick Court Chambers for work including successfully defending Royal Sun Alliance against an insurance case brought by General Motors, acting as the counsel to Freshfields partner Barry OBrien on his disciplinary tribunal following Philip Greens failed takeover of Marks & Spencer.
Howard also won cases including for British Energy against Ampere and Credit Suisse in the High Court in a dispute over the financing of the Eggborough power plant and defending Goldman Sachs in the Court of Appeal against IFE Fund in a battle over a loan.
Management Team of the Year was won by Tycos 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.