Time to hand out overdue bouquets

IT is a measure of how far the legal profession has travelled the road of commercial awareness that The Lawyer, in conjunction with others in the legal marketplace, can organise wide-ranging awards for excellence. Five years ago, such an event would have been unthinkable.

Now, due to the rigours of the recession and an increasingly competitive business environment, commercial realities play a growing part in day-to-day practice.

The Lawyer/HIFAL Awards are aimed at recognising the success that practices and individuals are achieving in this tougher business world. The awards are not judging legal expertise- that is taken for granted. Success will be judged in other ways.

The awards aim to highlight excellence across a wide range of activities within legal practices and public and private sector organisations. It will not be an orgy of self congratulation.

We hope the awards will encourage lawyers to lift their game, by drawing attention to what is being achieved elsewhere in the profession. If a spirit of healthy emulation, not to say competition ensues, so much to the good.

The Lawyer and its co-sponsors believe the awards will demonstrate that the profession sees itself as being no different to other areas of business life. But more importantly they will underpin the messages of quality and customer care that the profession must get across.

The awards have been designed to attract legal practices and departments of all sizes. The smallest firm that that has invested appropriately in IT has a similar chance of winning as a big firm that has spent on a mega system.

The Lawyer and our fellow sponsors urge practitioners to look closely at the array of awards listed on page 11 in relation to their own businesses and then to apply for fuller details and application forms.