The Gold Middle winners

And the winner is…former Taylor Wessing managing partner Michael Frawley, a lawyer who not only successfully managed to make his escape from the City a few years back but has now just scooped his dream job as head of a Kiwi museum where he gets to indulge his passions for photography, trains and planes.

 As one reader posted on, “Sounds a much [more] enjoyable job and life than leading a major law firm. Makes me jealous.”

Meanwhile Frawley’s successor, Tim Eyles, is still celebrating picking up The Lawyer’s Law Firm of the Year award at last week’s glittering Grosvenor House bash.

But not only that. As this week’s main feature details, Eyles’ firm is now officially one of a new breed of mid-market superstars where the profits are high, the work is quality and the lawyers are all supermodels. Probably.

We believe they’re all members of an emerging Gold Middle (presumably somewhere beneath the Magic and Silver Circles but definitely above the Bronze Ring). Let’s not pretend that Olswang, RPC, Bird & Bird and Osborne Clarke are immune to the market pressures. They’re not. But equally all of these firms have responded to the challenges rampaging through the UK market with overseas growth, a supremely sharp sector focus and the energetic pursuit of premium service delivery.

Just like an awards shortlist, they’re all winners.

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