RPC triumphs as Firm of the Year at The Lawyer Awards

RPC took home the top prize at last night’s 20th anniversary edition of The Lawyer Awards, securing Law Firm of the Year for its “trailblazing” success.

Jonathan Watmough
RPC managing partner Jonathan Watmough

Law Firm of the Year, sponsored by the event’s headline sponsor Travelers, is the top award of the night. The firm was recognised for its financial and strategic achievements over the past two years, with investment in talking to clients, nurturing talent and innovating in pricing and service all paying off. 

Meanwhile Jones Day was named International Firm of the Year at the ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, attended by over 1,400 lawyers and hosted by ‘national treasure’ Joanna Lumley.

Judges thought the US firm’s strategy in becoming a truly global outfit had really paid off – particularly in London, now its largest office outside the US. The firm was also recognised for its successful defence for client Texas Keystone in its $1.6bn (£952m) dispute over petroleum fields in Iraqi Kurdistan with Excalibur Ventures, winning Litigation Team of the Year jointly with Memery Crystal for the work.

The inaugural ABS of the Year award went to Schillings, which has reinvented itself since gaining an ABS licence.

Thrings partner John Davies was the second-ever winner of Client  Partner of the Year. Davies has handled the relationship with fuel distributor Watson Petroleum for 13 years, seeing his client through a US acquisition by World Fuel Services earlier this year.

Davies and his firm have now been retained by the global company, with Watson Petroleum managing director Tony Watson praising the partner’s insider knowledge of the business and his ability to bring a considered and independent approach to the company’s decision-making.

Watson said: “He’s viewed as our in-house lawyer and he’s acted as an independent sounding board for my business on a variety of corporate, commercial and, importantly, cultural issues over the past 14 years.”

Other notable award-winners last night included No 5 Chambers, named Chambers of the Year for continuing to lead and innovate despite external commercial pressures. The set has managed to diversify its client base as well as continuing to lead on cases of national importance.

Anneliese Day QC
Barrister of the Year Anneliese Day QC

Rising star Anneliese Day QC of 4 New Square is this year’s Barrister of the Year after winning 10 cases in a row. Judges also commended Day’s commitment to increasing diversity at the bar and championing the cause of senior female lawyers.

Meanwhile Yum! Brands’ director of legal Sarah Nelson-Smith took home the In-house Lawyer of the Year award for an outstanding 12 months which saw her commitment to the business, which runs the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains, pay off with substantial effiency savings.

The awards were held in association with Travelers.

The full list of winners and runners-up:

Finance Team of the Year   

Winner: Shearman & Sterling
Runner-up: Mills & Reeve
Third: Simmons & Simmons

Restructuring Team of the Year         

Winner: Weil, Gotshal & Manges     
Runner-up: Mayer Brown
Third: Hogan Lovells

Competition Team of the Year          

Winner: Shepherd and Wedderburn
Runner-up: King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin
Third: Ashurst

Regulatory Team of the Year 

Winner: Bevan Brittan
Joint runners-up: Eversheds and Osborne Clarke

Corporate Team of the Year  

Winner: Macfarlanes
Runner-up: Slaughter and May
Third: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Employment Team of the Year         

Winner: Unison Legal Services         
Runner-up: Reed Smith
Third: Hogan Lovells

Infrastructure Projects Team of the Year      

Winner: Herbert Smith Freehills
Runner-up: White & Case
Third: Hogan Lovells

Litigation Team of the Year   

Joint winners: Jones Day and Memery Crystal       
Third:  Norton Rose Fulbright

Funds Team of the Year        

Winner: Ashurst       
Runner-up: Lawrence Graham
Third: Osborne Clarke           

Real Estate Team of the Year

Winner: Eversheds    
Runner-up: Irwin Mitchell
Third:  Lawrence Graham           

IP Team of the Year   

Winner: Pinsent Masons
Runner-up: Wragge & Co
Third: Lewis Silkin

Private Wealth Team of the Year       

Winner: Withers
Runner-up: Lawrence Graham          
Third: Burges Salmon

In-house Banking & Financial Services Team of the Year     

Winner: PayPal UK
Runner-up: Oaktree Capital Management (UK)      
Third: Markit 

In-house Commerce & Industry Team of the Year   

Winner: Royal Mail  
Runner-up: GlaxoSmithKline
Third: Screwfix          

In-house Lawyer of the Year 

Winner: Sarah Nelson Smith, Kentucky Fried Chicken & Pizza Hut UK & Ireland
Runner-up: Thomas Brown, PayPal UK     
Third: Nicola Shand, Scotia Gas Networks   

In-house Public Sector Team of the Year      

Winner: Financial Services Compensation Scheme   
Runner-up: Office of Rail Regulation
Third: London borough of Enfield     

In-house TMT Team of the Year

Winner: BT (BT Sport)        
Runner-up: Telefonica UK   
Third:  bwin.party digital entertainment       

In-house Energy & Infrastructure Team of the Year 

Winner: Infinis          
Runner-up: Balfour Beatty   
Third: Shell Upstream International  

Barrister of the Year  

Winner: Anneliese Day QC, 4 New Square  
Runner-up: Nathalie Lieven QC,  Landmark Chambers
Third: Richard Todd QC, 1 Hare Court

Chambers of the year 

Winner: No5 Chambers
Runner-up: Essex Court Chambers
Third: Matrix Chambers

Boutique Firm of the Year – City      

Winner: Edmonds Marshall McMahon       
Runner-up: Candey  
Third: GQ Employment Law

Boutique Firm of the Year – National           

Winner: Zyda Law    
Runner-up: Backhouse Jones Solicitors       
Third: Kempner & Partners   

International Firm of the Year           

Winner: Jones Day  
Runner-up: King & Wood Mallesons
Third: Ropes & Gray

Offshore Firm of the Year     

Winner: Carey Olsen
Runner-up: Mourant Ozannes
Third: Maples and Calder      

Client Partner of the Year

Winner: John Davies, Thrings
Runner-up: Vaqas Farooq, Shoosmiths
Third: Edward Barnett, Allen & Overy

ABS of the Year         

Winner: Schillings     
Runner-up: Richmond Chambers     
Third: Quindell Court            

Ethical Initiative of the Year  

Winner: Kent Law Clinic, University of Kent         
Runner-up: Debevoise & Plimpton
Third: Sidley Austin

Law Firm of the Year 

Winner: RPC
Runner-up: Macfarlanes       
Third: DWF