News In Focus
Winners celebrate on Law Awards night
Thompsons, Harper Macleod and Watermans were among those with most reason to celebrate last night as the three firms shared the top prizes at the Law Awards of Scotland 2013.
For the first time there was a joint winner of the Law Firm of the Year title in the over 40 fee earners category, with Thompsons and Harper Macleod sharing the accolade. Watermans took the prize for firms of up to 40 fee earners.
All three were making return trips to the stage, in Glasgow's Radisson Hotel, as Thompsons also took the Employment Firm of the Year award while partner Brenda Mitchell, founder of the campaign for a strict liability law in favour of cyclists and pedestrians, was named Solicitor of the Year; Harper Macleod's Lorne Crerar and Martin Darroch received the Managing Partner/Team of the Year trophy; and Edinburgh-based Watermans were chosen as Up and Coming Law Firm of the Year.
Practice area winners also included Aberdeen's Patience & Buchan (Family Law), Allan McDougall of Edinburgh (Litigation), McQueen Legal, also of Edinburgh (Property), Caritas Legal Ltd from Dunfermline (Private Client) – and Capital Defence Lawyers (Criminal Law), whose partner John Scott QC was also named Criminal Lawyer of the Year. Meanwhile Thorley Stephenson (Edinburgh) came out as High Street Firm of the Year, and Vanessa Ingram of VI Pensions Law Ltd in Glasgow was awarded Sole Practitioner of the Year.
Standard Life took In-house Lawyer/Team of the Year, Gildeas (Glasgow and Edinburgh) were chosen for Support Team of the Year, and national firm Irwin Mitchell took the award for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Individual titles also went to Emma Horne of Morisons (Up and Coming Lawyer of the Year), Waqqas Ashraf of Paisley's McCusker McElroy & Gallanagh (Trainee of the Year), and Jaclyn Wilson of Wheatley Group and Glasgow Housing Association (Paralegal of the Year).
Additional special recognition awards were made this year, the 10th in the event's history, with Claire Mitchell, criminal defence and human rights advocate, Steven Raeburn, until recently editor of The Firm magazine, and Colin Anderson, formerly of the In-house Lawyers Group and Standard Life legal department, all receiving trophies for their contributions over the decade. Legal Personailty of the Year was given to Bruce McKain, former law correspondent of the Herald and recently retired director of public affairs at the Faculty of Advocates; and Ros McInnes, chair of the six-strong panel of judges, selected Glasgow-headquartered firm Inksters for this year's Chairman's Award.
That left the Lifetime Achievement Award, which in the year of his retirement was presented (in absentia) to Lord Hope of Craighead. Comedian Des Clarke, who kept the 300 or so attendees well entertained over the evening, read out his message of thanks.