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Digby Brown top firm again at Scottish Legal Awards

22 March 2019

Personal injury specialist practice Digby Brown was named Firm of the Year at the 2019 Scottish Legal Awards last night, at an event where many legal firms of different sizes shared in the honours.

Digby Brown, which also took the title in 2018 and 2015, was chosen ahead of finalists Dentons, MBM Commercial, Shepherd & Wedderburn and Thompsons with the judging panel praising the firm’s continued success and impressive results. And the firm was one of two joint winners – along with Scullion Law of Hamilton – of the Community Contribution Award, on a night when the judges decided the high overall standard of entries deserved recognition.

Also celebrating was Dundee-headquartered Blackadders, from which Johnston Clark collected the awards for Managing Partner of the Year for delivering a three-year growth strategy for the firm, and for Employment Team of the Year. Glasgow-based Livingstone Brown also scored a double success, taking the Family Law team of the Year and Criminal Defence Firm of the Year titles.

Lawyer of the Year was Jill Sinclair, for making a "significant impact" as head of counter fraud for Scotland at DWF in the three years since her team was set up. Other individual titles went to Jamie Apted of MBM Commercial as Rising Star of the Year – in which Harper Macleod's Amy Mackenzie and Watermans' Shawn Wood were both highly commended; Fiona Anderson of MacPhee & Partners, Fort William as Paralegal of the Year; and the joint winners of In-house Lawyer of the Year, Maree Allison from the Scottish Social Services Council (public sector) and Kenny Robertson from Royal Bank of Scotland (commercial sector.

Royal Bank also took the Commercial In-house Team of the Year award (Edrington was highly commended), while City of Edinburgh Council claimed Public Sector In-house Team of the Year.

Further practice sector team awards went to Shepherd & Wedderburn (Corporate and Commercial), CMS (Commercial Property), Coulters (Residential Property) and Allan McDougall (Litigation, in which Shoosmiths were highly commended). Support Team of the Year, for the second year running, went to Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre, while DWF claimed the Legal Technology Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by The Times, was presented by Scottish editor Magnus Llewellin to Professor Lorne Crerar, chairman and co-founding partner of Harper Macleod for his 30 year career at the forefront of Scottish law. Accepting the award, Professor Crerar said: "I am truly honoured to receive this award and would like to thank the judging panel for deeming me worthy of joining such an esteemed list of recipients. It has been my good fortune to find a career that I love and through which I have had so many opportunities open before me. I have also been very fortunate to work with great clients and many brilliant colleagues in law, in sport and in all my other roles without whom any achievements of mine could not have been realised. To this day I am as passionate about Scots law and the Scottish legal profession as ever and on evenings such as this see every reason why it will have a very bright future."

Shonaig Macpherson, chair of the judghing panel, commented: "The Scottish legal system is one of the best in the world. We have outstanding lawyers, innovative businesses and very many successful firms. The Scottish Legal Awards serve as an annual reminder of the achievements of the year for all of the finalists. We are delighted to be highlighting the excellence that occurs every day. I extend my congratulations to all the finalists and winners and encourage them to take time to celebrate their achievements."

Around 520 guests celebrated at the 16th annual ceremony, following a record high volume of entries in the competition’s history. Charities benefiting from the awards are It’s Good 2 Give and LawScot Foundation.

Click here for the full list of winners.

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