Has your law firm entered the British Legal Awards 2015?

December 09, 2019

“The British Legal Awards are the leading awards for the UK's thriving business law community,” says its organisers. “Hosted by Legal Week in association with The City of London Law Society, this glittering awards ceremony is attended by 1,000 lawyers, representing the cream of the UK’s legal community”.

Sounds like quite an evening and fortunately there’s still time to enter your legal firm. Entries close on 4 September and the ceremony will take place on Wednesday 25 November at the wonderful Old Billingsgate Market in East London.

Prize categories

The 27 categories “reflect the variety of work undertaken by business lawyers at law firms and in company legal departments”. Key awards include: Law Firm of the Year; UK Law Firm of the Year; General Counsel of the Year; Editor's Award: Law Firm Leader of the Year; and the Law Firm Innovation Award.

There are eight practice awards linked to M&As, banking, litigation, regulation, property, commercial, TMT and private client, as well as others that “recognise the wider contribution law firms and legal departments make to the community” (eg Diversity Initiative of the Year and CSR Initiative of the Year).

The winners are chosen by an independent panel made up of general counsel and other senior legal community members, chaired by Alasdair Douglas, chair of the City of London Law Society.

All firms/companies that meet the category criteria can enter (one entry per category per law firm/legal department), and for most team awards entries must focus on work carried out on one deal or case since 1 October 2014 (although the deal or case may have started before this date).

Entry tips

To enter the awards, firms must submit a 1,000-word covering statement that must ‘tell a story’ and explain how the category’s specific criteria were met. John Malpas is the publisher of Legal Week. He has produced a list of “six top tips for awards success”. These include being very serious about entering (“Boilerplate entries modeled on directory submissions will simply irritate the judges”), and being selective about categories you enter (the most prestigious awards attract many competitors, when it may be wiser to enter “less mainstream categories”).

Other tips include making sure you fully understand the entrance criteria and address all key points, while taking care to explain what is “unique, unusual or exceptional about your entry”. Malpas also recommends showing how clients have benefitted (“client references in the form of a quote from a general counsel or chief executive are also a common ingredient of successful entries”) and writing in jargon-free plain English.

And the winner is…

In 2014, Brodies was awarded the much-coveted title of UK Law Firm of the Year, while Macfarlanes was named Law Firm of the Year (beating Baker & McKenzie, Clyde & Co, Hogan Lovells, Mishcon de Reya and Sullivan & Cromwell).

City law firm RPC won Commercial Team of the Year, and DWF won the ‘Law Firm Innovation’ and ‘Best Use of Technology’ awards (following its £12m investment in the firm’s IT systems), while Law Firm Leader of the Year went to Kevin Gold of Mishcon de Reya. May I wish you the best of luck if you’re planning to enter this year.


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