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Manchester Legal Awards


Leading lawyers from across Manchester were celebrated at the eighth annual Manchester Legal Awards hosted at The Midland Hotel.The event organised by
Manchester Law Society, saw more than 650 of the region’s legal professionals gather to acknowledge their achievements

Trainee/Paralegal of the Year:
Jonathan Wall of Burton Copeland LLP

Jonathan commented: “I’m obviously delighted to have won this award. It has been a busy year and I’ve worked very hard. I’d like to dedicate this to my wife and children who had to put with me over the last year, to get this far is a wonderful achievement.”

Vladimir Teodosiev of Winscribe said. “It is a pleasure and a privilege to be here at the Manchester Legal Awards and I would like to congratulate Jonathan on his award, along with all of the other winners this evening. As a company we want to empower people with technology and this is also empowerment.

Solicitor of the Year:
Jennifer Maloney of Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Jennifer commented: “It’s an absolute honour to win this award. This is the most prestigious awards ceremony for legal professionals in Manchester so it’s a fantastic recognition from fellow professionals and peers. Through my work I’ve been able to change the law and not many lawyers can say that at such an early
stage in their career. I’m honoured to fly the flag for legal profession in Manchester.”

Michael Niven of Search said: The Manchester Legal Awards is one of the most important and prestigious events in the legal market and Search are proud to be associated with the event. Congratulations to Jennifer on her well deserved award.”

Pro Bono/Community Initiative of the Year:
Highly Commended: Browne Jacobson

Nichola Evans on behalf of Browne Jacobson commented: “We work with students from MMU on a mentoring scheme which has been recognised for the value and reward it offers to students keen to pursue a successful legal career. This is the first pilot scheme so it is very exiting to have won.”

Pro Bono/Community Initiative of the Year:

University of Manchester School of Law Advice Centre

Neil Allen, Senior Lecturer at the School of Law commented: I am very privileged and proud to receive this award on behalf of the University. I’d like to dedicate this award to Diana Crystal as she was ahead of her time It’s a real privilege to work with the students and the support of our volunteer lawyers to be recognised in such a prestigious awards is truly amazing. We are also proud of the Dementia clinic we have set up to enable families to access free legal advice.”

Rebecca Yates of BPP commented: “It is a privilege to be part of the Manchester Legal Awards and the legal community in Manchester and I am particularly
proud to present the Pro Bono Award for the Dementia clinic which provides much needed legal advice and support.”

Law Firm Innovation:
JMW Solicitors LLP

Mark Yaffe of JMW commented “It’s great to win this award for our project. We realised a few months ago that we should connect our two client base - athletes and sports stars with entrepreneurs. Athletes have a huge media profile and entrepreneurs need brand awareness to get their products out there, so by connecting the two we are able to help them out. This award means a huge amount because we are a law firm with a clear vision in mind to help businesses to
grow. I’m glad JMW has supported us and made this reality and this is just the start for us, we already have 60 companies and 150 sports stars across 26 different sports that are talking to each other.”

Emma Seagreaves of MMU said: “We have sponsored the Innovation Award for the past three years, as we feel that we are also innovative in relation to education and our apprenticeships schemes.JMW are deserved winners and would like to congratulate the team.”

Corporate Commercial Team of the Year:
Highly Commended: DWF LLP

Frank Shepherd on behalf of DWF LLP commented: “This is recognition for the team who’s hard work has led us to become top tier in what we do in Manchester. We are different from everyone else because we are focused on the cities where we work. The differentiator for us is the international side of the business.”

Corporate Commercial Team of the Year:
Eversheds Sutherland

Alistair Cree on behalf of Eversheds Sutherland commented: “We won this award last year so I wasn’t expecting this. This year’s award recognises our big push to project manage deals from around the world right here from Manchester. There is a tremendous amount of talent here in Manchester and this shows when we are managing deals taking place across the world right here from the city.”

Ruth Shearn of RMS PR Commented “Manchester Rocks! There really is a huge amount of talent in the city and we are proud to be associated with the Manchester Legal Awards and I would like to congratulate Alistair and the team from Eversheds Sutherland and all of the other winners this evening.”

Crime Team of the Year:
Olliers Solicitors

Matthew Claughton on behalf of Olliers commented: “Of course I am very, very pleased. This is the fourth time in eight years we have won this and it reflects our status in the marketplace and our commitment to our team. In what are challenging times for criminal practitioners, it’s great to be highlighted in these awards.”

Gary Cook of Booth Ainsworth commented: “It really is a pleasure to sponsor the Crime Team Award and you don’t win four times for nothing. These are hard times for criminal lawyers, yet they continue to stick at it and the award for Olliers is well deserved.”

Employment Team of the Year:
Slater and Gordon Lawyers

LLP Sarah Evans on behalf of Slater and Gordon commented: “Wow we are just so pleased and delighted for the team who work long hours and work hard everyday which makes a real difference to our clients. This is a team award and I look forward to celebrating with the team. To have been shortlisted and to win is a huge deal for us and we’re delighted.

“Catherine Boyle of Bygott Biggs commented: “We are thrilled to sponsor this award and to be able to see the hard work and effort of Slater and Gordon. This really is a wonderful evening and a great venue.

Litigation Team of the Year: Hill Dickinson

Geraldine Ryan on behalf of Hill Dickinson commented: “We have entered this Award several times before and been unsuccessful, but we have continued to work hard to become a serious litigation contender in Manchester. Last year we moved up to Legal 500 Tier 1 and that was a big deal for us, but winning this Award has been the icing on the cake. To get this in our city and to be recognised amongst the top tier is a huge deal for us. Hill Dickinson marks 20 years in Manchester and this is a fantastic achievement and we are delighted.’

Robert Parry of RSM UK said: “I am delighted for Geraldine and the team at Hill Dickinson. The Award is well derved. Once again we are happy to be sponsors at the Manchester Legal Awards and to be involved in the celebration of excellence in the city.”

Family Team of the Year: Irwin Mitchell LLP

Ros Bever on behalf of Irwin Mitchell commented: “I’m absolutely delighted to accept this Award. It’s fabulous that we can show that we can bring groundbreaking cases to the North West. I think we have demonstrated that we can do that, we have more high profile cases on the way and illustrates that Manchester has the solicitors, experts and counsel that can compete against the Magic Circle firms in London and that’s massively important.”

Steve Bailie of Lextox commented: “We work nationwide on a whole range of family cases and so we are very proud to sponsor the Family Award here tonight. My congratulations to Ros and the team at Irwin Mitchell.”

PI/Clinical Negligence Team of the Year:
Hilary Meredith Solicitors Ltd

Clare Stevens on behalf of Hilary Meredith commented: “It’s been a landmark year for the firm which has been involved in three parliamentary enquires. We are very much involved in improving the welfare and safety of service men and women and this is a great recognition of the work we do with military and service personnel.”

Mike Knight of Arag commented “Manchester has a vibrant legal community and we support many firms in this area. Manchester will be key within the Northern
Powerhouse and we are proud to be associated with the Manchester Legal Awards. Congratulations to Clare.”

Private Client Team of the Year:
Highly Commended: Kuits Solicitors

Graham Wood on behalf of Kuits commented: “ This is the first time we have entered the Awards, so I am very pleased. It’s a good recognition for our team and
what they have done over the last few years. It’s also a fantastic recognition of the work we do which is putting Manchester on the map.”

Private Client Team of the Year:
Hugh Jones Solicitors

Elizabeth Hughes on behalf of Hugh Jones commented: “I am delighted with this. This is fantastic recognition of the work we do in Court of Protection for clients with limited capacity. It is such a niche practice area and we are delighted to be recognised for this work.’”

Tracy Blencowe of Eclipse commented” “We are great advocates and supporters of firms in the North West and I would like to congratulate Elizabeth and the team from Hugh Jones. Eclipse systems are highly adaptable and can be tailored to the needs of the individual firm, however niche it may be. A great event and a great evening.”

Property Team of the Year: DAC Beachcroft LLP

Nick Molloy on behalf of DAC Beachcroft commented: “We are ecstatic to win. Historically the firm hasn’t been considered a ‘property’ one but we have invested a lot of time and energy into creating a property team since we merged. We have developed a successful team and this is recognition of that team and the work we have done, which has included working for local authorities in Cumbria on the development of nuclear power stations. This award is the ‘crown’ on this progress.

Simon Hewitt of First Title commented: “The Manchester Legal Awards is a great event and one that is a celebration of the Manchester legal community. We are very proud to be associated with such a prestigious event and offer our congratulations to everyone involved.”

Regulatory Team of the Year: Weightmans LLP

Michelle Garlick on behalf of Weightmans commented: “We are delighted and really surprised. Three years ago we were disappointed when we didn’t get this but we came back fighting and it’s paid off.

We have really worked to develop this service. This is an area that is constantly changing and we really have to be on the ball so that we can offer the best service to our clients.”

Ste Pritchard of Matrix 247 commented: One of the largest issues facing law firms is the threat of cyber breaches and we are getting involved in cyber security
events to advise law firms on how to manage risk. My congratulations to Michelle and the team at Weightmans.”

Barrister of the Year:
Kate Blackwell Q.C. of Lincoln House Chambers

Kate Blackwell QC commented: “This is fabulous, I am very pleased for Chambers but especially for women in our sector. I was delighted to see that the shortlist were all women and this really is a step in the right direction. More women are coming to the Bar now which is very good news. I think women can give so much to the profession, they have a sense of empathy that really shines through particularly in sensitive cases. This is a first for Lincoln House Chambers and I am so delighted.”

Anthony Rollason of Landmark commented “A massive congratulations to Kate and Lincoln House Chambers. The Manchester Legal Awards is a great celebration of the legal talent in Manchester and Landmark are happy to be associated with it.”

Barristers’ Chambers of the Year: Deans
Court Chambers

Craig Sephton QC , Head of Chambers commented: “We are delighted and grateful to the Manchester Law Society for this award. It’s a splendid occasion and a tribute to our selection procedures. Over the years we have consistently produced great barristers and completely managed our loyal staff and clerks to get the best results. They make me proud to lead the chambers.”

Jon Hainey, President of Manchester Law Society commented: “This was a particularly competitive category which made the judging process all the more difficult. I think this illustrates the quality of barristers and cases they are involved in. My congratulations to Deans Court Chambers.

Partner of the Year:
Tom Bridgford, Eversheds Sutherland

Tom Bridgford of Eversheds Sutherland commented: “I am very pleased. We’ve had a lot of growth recently - 15 per cent for the past 3 years. We have recruited a brilliant team and we are supported by great management who have been incredibly supportive and helped us build an incredibly great team that is consistently
attracting international clients.”

Joanne MeLeod of the Law Society commented: “Congratulations to Tom for his fantastic acheivement winning this award. The competition in this category was particularly strong as is the overall quality of entries for the whole evening.”

Small Law Firm of the Year: Hall Brown Family Law

James Brown of Hall Brown commented: “I am thrilled. I have just celebrated my 40th birthday and this is the best present I could have asked for. We only set up 10 months ago so we are obviously delighted. I think that Manchester Law Society has always encouraged entrepreneurship and it’s great that the ‘newbie’ has won. This gives a really positive message to other new firms who may be considering entering the awards in 2018.”

Stuart Cartwright of Lawshare commented: “Lawshare are delighted to sponsor the Manchester Legal Awards, and the Small Law Firm Award in particular, as we work with many small firms in the North West. I am happy to present this award to James, which is highly deserved and James and I have been colleagues.”

Medium Law Firm of the Year:
Roberts Jackson Solicitors

Karen Jackson on behalf of Roberts Jackson commented: “I am very shocked to win this Award. I am also humbled as there were some strong businesses in this category. For the past twelve months our focus has been about driving change and digital enablement. The firm now has a clear vision and strategy and we are leading and driving change in the work that our team does. This award is not about me but it’s about the disease victims we represent.”

Martin Jackson of MFL Professional commented: “We are always delighted to be involved in the Manchester Legal Awards, it is one of the highlights in the profession’s social calendar. Congratulations to Karen and the team at Roberts Jackson.”

Large Law Firm of the Year: Shoosmiths

Vaqas Farooq commented: “This is brilliant for the office and comes at such an important time for us as we move to the XYZ building. It’s the pinnacle of our
journey in Manchester. We have been in the city for seven years and this is a climax for a long journey so it’s amazing. It’s also good recognition of what the office has achieved in the last three years of our growth. We are a valued led business and that has allowed us to grow organically very quickly.”

Edward Smethurst of Palladium Associates commented: “I am delighted to present this award to Shoosmiths. The Manchester Legal Awards is a great event and we are happy to be sponsors of the
Large Law Firm award.”

For all enquiries regarding sponorship and details of further events, please contact:
Mrs Fran Eccles-Bech - Chief Executive
Manchester Law Society,, 64 Bridge Street,
Manchester, M3 3BN.
DX 14378 Manchester 1
General Office: 0161 831 7337
Direct Line: 0161 241 7470 Mobile: 07977 748450
Web Site: www.manchesterlawsociety.org.uk