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Dorset Legal Awards Winners Announced!


The inaugural Dorset Legal Awards, hosted at The Bournemouth International Centre, celebrated leading legal professionals, teams and firms across Dorset. The event, organised by specialist legal recruiters ASH Elite and IT consultancy QuoStar, saw more than 300 legal professionals gather to acknowledge the achievements of individuals and law firms across the region. Following a successful launch in May 2017, the Awards received over 200 nominations from across 25 Dorset law firms. An independent judging panel, comprised of legal and business heavyweights, whittled these nominations down to a shortlist of 42 finalists across 14 categories. All shortlisted finalists then met with the judges for face-to-face interviews, after which the winners were selected. Among the sponsors for this prestigious event were Investment management company Charles Stanley, UK Top 20 accountancy practice Saffery Champness and legal financial solutions provider The Iceberg Partnership.

The Winners

• Rising Star of the Year 2018 – Emma Tullis, (pictured right)

Mustoe Shorter Solicitors & Advocates (right)

“I am absolutely thrilled to have won Rising Star of the Year. The Awards ceremony was a great opportunity to celebrate the Dorset legal scene, and I am extremely grateful to Mustoe Shorter for its continued support. I hope the Award is the first of many things to come at this early stage in my career.”

• Lawyer of the Year 2018 – Paul Kanolik, Ellis Jones (pictured right)

“I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have won Dorset Lawyer of the Year, and to be able to share this success with my colleagues at Ellis Jones, who have provided me with tremendous support over the years. There is a wealth of talented lawyers in Dorset and the competition was exceptionally strong. Hats off to the organisers at Ash Elite and QuoStar, and I look forward to another entertaining and enjoyable evening next year!”

• Partner of the Year 2018 – Sam Freeman, Laceys Solicitors (pictured right)

“It was a great honour to win Partner of the Year, however I couldn’t have done it without the support of the team I have around me. Leadership is not always easy, but I believe if you lead by example, retain your integrity and inspire and influence where possible, you allow the team to develop and maximise their potential.”

• Property Team of the Year 2018 – Laceys Solicitors (pictured right)

“Winning the Property Team of the Year award for us was very special as it recognises the great work our team does, authenticating the service and commitment we endeavour to deliver to all our clients. We also believe in nurturing and developing our talent, and, as a result, we have a great staff retention rate which means our clients can build longstanding relationships not only with the firm but also with the individuals within it.” – John Munro, Head of Property Team

• Family Team of the Year 2018 – Williams Thompson (pictured right)

“We had an amazing time at the first ever Dorset Legal Awards. Winning the Family Law Team Award is a great commendation which reflects our well-regarded reputation as local family law experts. The team at Williams Thompson will continue to build upon our now award-winning family law service and ensure we continue to be one of the best family law departments in Dorset.” - Suzanne Kadziola, Practice Manager and Partner

• Personal Injury/Clinical Negligence Team of the Year 2018 – Dutton Gregory (pictured right)

“We’re delighted that the expertise of our specialists, together with the level of care and personal service we afford to all our clients, has resulted in our Personal Injury / Clinical Negligence Department being recognised by the Dorset Legal Award judges and awarded the title of “Team of the Year.”

• Private Client Team of the Year 2018 – Blanchards Bailey (pictured left)

“Winning Private Client Team of the Year at the Dorset Legal Awards is testament to the dedicated team we have at Blanchards Bailey. This award recognises that we are providing specialist legal advice and service of the highest quality. With such fierce competition in this category, we are thrilled to have come out on top.” – Jerome Dodge, Head of Private Client – Wills and Estate Planning

• Company Commercial Team of the Year 2018 – Laceys Solicitors (pictured left)

“Winning the Corporate and Commercial Team of the Year is recognition of the hard work and commitment of everyone in the team. I believe one of the reasons we won is the way we like to work with our clients to ensure that they achieve their goals while protecting them against risks along the way. It is important to be a key part of our clients’ decision making process so that we can maximise the support and advice we provide. It is about making a difference to the client and delivering it in a way that works for them.” – Sam Freeman, Head of Corporate and Commercial Team

• Dispute Resolution Team of the Year 2018 – Blanchards Bailey (pictured left)

“As a team, we are proud to have won Dispute Resolution Team of the Year at the Dorset Legal Awards. Winning this highly contested award demonstrates the team’s dedication and motivation to exceed expectations, in addition to the specialist litigation knowledge we have and the advice we provide. Blanchards Bailey’s commitment to developing a highly skilled litigation department has enabled us to obtain this recognition.” – Paul Dunlop, Head of Litigation and Disputes

• Law Firm of the Year (up to 10 Partners) 2018 – Farnfields (pictured left)

“The Dorset Legal Awards provided an excellent opportunity to highlight the good work of law firms in Dorset and we are absolutely delighted to have won Law Firm of the Year (up to 10 Partners). We are immensely proud to be winners alongside such well recognised and highly regarded local firms. Our win is testament to the hard work of all of our staff to deliver a fantastic service to our clients.” – Fiona Thomas, Managing Partner

• Contribution to the Community Award 2018 – Kitson & Trotman (pictured left)

“Celebrating and supporting the community in which we live and work is very important to us. To be recognised for something which represents the values we believe in means a great deal to the firm.”

• Engagement with Education Award 2018 – Coles Miller (pictured right)

“We’re very proud to have won the Engagement with Education Award. Coles Miller sponsors Parkstone Grammar School as part of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry Young Chamber programme. It’s a wonderful way to support a local school with such enthusiasm for its students. We’ve also agreed to engage further as Enterprise Advisers as part of the Careers & Enterprise Company, a governmentbacked scheme to support schools further with careers advice for young students.” – Roger Leedham, Managing Partner

• Law Firm of the Year (10+ Partners) 2018 – Ellis Jones (pictured right)

“We‘re all so proud to have been crowned as the first ever Dorset law firm of the Year as it reflects our core values of working together and providing mutual support. It was great that so many of the firms were there on the night to celebrate the success as it was a real team effort. We’d also like to congratulate the sponsors for organising such a successful and well supported event.” – Nigel Smith, Managing Partner

• Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 – Nigel Smith, Ellis Jones (pictured right)

“I was surprised but delighted to be announced as the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. As I said on the evening, whilst it is an honour to have been recognised for the 32 years that I have been practising in the law locally, I have no plans to retire yet and hope that I have much more to offer and achieve going forward.”