The British Legal Awards 2014

The British Legal Awards took place on 27 November 2014 and it was the highlight of the legal calendar. The awards are an annual showcase for the greatest achievements made each year by law firms operating in the United Kingdom. This provides a chance to reward lawyers for their hard work and contribution to the British economy as well as recognition of the innovative and varied work they carry out on a day-to-day basis. 

The winners of the awards reflect the diversity of the legal sector in the UK and prove that the awards really do celebrate the variety of contributions made by British legal teams each year. This year, winners included firms such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Allen & Overy, DLA Piper and Berwin Leighton Paisner. The difference in the size and specialties of the winning firms demonstrated the variety within the legal sector in the UK. 

The awards take place in London, with all of the pomp and circumstance of a major show business awards evening, and host over 1,000 lawyers every single year. The evening begins with a drinks reception, and then everybody sits down at their tables to listen to the welcome speeches by special invited guests. Dinner is served before the winners of the awards are announced and presented with their prizes. There is always an after-party to finish the evening with appropriate celebration. 

There are 27 categories of awards up for grabs each year, and they are chosen as a reflection of the sheer diversity of the work carried out by British lawyers working in law firms and businesses up and down the country. Awards include prizes for the Legal Department of the Year, London Office of the Year, Property Team of the Year and Legal Counsel of the Year. There are also awards designed to encourage development and innovation within the law sector, such as the prize for Best Use of Technology and the top Education and Training Initiative of the Year. 

There were also several awards which seek to recognise the contribution of individuals, like the Assistant Solicitor/Associate of the Year Award. The most prestigious and sought after award of the evening is the City of London Law Society Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognises all the achievements made by one individual across a whole career.

Nick Eastwell, Chief Adviser of City Law Firms, said: “I have been a judge at the prestigious British Legal Awards for a number of years. I am always impressed with the wide range of high-quality entries for each award and the thorough and robust process involved in selecting a worthy winner.”

The 2014 Winners are as follows:

Supplier of the Year 
Thomson Reuters Legal

Best Use of Technology 

European Legal Team of the Year 
Uría Menéndez

Private Client Team of the Year 
Charles Russell Speechlys

Commercial Team of the Year 

TMT Team of the Year 
Simmons & Simmons

Property Team of the Year 
Taylor Wessing

Competition and Regulatory Team of the Year 
Berwin Leighton Paisner

Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year    
Jones Day

Banking, Finance and Restructuring Team of the Year 
Allen & Overy

M&A Team of the Year 
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Assistant/Associate Solicitor/Legal Counsel of the Year 
Gemma Vine, Lester Morrill

Education and Training Initiative of the Year 

Diversity Initiative of the Year 
Aspiring Solicitors

CSR Initiative of the Year
DLA Piper

Law Firm Innovation Award 

In-house Innovation Award 
Bonnington Plastics

Chambers of the Year 
Thirty Nine Essex Street

London Office of the Year 
Latham & Watkins

Offshore Law Firm of the Year
Maples and Calder

UK Law Firm of the Year  

European Law Firm of the Year 

Legal Department of the Year 

General Counsel of the Year 
Craig Stoehr, Thomas Cook  

Client Partner of the Year 
Jonathan Herbst, Norton Rose Fulbright 

Client Partner of the Year 
David Jackson, Shoosmiths

Editor's Award - Law Firm Leader of the Year 
Kevin Gold, Mishcoon 

Law Firm of the Year 

City of London Law Society Lifetime Achievement Award 
Charles Plant