THE deadline for the Scott+Co Scottish Legal Awards 2014 is exactly a month away – and the sponsors of the programme are hopeful that this year’s entries will again be full of the innovation and creativity shown by previous winners.
“The pressures to create more from less have challenged law firms to be innovative and bold in their approach,” says Joy McLaughlin, director of Scott+Co, which has sponsored the Scottish Legal Awards programme for ten of its 11 years.
“The entries over the last few years have read like a positive mirror to the recession, reflecting a growing flexibility and creativity in the profession. The winners have shown that the legal profession has responded to tough times by creating new products and revolutionising client service.”
In common with previous years, the awards programme has been reviewed and refreshed for 2014. This year, three new categories have been added: The Pro Bono Award, Solicitor Advocate of the Year and the Community Contribution Award.
Pro Bono Award
The Pro Bono Award, created with the support of LawWorks Scotland and The Law Society of Scotland President, Bruce Beveridge, reflects the increasing significance and variety of pro bono legal work in Scotland. The award will be presented to an individual or organisation considered to have improved access to justice to through the substantial provision of pro bono services.
Jane Hay, Director of LawWorks Scotland, says: “It’s fantastic news to have a ProBono category in the awards and to celebrate practitioners who have improved access to justice in a significant way. ProBono work is delivered in a variety of ways, whether by an individual lawyer, firm or in house team, so it is open to a very wide range of people. There is a bit of momentum for pro bono in the legal profession just now, helped by the establishment of LawWorks Scotland, and The Legal Awards will hopefully raise the profile of ProBono even further.”
Solicitor Advocate of the Year
The Solicitor Advocate of the Year will go to an outstanding court performer who can show the unique blend of skills required to succeed in the field – including excellent communication, strong presentation of evidence and witness management.
The Community Contribution Award will recognise the work of a firm to raise funds for charity or equally contribute time or skills to the community by way of a socially-driven corporate social responsibility programme.
The Scott+Co Scottish Legal Awards have become the annual celebration for the industry – as the first legal awards programme in Scotland to be created, the longevity of the awards testify to their importance.
The new awards join popular annual prizes for both individuals – including Paralegal of the Year, Rising Star and Specialist Lawyer, along with the big awards for Managing Partner/Chairman and Lifetime Achievement – and teams, with Energy, Employment, Family Law, Litigation, Private Client and Residential Property among the categories returning in 2014.
There is also the fiercely-fought Innovation Award, plus Support Team of the Year, Trainee Employer of the Year and In House Legal Team of the year.
Joy McLaughlin says those who have emerged intact, and enhanced, from the tough times have done Scotland and its legal profession proud: “What doesn’t finish you off makes you stronger, or so the survivors say. As the economic indicators start to head northwards and that strange elusive thing, confidence, begins to walk the land again, there is time to reflect that some good can come from recessions.”
McLaughlin is confident that the legal profession in Scotland will be at the heart of the economic recovery: “The legal profession in Scotland has a world-class reputation, with brand values which will help it to weather the structural challenges of globalism and technological change. For while recessions come and go, business challenges go on for ever.
“Scott+Co wants to help celebrate the companies, the teams and the individuals that have helped to keep the Scottish legal profession strong enough to tackle whatever the future might bring.”
• For further information, visit www.thelegalawards.com or contact KDMedia on 0131-337 6232. The deadline for entries is 28 November 2013.