SHINING lights of Scotland’s legal sector get their rewards for excellence in their many and varied fields, says David Lee
One of the architects of Scotland’s ground-breaking legislation for adults with incapacity has been honoured for his work by his peers at the Scott+Co Scottish Legal Awards.
Adrian Ward was given a standing ovation by a sell-out audience at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh when he was presented with The Scotsman Lifetime Achievement Award. The other big prizes went to Bill Drummond of Brodies (Bank of Scotland Managing Partner of the Year) and Harper Macleod (DX Firm of the Year).
Ward, an MBE and senior partner at T C Young Solicitors, has worked as a lawyer for 50 years and was one of the masterminds behind the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act of 2000. The Act safeguarded the welfare of adults who lack capacity for making their own healthcare decisions and Ward has become an expert in the field, regularly writing, lecturing and speaking on the subject.
He was once described, in a court judgement, as “the acknowledged master of this subject, the person who has done more than any other to advance this area of law”.
Ward accepted the award modestly, saying many others deserved credit, and then praised the legal profession in Scotland – both for its economic contribution (of around £1 billion a year) and for its rarely-heralded role in upholding the rule of law. Ward said he had seen many places around the world where the rule of law had broken down and said Scotland should never take for granted the significance of the legal system as the bedrock of freedom and democracy. “I’ve seen what happens when rule of law breaks down. Lawyers day by day assert people’s rights and freedoms,” he said.
The DX Firm of the Year award went to Harper Macleod, which faced up to the challenges of 2013 and emerged with an increase in turnover of 9.5 per cent and a profit rise of 21 per cent, based on targeted growth in key sectors. Harper Macleod was also named Family Law Firm of the Year.
The other double winner at the ceremony was Simpson Marwick, which picked up both the Badenoch & Clark Employment Team of the Year and the National Association of Estate Agents Residential Property Team of the Year.
Some of Scotland’s biggest firms also picked up awards, with Shepherd+Wedderburn winning in the Pro Bono category and Dundas & Wilson taking the Trainee Employer of the Year prize. This will be D&W’s last legal award before it merges with CMS Cameron Mackenna on 1 May.
Another firm involved in a recent Scottish merger, Shoosmiths (previously ACH Shoosmiths after taking over Archibald Campbell and Harley), took the Private Client Team of the Year award. Other sector awards went to Gillespie Macandrew (Energy Team of the Year) and Irwin Mitchell Scotland (Litigation Team of the Year). Digby Brown won the Community Contribution prize after a year in which the firm raised over £100,000 for charities.
Individual achievement was also recognised with the Law Society of Scotland Rising Star of the Year award presented to the highly talented Alexander Lambley of McClure Naismith.
Energy specialist Andy Drane from last year’s firm of the year, Davidson Chalmers, collected the Specialist Lawyer award for his work in renewable energy, while Anna Dabrowska of Caritas Legal won Paralegal of the Year. The Millar & Bryce Innovation award saw tough competition, with McEwan Fraser Legal winning for their patent pending technology to help the conveyancing system.
The Cashroom Ltd, which offers outsourced finance and payroll service, picked up the Support Team of the Year award.
The awards were hosted by BBC Scotland presenter Catriona Shearer and Forth One DJ, actor and presenter Grant Stott, and the after-dinner entertainment was provided by young comedian Ivo Graham.
• The Scottish Legal Awards are operated by KDMedia PR and Events and have raised over £110,000 for charity, with Children 1st and Law Works Scotland as this year’s recipients of funds raised.
Winner - Andy Drane, Davidson Chalmers LLP; Highly Commended - Lorna Brown, Caritas Legal
sponsored by The Law Society of Scotland
Alexander Lamley, McClure Naismith
sponsored by Millar & Bryce
McEwan Fraser Legal
Family Law Team
Harper Macleod LLP
sponsored by Wolffe
Gillespie Macandrew LLP
sponsored by Badenoch & Clark
Simpson & Marwick
Digby Brown LLP
Residential Property Team
the National Association of Estate Agents
Simpson & Marwick
Winner - Anna Dabrowska, Caritas Legal; Highly Commended - Kelie Cooper, MacPhee & Partners
Private Client Team
sponsored by Hotel Missoni
Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP
Pro Bono Award
Winner - Shepherd and Wedderburn;
Highly Commended - Faculty of Advocates
sponsored by Barr Printers
Dundas & Wilson
In House Legal Team
City of Edinburgh Council
sponsored by Cameron Presentations
Winner - The Cashroom Ltd;
Highly Commended – HBM Sayers