In the 11 years the awards have been run, this is the highest entry, says David Lee
THE finalists in the 2014 Scott+Co Scottish Legal Awards are unveiled today – with 33 firms making the shortlist across a range of categories.
A total of 61 entries have made the shortlist in a year which has attracted the highest number of applications in the 11-year history of the awards, reflecting a growing confidence in the profession after an extremely challenging period.
The most popular category is Litigation Team of the Year, with ACH Shoosmiths, Allan McDougall, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP, Livingstone Brown Solicitors, Mackinnons, Morisons LLP and Simpson & Marwick vying for the top prize.
Residential Property Team of the Year is another hard-fought category, with Simpson & Marwick again on the shortlist, along with Blair Cadell, Harper Macleod LLP, McEwan Fraser Legal and McQueen Legal.
The prestigious DX Firm of the Year Award is a three-way fight between three of those firms – Harper Macleod LLP, Simpson & Marwick and McEwan Fraser.
There is fierce competition in some of the individual categories too, especially Rising Star of the Year and Specialist Lawyer of the Year, while new team awards for Community Contribution and Pro Bono have also proved popular, with five and three firms progressing to the finals in those categories.
The decisions on the winners have been agreed by a 12-strong judging panel chaired by Margo Macdonald MSP, with Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, acting as vice-chair.
A spokesman for the judging panel says it has been a tremendous year, with a wide range of finalists from across the legal landscape – from small firms to some of the biggest names, including Dundas & Wilson and Shepherd & Wedderburn.
There is no shortlist for two of the most prestigious awards – the Lifetime Achievement Award and Managing Partner of the Year – which will be announced on the night. The black tie awards dinner takes place on Thursday, 20 March, in a new venue – the Assembly Rooms in George Street, Edinburgh. The awards are operated in support of Children 1st and LawWorks Scotland.
Full list of finalists for 2014: Specialist Lawyer of the Year: Lorna Brown, Caritas Legal; Andy Drane, Davidson Chalmers LLP; Stuart Easton, Eastons Private Client Solicitors; Andrew Pollock, Peacock Johnston; Neil Waterman, Watermans Solicitors Rising Star of the Year: Philip Hall, ACH Shoosmiths; Greg Flett, Davidson Chalmers LLP; Laura Sillars, Gildeas Solicitors; Mark Allison, Livingstone Brown; Alexander Lamley, McClure Naismith; Keith Anderson, Morisons LLP; Scott Whyte, Watermans Solicitors Innovation Award: Dundas & Wilson; McEwan Fraser Legal Family Law Team of the Year: Harper Macleod LLP; HBM Sayers Energy Team of the Year: Davidson Chalmers LLP; Gillespie Macandrew LLP Employment Team of the Year: Simpson & Marwick; Thompsons Solicitors Community Contribution: Allan McDougall; Digby Brown LLP; Dundas & Wilson; Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP; MacPhee & Partners; Shepherd and Wedderburn Residential Property Team of the Year: Blair Cadell; Harper Macleod LLP; McEwan Fraser Legal; McQueen Legal; Simpson & Marwick Paralegal of the Year: Anna Dabrowska, Caritas Legal; Kelie Cooper, MacPhee & Partners Private Client Team of the Year: ACH Shoosmiths; Caritas Legal Litigation Team of the Year: ACH Shoosmiths; Allan McDougall; Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP; Livingstone Brown Solicitors; Mackinnons; Morisons LLP; Simpson & Marwick Pro Bono Award: DLA Piper Scotland LLP; Faculty of Advocates; Shepherd and Wedderburn Trainee Employer of the Year: Dundas & Wilson; Watermans Solicitors. In House Legal Team of the Year: City of Edinburgh Council; Life Technologies Limited; Skyscanner Ltd Support Team of the Year: Digital Typeline Publications Ltd; Gildeas Solicitors; HBM Sayers; Scotia Law Training Ltd; The Cashroom Ltd Firm of the Year: Harper Macleod LLP; McEwan Fraser Legal; Simpson & Marwick