David Lee reports on the ceremony, as one winner reminds the audience they can achieve great things
A lawyer honoured for her lifetime achievement urged her fellow professionals to remember the great things they can achieve at the Scott+Co Scottish Legal Awards 2016.
Anne Dick, pictured inset, who won The Scotsman’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 40 years of excellence and leadership in family law, said: “We can make vengeance become justice, we can make chaos become order and make fear transmute into courage. What we are doing is very, very important.”
She dedicated her award to the whole family law community and said that it had moved very significantly from a discipline that was seen as based largely on emotion to one that now has significant “black letter” law.
The other big winners at the awards ceremony were Harper Macleod, which was named Bank of Scotland Firm of the Year, and Stephen Gibb of Shepherd & Wedderburn, who collected the award for Chief Executive of the Year after successfully guiding the firm through its acquisition of Tods Murray. The firm now has around 500 people in Scotland with turnover expected to exceed £53 million this year. Mr Gibb has been re-elected to serve a second four-year term as chief executive.
Lindsays picked up two awards, for Community Contribution of the Year and Family Law Team of the Year. As well as winning Firm of the Year – recognising another year of strong growth, with profits expected to rise by 14 per cent to more than £9m in the year ending March 2016 – Harper Macleod’s solicitor referral service HM Connect was named Support Team of the Year. Frances Rooney of Harper Macleod was Highly Commended in Rising Star of the Year, but was pipped to the top prize by Jemma Ross of Simpson & Marwick.
The Rising Star of the Year was one of a number of fiercely contested categories in the 13th year of the Scottish Legal Awards, with the judges noting the high standard of entries across the 37 organisations who progressed to the finals.
Welcoming more than 400 guests to the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms, Shonaig Macpherson, chairwoman of the 12-strong judging panel, said: “In chairing the judging panel for the first time I was extremely heartened by the breadth and depth of excellence across so many firms and disciplines, with opportunities for talented lawyers to practice at the highest level of their chosen specialism in Scotland. The volume and quality of the submissions for these awards is a clear signal of the high value that the profession places on them as an aid to building progressive and successful businesses.”
Scullion Law put in a superb entry to win a strong Excellence in Client Care category, with McQueen Legal highly commended in the new category. Anderson Strathern triumphed in the Employer of the Year award, with MacPhee and Partners highly commended.
Skyscanner’s youthful posse picked up the In-House Legal Team of the Year for the second consecutive year, while Mark Harris of Pagan Osborne was the first male winner of Paralegal of the Year.
Blackadders won the Employment Team of the Year, while MBM Commercial picked up the coveted Litigation Team of the Year. There was a raucous cheer when those gallus pioneers at McEwan Fraser Legal won Residential Property Team of the Year for the first time. The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic took away the Pro Bono Award, with DLA Piper highly commended.
John McGovern of MacRoberts won the Lawyer of the Year in absentia; his award was collected by managing partner John Macmillan.
The headline sponsor for the event, Scott+Co, Scotland’s largest collection and enforcement agency, also congratulated the broad range of winners. Partner Joy McLaughlin said: “Judging by the many and detailed entries we received this year, there is rising confidence in the Scottish legal market which continues to report rising fee levels and increasing numbers of staff.
“It is a pleasure to play an important part in rewarding this important sector with an annual awards ceremony which is highly respected by those in the sector and which delivers a welcome confidence boost to individuals, teams and firms.”
The awards ceremony was hosted by BBC Scotland’s Catriona Shearer, , and the evergreen Dougie Vipond. The audience was entertained by “Quantum Magician” Kevin McMahon and a raffle and auction raised more than £10,000 for charity partners It’s Good 2 Give and LawWorks Scotland.