High calibre entries at Scottish Legal Awards

Lorna Jack took over from Margo Macdonald, pictured, as chair of the judging panel. Picture: TSPL
Lorna Jack took over from Margo Macdonald, pictured, as chair of the judging panel. Picture: TSPL
Have your say

Legal awards have now been decided and will be public in January, says David Lee

IT MIGHT not have had the glamour of the judges’ houses in The X Factor, but the adjudication of this year’s Scott+Co Scottish Legal Awards was carried out with equal drama and secrecy.

Twelve good men and true (actually eight women and four men) gathered in a locked room at the Hilton Grosvenor in Edinburgh’s West End to select the cream of the legal crop.

The number of entries was on a par with last year’s record high, with a total of 70 nominations – but they were drawn from a wider range of firms and organisations, up from 36 last year to 42. This doesn’t include the Managing Partner/Chairman of the Year and The Scotsman Lifetime Achievement Award, which are decided without formal nomination by the judging panel.

“We were delighted to get a wider range of entries from across the profession and beyond,” said Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland and chair of the judging panel.

Jack was in the chair for the first time, taking over from the long-serving Margo Macdonald – and was keen to honour the memory of the late MSP.

“Margo was always scrupulous in the way she ran judging day – but she would always inject a big dose of humour,” Jack said. “And she only became truly exasperated by poor grammar or entries that failed to follow the very clear guidelines. I hope Margo was looking down and laughing with us and not at us – and approving of how we went about our business.”

Despite a small number of entries which would have displeased Margo by failing to follow the brief, the overall quality of entries was of a very high standard, according to Joy McLaughlin, a member of the judging panel and partner in main sponsor of the awards, Scott+Co.

“There is real talent and creativity out there in the Scottish legal profession, which was displayed across a wide range of categories,” said McLaughlin.

“We selected some very worthy winners and all the judges look forward to recognising the achievements of all those winners at the ceremony next March.”

New judges on the panel this year include Paul McCluskey, head of professional practices at Bank of Scotland, which sponsors the Managing Partner/Chairman of the Year Award; and Christine McLintock, vice president of the Law Society, sponsor of the ever-popular Rising Star of the Year.

The winners will be revealed at a gala awards dinner at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh on 26 March, 2015, with four firms competing for the top prize of DX Firm of the Year. The most hotly contested category this year was Litigation Team of the Year, with nine entries.

The shortlist of finalists will be revealed in these pages in January.

The full list of categories considered by the judges was: Badenoch & Clark Employment Team of the Year; Wolffe Community Contribution Award; Family Law Team of the Year; Tilney Bestinvest Litigation Team of the Year; Paralegal of the Year; Private Client Team of the Year; Pro Bono Award; National Association of Estate Agents Residential Property Team of the Year; The Law Society of Scotland Rising Star of the Year; Specialist Lawyer of the Year; Support Team of the Year; Public Sector Law Team of the Year; Barbri International In House Legal Team of the Year; Employer of the Year; Barr Printers Training Provider of the Year; The Scotsman Lifetime Achievement; Bank of Scotland Chairman/Managing Partner of the Year; DX Firm of the Year.

To book a table for the Awards, go to http://kdmedia.co.uk/legalawards/book/

Coming up in 2015: Copyright & Cultural Heritage 2.0: 2 February; Is Scotland Ready For Fracking?: 10 February; Life Sciences: The Manufacturing Potential: 24 February; A Digital Land Information Database For Scotland: 10 March.

For full details visit www.scotsmanconferences.com