NOMINATIONS FOR THE SLS LEGAL AWARDS 2024 ARE NOW OPEN!

Now in its sixth year, the SLS Legal Awards programme continues to showcase the phenomenal work of Surrey Law Society members.   The Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner promises an unforgettable celebration of Surrey’s legal excellence. Beyond recognising our accomplished award winners, the evening offers a fantastic opportunity for members to connect, network, and enjoy the excellent entertainment.

The event isn’t just about accolades however; it also facilitates the Society’s commitment to community and funds raised during the event will support the President’s chosen charity, Cancer Research UK.

We encourage all SLS members to nominate for an Award and join us for an evening of celebration where we recognise the very best of Surrey’s legal talent.

AWARD CATEGORIES

The categories for the 2024 SLS Legal Awards are:

  • Law Firm of the Year (20 Fee Earners and Over)
  • Law Firm of the Year (Under 20 Fee Earners)
  • Lawyer of the Year
  • Client Experience Award
  • Employer of the Year
  • Equality and Diversity Champion of the Year
  • Family Law Team of the Year
  • Junior Lawyer of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Private Client Team of the Year
  • Property Law Team of the Year
  • Support Team Member of the Year
  • Team of the Year
  • Access to the Profession Award

2024 AWARD CRITERIA

  • Law Firm of the Year (20 Fee Earners and Over)

    Why does your firm stand out? This award should demonstrate your winning formula and highlight significant progress in the last 12 months. Judges seek evidence of excellence, including:

    • Reputation and Public Profile: Showcase notable achievements, cases, and industry impact.
    • Holistic Legal Services Approach: Outline a comprehensive strategy covering client relations, innovation, and community engagement.
    • Exemplary Client Care: Provide testimonials and strategies for client satisfaction.
    • Diversity and Inclusion Commitment: Showcase initiatives and achievements promoting diversity and inclusion.
    • Effective Management and Staff Performance: Demonstrate management's role in achieving outstanding results and provide evidence of staff achievements.
    • Strong Staff Engagement and Training: Outline staff engagement and innovative training programmes.
    • Exemplary Teamwork: Provide examples of successful collaboration.
    • Engaging CSR Programmes: Showcase projects with a positive impact on the community and environment.
    • Culture of Innovation: Highlight how your firm embraces technology and innovation.
    • Deep Expertise in Practice Areas: Showcase specialised knowledge and achievements.

    Nominee firms should demonstrate a clear vision for their business. Evidence may include testimonials, accreditations, awards, and shared results.

    This category is open to firms who are within the membership categories 5 and 6 only.

  • Law Firm of the Year (Under 20 Fee Earners)

    Why does your smaller firm stand out? This award showcases your winning formula and highlights significant progress in the last 12 months. Judges seek evidence of excellence, including:

    • Distinctive Reputation and Profile: Showcase achievements, cases, and impact on a smaller scale.
    • Comprehensive Legal Services Approach: Outline a strategy covering client relations, innovation, and community engagement.
    • Exceptional Client Care: Provide testimonials and strategies demonstrating personalised client satisfaction.
    • Diversity and Inclusion Commitment: Showcase initiatives and achievements promoting diversity and inclusion.
    • Effective Management and Staff Performance: Demonstrate management's role in achieving outstanding results for your team; provide evidence of staff achievements and impact.
    • Engaged Staff and Training: Outline staff engagement and any unique training programmes.
    • Collaborative Teamwork: Provide examples of successful collaboration
    • Impactful CSR Programmes: Showcase community and environmental initiatives with a meaningful impact considering your firm's size.
    • Innovation: Highlight how your firm innovates within the market.
    • Expertise in Niche Practice Areas: Showcase specialised knowledge and achievements, emphasising the uniqueness of your firm.

    Nominee firms should demonstrate a clear vision for their smaller business. Evidence may include testimonials, accreditations, awards, and shared results.

    This category is open to firms who are within the membership categories 1-4 only.

  • Lawyer of the Year

    This prestigious award recognises a lawyer who excels in professional practice and community impact. Judges seek candidates who demonstrate qualities such as:

    • Client-Centric Excellence: Genuine client interest and evidence of going the extra mile.
    • Colleague Inspiration: Positive impact on colleagues with support and mentorship.
    • Community Commitment: Active engagement in CSR and community improvement.
    • Exceptional Performance: Goes "above and beyond" in client care and satisfaction.
    • Continuous Growth: Demonstrates commitment to personal and professional development.
    • Team Leadership: Strong leadership and teamwork skills for exceptional results.
    • Empathy and Respect: Displays empathy and professional respect in all interactions.
    • Effective Management: Evidence of strategic decision-making and organisational impact.

    Entrants are assessed holistically for excellence in client care, CSR, development, teamwork, leadership, empathy, and respect.

  • Client Experience Award

    Client Experience holds significant importance in the legal profession, serving as a crucial differentiator in winning and retaining both private and commercial clients. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in delivering a client-centric approach, creating positive and memorable experiences, and ensuring client satisfaction that goes beyond.

    Nominees should exemplify excellence in criteria such as the following:

    • Client-Centric Approach: Tailored strategies to address individual client needs.
    • Communication and Transparency: Clear and open communication channels and transparent fee structures.
    • Accessibility and Responsiveness: Timely and accessible legal professionals.
    • Innovative Technology and Processes: Use of technology for enhanced client experience.
    • Continuous Improvement and Feedback: Responsive to client feedback for continuous improvement.
    • Ethical and Professional Conduct: Adherence to high ethical standards and professionalism.
    • Client Retention and Referrals: High client retention and positive referrals.
    • Community Engagement and Social Responsibility: Involvement in community initiatives and/or pro bono work.
    • Innovative Client Events and Services: Creative events or services enhancing client experience.

    Applicants are encouraged to provide evidence showcasing their commitment to these criteria, and the judging panel will assess nominations based on their exceptional contributions to delivering a superior client experience.

  • Employer of the Year

    This important award offers an exceptional opportunity for public recognition within the region as a distinguished employer of choice, acknowledged for fostering an environment where individuals aspire to work. The judging panel will be evaluating evidence demonstrating your commitment to cultivating an outstanding workplace and ensuring high levels of employee engagement, they expect to see clear policies, commitments and best practice in:

    • Positive Culture: Showcase initiatives that contribute to a supportive and positive workplace culture.
    • Leadership Excellence: Demonstrate strong leadership marked by trust, empowerment, and engagement at all levels.
    • Employee Growth and Recognition: Highlight practices that challenge employees, fostering growth, and emphasise recognition and rewards.
    • Fair Treatment: Illustrate employee sentiments regarding fairness and equitable treatment.
    • Comprehensive Benefits: Showcase a package of employee benefits promoting overall wellbeing.
    • Training and Development: Outline strategies for employee training and development.
    • Wellbeing Focus: Highlight policies emphasising the organisation's commitment to employee wellbeing.

    Applicants are encouraged to provide concrete examples, measurable outcomes, and testimonials that illustrate the impact of their initiatives on the workplace and employees' experiences.

  • Equality and Diversity Champion of the Year

    This distinguished award acknowledges an individual, team, or firm that has made a substantial and lasting contribution to advancing diversity within the legal profession over the past three years. The focus is on highlighting exemplary leadership and best practices demonstrated through the tangible impact of their efforts. Open to individuals, teams, or firms, this category seeks nominees who have excelled in fostering diversity and inclusion.

    Key Evaluation Points include:

    • Leadership in Diversity: Demonstrate leadership in advancing diversity and inclusion.
    • Impactful Practices: Provide evidence of innovative and impactful diversity initiatives.
    • Measurable Impact: Showcase measurable outcomes and meaningful impact.
    • Future Vision: Outline a clear vision for future diversity and inclusion efforts.
    • Collaborative Efforts: Showcase any collaboration with stakeholders for diversity promotion.

    Applicants should present a concise narrative supported by data and testimonials, emphasising sustained commitment, innovation, and results.

  • Family Law Team of the Year

    The Family Law Team of the Year Award recognises a team that has significantly contributed to the field of family law through their exceptional practice. The winning team must showcase excellence in family law services, and the judging panel will evaluate key areas including the following:

    • Outstanding Legal Services: Demonstrate an exceptional quality of legal services for clients, supported by testimonials and evidence of going above and beyond.
    • Teamwork Excellence: Highlight excellent teamwork within the family law team and across the firm. Identify the most crucial factor contributing to the team's success.
    • Collaborative Approach: Showcase a collaborative approach with external lawyers and/or other professionals in the field.
    • Innovation Commitment: Demonstrate a commitment to innovation in the practice of family law, either within the firm or contributing to sector-wide advancements.
    • Success in Complex Cases: Provide evidence of success in handling a particularly complex case with significant outcomes. Explain the major impact on both the team and the client.

    Nominations will be accepted from a team of solicitors or a group of legal professionals acting within the practice of family law.

    Applicants are encouraged to present a compelling narrative, including specific case examples, testimonials, and collaborative efforts that highlight their team's outstanding contributions to the field of family law.

  • Junior Lawyer of the Year

    This award celebrates an exceptional standard of work and great dedication to the role of a junior lawyer. The judges are looking for a lawyer who is excelling in their role or making a significant contribution to voluntary or pro-bono schemes.

    The winner will be going beyond what is expected of a junior lawyer and bringing insight, flair, imagination and hard work to everything they do. Initiatives may include:

    • Establishing Profitable Streams: Setting up new and profitable income streams for the firm or organisation.
    • Groundbreaking Practice Leadership: Leading in a groundbreaking area of legal practice.
    • Impactful Legal Advocacy: Leading on a case that has resulted in a change in the law.
    • Recognised Expertise: Being considered an expert in their practice area by fellow professionals.

    The judges will seek evidence of:

    • Legal Service Contribution: A significant contribution to legal services demonstrated through their work as a junior lawyer.
    • Social or Commercial Impact: Positive impact, either socially or commercially, resulting from their actions.
    • Creativity and Hard Work: Consistent demonstration of creativity and hard work in their role.

    Definition of Junior Lawyer: The Law Society defines a junior lawyer as solicitor apprentices, LPC students, LPC graduates (including those working as paralegals), trainee solicitors, and solicitors with up to five years of post-qualification experience.

    Applicants are encouraged to provide compelling examples and testimonials showcasing their contributions and impact.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award

    The Lifetime Achievement Award honours an individual who, in the Judges' perspective, has made an extraordinary contribution to enhancing the reputation of solicitors throughout their distinguished career in Surrey. While entries may encompass a range of criteria, candidates for this award embody the highest standards of integrity within the legal profession.

    Key Criteria include:

    • Collegial Respect: The nominee should command the ultimate respect of their colleagues within the legal community.
    • Client Dedication: Demonstrated absolute dedication to clients throughout their career, reflecting a commitment to the highest level of service.
    • Leadership Excellence: The nominee should be a recognised leader in their area of legal practice, setting a standard for professional excellence.
    • Mentorship Legacy: A demonstrable record of being a mentor to colleagues, sharing knowledge and guidance with those they have worked alongside.
    • Commitment to the Rule of Law: An unwavering commitment to upholding and promoting the Rule of Law throughout their career.
    • Consummate Professionalism: Exemplify the qualities of a consummate professional, maintaining the highest ethical standards and conduct.
    • Standing Out: The nominee should stand out from the crowd, demonstrating uniqueness and distinction in their contributions to the legal profession.

    Nominees for this prestigious award are expected to have left an indelible mark on the legal landscape, serving as a beacon of excellence, integrity, and leadership throughout their illustrious career.

  • Private Client Team of the Year

    The Private Client Team of the Year award acknowledges the top private client teams in the county, recognising excellence in private client practice. The judging panel will evaluate teams based on the following key criteria:

    • Outstanding Legal Services: Demonstrate an exceptional quality of legal services for clients, supported by testimonials and evidence of going above and beyond expectations.
    • Teamwork Excellence: Showcase excellent teamwork within the private client team and across the firm. Identify the most crucial factor contributing to the team's success.
    • Collaborative Approach: Highlight a collaborative approach with external lawyers and/or other professionals in the private client sector.
    • Innovation Commitment: Demonstrate a commitment to innovation in the practice of private client law, either within the firm or contributing to sector-wide advancements.
    • Success in Complex Cases: Provide evidence of success in handling a particularly complex case with significant outcomes. Explain the major impact on both the team and the client.

    Nominations are accepted from a team of solicitors or a group of legal professionals actively practising within the private client law domain.

    Applicants are encouraged to present a compelling narrative, including specific case examples, testimonials, and collaborative efforts that highlight their team's outstanding contributions to the field of private client law.

  • Property Law Team of the Year

    The Property Law Team of the Year award recognises the top property law/conveyancing teams in the county, showcasing excellence in property law practice. The judging panel will evaluate teams based on the following key criteria:

    • Outstanding Legal Services: Demonstrate an exceptional quality of legal services for clients, supported by testimonials and evidence of going the extra mile in service delivery.
    • Teamwork Excellence: Showcase excellent teamwork within the property law/conveyancing team and across the firm. Isolate the most crucial factor that has contributed to the team's success over the qualifying period.
    • Collaborative Approach: Highlight a collaborative approach with external lawyers and/or other professionals in the property law sector.
    • Innovation Commitment: Demonstrate a commitment to innovation in the practice of property law, either within the firm or contributing to sector-wide advancements.
    • Success in Complex Cases: Provide evidence of success in handling a particularly complex case with significant outcomes. Explain the major impact on both the team and the client.

    Nominations are accepted from a team of solicitors or a group of legal professionals actively practising within the property law/conveyancing domain. Entries are welcome from both commercial and residential property lawyers and specialists in landlord and tenant matters.

    Applicants are encouraged to present a compelling narrative, including specific case examples, testimonials, and collaborative efforts that highlight their team's outstanding contributions to the field of property law and conveyancing.

  • Support Team Member of the Year

    The Support Team Member of the Year Award invites nominations from colleagues or clients for outstanding paralegals, secretaries, cashiers, apprentices, and other dedicated professionals supporting Surrey Law Society members.

    Key Evaluation Points include:

    • Special Contributions: Nominations should highlight how the support team member has made a distinctive and valuable contribution to their organisation or specific clients.
    • Dedication and Motivation: Emphasise the nominee’s dedication and motivation that goes above and beyond the call of duty, showcasing a commitment to excellence.
    • Efficiency Improvements: The Judges will particularly note activities that have significantly improved the organisation's efficiency, enhancing its reputation, and/or contributing to the positive perception of the legal profession.
    • Reputation Enhancement: Showcase specific examples of how the support team member has contributed to enhancing the organisation's reputation and, by extension, the reputation of the legal profession.

    This award recognises and celebrates the unsung heroes who play a pivotal role in the success of legal practices, acknowledging their dedication, motivation, and the tangible impact they make on organisational efficiency and professional reputation.

  • Team of the Year

    The Team of the Year Award welcomes entries from private practice law firms and in-house legal departments in commerce or public service. Recognising the essential role of great teamwork in modern legal practice, this award seeks to honour teams that demonstrate a culture of collaboration and excellence.

    Key Entry Components include:

    • Team Purpose and Formation: Clearly articulate the purpose behind the team's formation and its overarching objectives.
    • Objective Achievement Strategies: Outline the strategies employed by the team to set and achieve objectives effectively.
    • Team Motivation: Detail how the team is motivated, emphasising key factors that contribute to a positive and high-performance team culture.
    • Highlights from the Last Year: Showcase notable achievements, milestones, or projects from the past year that exemplify the team's excellence.

    Additional Emphasis:

    • Excellence in Service Delivery: Demonstrate how the team, through effective collaboration, has achieved excellence in the delivery of legal services.
    • Community Contribution: Illustrate any significant contributions the team has made to the community, showcasing a commitment to social responsibility.
    • Client Perception of Teamwork: Provide evidence of client perception regarding the team's effectiveness and collaborative efforts.
    • Activities 'Beyond the Call of Duty': Highlight instances where the team has gone above and beyond expectations in fulfilling its responsibilities.

    This award celebrates not only the achievements but also the collaborative spirit and impact that exceptional teamwork has on service delivery, community engagement, and client satisfaction.

  • Access to the Profession Award

    The Access to the Profession Award, introduced by the Surrey Law Society in 2024, aims to acknowledge the member who demonstrates outstanding commitment to facilitating work experience placements through the Pay it Back Scheme in 2024. This award recognises individuals who go above and beyond in creating opportunities for aspiring legal professionals. The criteria for this award include:

    • Placements Quantity and Quality: Facilitation of enriching work experience opportunities.
    • Diversity and Inclusivity: Commitment to diverse and inclusive work experience opportunities.
    • Mentorship and Guidance: Providing mentorship and guidance to enhance professional development.
    • Advocacy for Accessibility: Advocacy for increased access to work experience in the legal field.
    • Positive Impact on Participants: Demonstrated positive impact on participants' skills and career aspirations.
    • Promotion of the Pay it Back Scheme: Active promotion and advocacy within the legal community.

    Applicants are encouraged to provide specific examples and evidence of their exceptional contributions, and the judging panel will evaluate based on the nominee's significant impact in increasing accessibility to the legal profession through work experience opportunities.

  • NOMINATIONS FORMS

    Please contact Elouise at the SLS Office on elouise.enright@surreylawsociety.org.uk for a copy of the relevant nomination forms.

    The deadline for nominations is Friday 26th April 2024.

VENUE & BOOKING INFORMATION

Date: Thursday 3rd October 2024

Venue: G Live, London Rd, Guildford GU1 2AA.

 

How to Book:

Booking is yet to open.

 

Attendance Fees:

Ticket prices will be confirmed nearer the event.

2024 Event Programme:

6:30pm Welcome Reception Lower Foyer
7:10pm Welcome by the President Main Auditorium
7:30pm Gala Dinner Main Auditorium
9:00pm An After-Dinner Speech Main Auditorium
9:45pm SLS Legal Awards Ceremony Main Auditorium
10:30pm Casino & Jazz Lower Foyer
12:30am Carriages

Accommodation:

G Live does not have any accommodation onsite but there are a number of nearby options available for those wishing to stay overnight.

Both the Mandolay Hotel and Harbour Hotel are within a 2-minute walk of G Live, with the Travelodge Guildford a 6-minute drive away and Guildford Manor Hotel & Spa and the Holiday Inn 10 minutes’ drive away.

The Surrey Law Society has not reserved any rooms but at the time of writing, all venues listed above are showing availability for the night of the 12th October, with other options also available via the major hotel bookings websites.  Please visit sites such as booking.com or hotels.com or the hotel websites directly to ascertain availability and the most preferable rates.

GUEST SPEAKER DETAILS

Our special guest speaker for the 2023 SLS Legal Awards was Shaparak Khorsandi

Shaparak Khorsandi is a comedian, author, speaker and advocate for human rights.

Shaparak established herself as one of the UK’s finest comedians with her sell-out Edinburgh show, Asylum Speaker. Despite the basis for the show being her experiences as a child refugee fleeing Iran and terrorists attempting to murder her father, Shaparak’s sensitive yet witty exploration of these events created an instant comedy smash hit.

It also lead to the publication of her childhood memoirs, “A Beginner’s Guide To Acting English“, her best-selling literary debut, described by the Scotsman as  ‘filled with laughter, wonder and compassion’. Emma Thompson said “This very funny, acute book also made me cry”.

Shaparak went on to publish her first novel, Nina Is Not Ok, which was described by the Telegraph as ‘moving, funny and shocking’ and received tremendous acclaim from critics and readers alike.

Shaparak’s career has taken her to all corners of the globe. She has appeared on countless TV & Radio shows, including: Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here, Mock The Week, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, MasterChef, Have I Got News For You, QI, Pointless Celebrities, Question Time and Just a Minute, as well as her own show, Shaparak Talk.

2023 Sponsors

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HEADLINE SPONSOR OF THE SLS LEGAL AWARDS 2023

Evelyn Partners is the UK’s leading integrated wealth management and professional services group, created following the merger of Tilney and Smith & Williamson. With £54.4 billion of assets under management (as at 31 March 2023), it ranks as the second largest UK wealth manager measured by EBITDA and the fifth largest professional services firm ranked by fee income (source: Accountancy Age 50+50 rankings, 2022).

It has a network of offices across 28 towns and cities in the UK, as well as the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands. Through its operating companies, the Group offers an extensive range of financial and professional services to individuals, family trusts, professional intermediaries, charities and businesses.

Evelyn Partners’ purpose is to ‘place the power of good advice into more hands’, and it is uniquely well-placed to support clients with both their personal financial affairs and their business interests. Evelyn Partner’s personal wealth management services include financial planning, investment management and advice, personal tax advice and, through Bestinvest, an award-winning online investment service for self-directed investors. For businesses, its wide range of services includes assurance and accounting, business tax advice, employee benefits, forensic advice, fund administration, fund governance, recovery and restructuring and transaction services.

Visit the Evelyn Partners Website

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Evelyn Partners, Headline Sponsor & Sponsor of Law Firm of the Year

Evelyn Partners is the UK’s leading integrated wealth management and professional services group, created following the merger of Tilney and Smith & Williamson. With £55.8 billion of assets under management (as at 31 March 2022), it ranks as the second largest UK wealth manager measured by EBITDA and the sixth largest professional services firm ranked by fee income (source: Accountancy Age 50+50 rankings, 2021).  It has a network of offices across 27 towns and cities in the UK, as well as the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands. Through its operating companies, the Group offers an extensive range of financial and professional services to individuals, family trusts, professional intermediaries, charities and businesses.

Evelyn Partners’ purpose is to ‘place the power of good advice into more hands’, and it is uniquely well-placed to support clients with both their personal financial affairs and their business interests. Evelyn Partner’s personal wealth management services include financial planning, investment management and advice, personal tax advice and, through Bestinvest, an award-winning online investment service for self-directed investors. For businesses, its wide range of services includes assurance and accounting, business tax advice, employee benefits, forensic advice, fund administration, fund governance, recovery and restructuring and transaction services.

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ReviewSolicitors, Sponsor of the Drinks Reception & Sponsor of Diversity & Inclusion Champion of the Year

ReviewSolicitors is the expert in helping law firms to collect reviews. Integrating existing case management systems facilitates a hassle-free process for collecting client feedback, and on average, law firms using ReviewSolicitors have a collection rate of more than 40% for all of the review requests sent out.

 

With our seamless automation, a law firm’s reviews are consistently updated across a wide array of platforms, including their website, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and, importantly, their ReviewSolicitors profile page. This increased online footprint magnifies a law firm’s 5-star reputation, positioning it as a prime choice for clients seeking exceptional legal advice.

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Helen Clifford Law, Entertainment Sponsor

Helen Clifford Law was set up in June 2021 by Helen Clifford, a solicitor with over 25 years’ experience of acting for injured and bereaved clients. The firm specialises in complex personal injury and medical negligence claims, in addition Helen acts as professional trustee for some of her clients. The firm provides a personal service which is individually tailored to each client’s needs. Unlike most firms, Helen Clifford Law does not charge its clients and fees are limited to what is recovered from the Defendant. Helen also undertakes a considerable amount of pro bono work. She is passionate about righting wrongs. No one should be injured or treated unfairly at work. She acts for the victims of all kinds of incidents, not just accidents at work, also road traffic, public liability and medical negligence. Helen helps her clients to gain early access to rehabilitation to enable them to make the best possible recovery from their injuries. Her role is to offer support and advice throughout the claim, whilst working to obtain the maximum level of compensation for their losses, past and future. Prevention of accidents is very important to Helen and she campaigns for improved health and safety at work. She has a particular interest in the construction industry. She works closely with campaign groups and is a legal adviser to the Construction Safety Campaign and Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK). Helen is also a vocal opponent of bullying in the legal profession and brought her own successful high profile claim against her former employers (Helen Clifford v McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited (1) Dominic Harrison (2)). Helen is currently acting for the Estate of June Harvey and her relatives who survived the Bow crane collapse and for the journalist Nick Sturdee in his claim against the BBC. She is known for having acted for the parents of Rene Tkacik who was killed whilst working on Crossrail; for the mother of Karanbir Cheema at the inquest into his death and employees of The League Against Cruel Sports in their claims for assault against the Belvoir Hunt.

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Landmark Information, Sponsor of Property Lawyer of the Year

Landmark Information is at the forefront of legal products and data supply to support the UK’s Property Professionals. Our dedicated, personal approach supports legal professionals in their due diligence in line with the Law Society and SRA requirements. Landmarks longevity in the legal market brings valuable experience and dependability to risk solutions whilst continuing to innovate.

 

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Groundsure Location Intelligence, Sponsor of Lawyer of the Year

Groundsure take large and complex environmental and climate data and turn it into clear and simple insights to enable legal professionals and their clients to make better informed land and property decisions. Their ClimateIndex analysis, provided automatically in their key environmental searches, allows homebuyers and business owners to look at how forward climate risks could affect the transaction. Backed by superb customer support, in-house consultancy expertise and the most comprehensive land use data and unique climate modelling, they lead the market in delivering certainty and clarity on environmental risk.

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Southey & Co, Sponsor of Private Client Team of the Year

Southey & Co are RICS Chartered Surveyors and Property Consultants specialising in working with law firms, which means we understand your requirements. Our property concierge service ensures your clients will achieve a maximum sale value by protecting and maintaining their property from day one, valuing accurately and selling through a range of channels.

As your dedicated property consultants, we will minimise the time you need to spend on non-legal aspects of estate administration whilst providing you with the documentation and transparency required to meet your compliance obligations.

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Guildford Chambers, Sponsor of Family Law Team of the Year

Guildford Chambers is a progressive, multi-disciplinary set of barristers, uniquely positioned to provide competitive and effective advocacy for individuals and businesses in Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, London and the Southeast.

Our growing portfolio of client’s value that we work with them as an extension of their team, and we endeavour to build strong and successful working relationships. We operate a system of specialist practice groups which ensure you receive the best advice and advocacy from your chosen barrister.

Our barristers and experienced, responsive clerking team share an uncompromising attitude to quality and client service with a sensible approach to cost.

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On Point Data, Sponsor of Employer of the Year

On Point Data provides market-leading conveyancing solutions to property lawyers and professionals. Based in Woking, this new industry player brings a refreshing new partnership model to the industry. The On Point Data model prioritises personal service and delivers seamlessly integrated property search expertise and conveyancing products, all on a first-name basis. Driving the change in dynamic between search company and solicitor are company founders, Jeremy Dorkins and Kevin Johnson, who combined have over 35 years of conveyancing experience. With compliance and impartiality at their core – and without a call centre in sight – OPD reimagine the way conveyancers do business. To learn more about On Point Data’s extensive property conveyancing solutions, partners and online platform visit www.onpointdata.co.uk or follow on LinkedIn

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ActionStep, Sponsor of Team of the Year

ActionStep – Where law works
Actionstep is a fast-growing, dynamic SaaS (Software as a Service) business with a global customer base. With over 22,000 users globally and 100+ law firms in the UK as clients, Actionstep delivers a comprehensive cloud platform for legal practice management to midsize law firms who are looking for a flexible, all-in-one solution.Combining all the work of law firms in one platform, including matter management, CRM, document assembly and management, time and billing, payments, client and business accounting, reporting and more, Actionstep is where law works.For more details, please go to www.actionstep.com

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Tmgroup, Sponsor of Support Team Member of the Year

With a vision to streamline the property transaction for the benefit of all, tmgroup are the experts in innovative technology solutions that make the complexities in the property transaction beautifully simple. Harnessing over two decades of technology and property expertise, they provide property professionals with solutions to help improve the profitability, efficiency and risk profile of a property transaction.

As a leading provider of conveyancing legal software, tmgroup works with over 400 suppliers to offer the very best choice of property searches, insurance, and risk management tools so clients can always find the products best suited to their needs. Alongside this, tmgroup offers a range of other related data and technology services to support all connected parties across the chain, from the ability to integrate with CMS and DMS providers to offering a full suite of additional services including mapping solutions, Managed Services, Post-Completion, and more to help improve communication, efficiency and collaboration.

Since formation, tmgroup have processed over 20 million searches and their ability to effectively meet the requirements of the legal services sector is evidenced with over 40% of clients remaining with them for in excess of 10 years. tmgroup customers extend to legal professionals (including residential conveyancers and real estate professionals), Mortgage Lenders, Estate Agents, and Developers. Delivering solutions via tmconvey, CDS, Property Searches Scotland, and mio.

 

Verify 365, Sponsor of Junior Lawyer of the Year

Verify 365 is a risk management and client onboarding solution designed by lawyers for lawyers. The Verify 365 solution incorporates a raft of different features and functions specifically designed to help law firms stay compliant with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Working with hundreds of law firms and thousands of lawyers across the country. The Verify 365 solution helps law firms mitigate client and case risk therefore ensuring you are protected.

Through their propriety Identity verification software, Dynamic ID, Verify 365 makes the client due diligence process all law firms undertaken quick, easy and painless.

The first to be SRA and Land Registry compliant, the Verify 365 team’s mantra is compliance first.

We have a range of sponsorship options available for the 2023 SLS Legal Awards, details of which can be found here.

For further information on the opportunities available, email Helen Opie, CEO at helen.opie@surreylawsociety.org.uk.

Meet the Judges

George Coates

George is Head of Guildford Chambers. He specialises in financial settlements in divorce proceedings and related family financial disputes. He takes a particular interest in disputes between unmarried parents, and has written and lectured on this topic.

George has wide-ranging experience of dealing with complex cases, often involving substantial sums made up of shareholdings in private companies (including family businesses), partnerships, family trusts, and pensions.

Other areas in which George has extensive experience include property disputes, and matters relating to children (having sat on the Social Security and Child Support Appeal Tribunal) and education, including challenging LEA policies on school admissions.

Over the years, he has undertaken a wide variety of general civil and commercial law cases, including professional or other negligence cases.

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Veronica Gilmour

Veronica is a partner in the family law team at Penningtons Manches Cooper. She has a broad range of experience which includes advising on private children disputes, pensions on divorce and pre and post marital agreements. She has particular expertise in high value, complex financial cases in both the UK and internationally.

Accredited by Resolution as a specialist family lawyer, she has been at the forefront of the development of non-adversarial alternatives in family law matters for a number of years. She is a qualified collaborative lawyer with a thriving mediation practice and is a long-standing member of the Surrey Resolution Committee.

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John Hyde

John Hyde is Deputy News Editor at The Law Society Gazette. He reports extensively on all matters impacting the legal profession and has his finger on the pulse of latest developments.

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Rita Leat

Rita Leat is the Chief Executive of the Institute of Paralegals and a founder and Managing Director of the overarching voluntary regulator for Paralegals, the PPR. With over 27 years experience in the Paralegal sector, representing the interests of Paralegals Nationally, Rita has become known as the Chief Executive of All Things Paralegal.

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John-Paul MacNamara

John-Paul was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 2008 and cross-qualified as a solicitor in 2011. He worked for many years for a Top 100 Law firm and was eventually promoted to partner and Head of Crown Court Advocacy before moving to GT Stewart Solicitors and Advocates in 2017. He has appeared in the Crown Court as Leading Junior, Led Junior and Junior alone and has advocated extensively in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). He has represented defendants for offences ranging from intercontinental drug importation to kidnap and murder. He completed his vulnerable witness training with the Law Society and is well known in London courts for his measured style of advocacy and tenacious closing speeches.

J-P was shortlisted in the 2015 and 2016 Law Society Excellence Awards in the category of “Solicitor Advocate of the Year”. In the 2016 shortlist the Judges’ panel, described him as “having developed a reputation as a leading advocate – particularly in cross-examination of expert witnesses”. At GT Stewart he was a prominent member of their Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners ranked crime teams, and won The “Lawyer of the Year Award” with the Surrey Law Society in 2019.

In January 2020 J-P joined the staff at the City Law School and is an advocacy tutor as well as a tutor on the Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing module of the Bar Vocational Studies course. J-P also lectures to Pupils at Middle Temple and having formally returned to the Bar, holds a door tenancy at 33 Bedford Row.

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Sarah Pooley

Sarah Pooley is the Dean of the Guildford and Reading Campuses of the University of Law. Sarah has a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Sheffield and an M.Litt from the University of Cambridge. She studied for the Common Professional Examination and Law Society Finals at the University (then College) of Law in London. She trained and qualified as a solicitor at Slaughter and May and worked in financial regulation until she moved into legal education. Sarah is a former Head of Students at Guildford and Head of Tutors at the London Moorgate campus. She is the Chair of the Ethics Committee at the University of Law and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She was made an Associate Professor in 2015.

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Neil Rose

Neil is a qualified solicitor and has been a legal journalist since 1995. He is the founder and editor of Legal Futures, a news-driven website providing market intelligence for law firms of the future. He is a recognised market commentator on ABSs, legal regulation and the future of the market. He also runs Litigation Futures, the first independent website dedicated to costs, funding and the Jackson reforms.

In 2014, he won the Legal Journalism of the Year award at the Halsbury Legal Awards.

Neil has freelanced for a wide range of publications, including The Guardian and The Times. He is also a co-director of Black Letter Communications, a specialist public relations agency for the legal sector.

Formerly Deputy Editor of the Law Society Gazette, he was also the Editor of the award-winning CILEx Journal, for which he was shortlisted for Editor of the Year (business and professional magazines, non-weekly) by the British Society of Magazine Editors in 2009.

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Nick Emmerson

Nick Emmerson is the vice president of the Law Society of England and Wales. He will become the 179th president in October 2023.
Nick will be president when the Law Society enters its 200th anniversary year.

Nick is a partner at Lewis Mathys Emmerson LLP and a specialist in London capital markets transactions by international companies and public and private cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

He is fluent in Japanese and has spent his career working in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Leeds and London.

As well as England and Wales, Nick has been admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong and the Republic of Ireland and as an attorney at law in the State of California.

Yorkshire born and bred, Nick has represented the legal powerhouse of Leeds on the Law Society Council since 2015 and was president of Leeds Law Society during its 150th anniversary year and the bulk of the pandemic.

During Nick’s presidency, Leeds Law Society demonstrated its resilience by hosting its inaugural and ground-breaking online Diversity and Inclusion Conference with support from the Law Society.

Nick is a City of London Solicitors’ Company liveryman and previously served on the City of London Law Society Committee.

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FAQS

Is it free to nominate?
Yes
Our firm has many individuals doing excellent work. Is there a limit on how many entries can be submitted?
Yes, there are some limits to the number of nominations you can submit based on the number of members in your firm. Please contact admin@surreylawsociety.org.uk for more information.
What is the criteria and format of each award?
Please view the categories and criteria page for details of each Award.
Can non-solicitors enter?
Yes. We accept entries from Solicitors, Barristers, Legal Executives, Licensed Conveyancers and from paralegals and support staff where appropriate so long as the firm and/or individual is a member of the Surrey Law Society.
Can I nominate someone for an individual award if I don’t work in a Law Firm?
Yes.
What is the deadline for nominations?
The deadline for nominations is to be confirmed. Please note that all firms/individuals nominated must be members of the Surrey Law Society.
How do I nominate?
Nominating couldn't be easier, members can download the relevant Nomination Form for the category of their choice and return this to helen.opie@surreylawsociety.org.uk. You may support your nomination by submitting independent objective evidence of the nominees achievements from 3rd parties, for example, in the form of testimonials received on letter headed paper, by email, via press cuttings etc. – these should be concise and no more than three sides of A4.
When do the judges consider the nominations?
Between May and August 2024.
When will the shortlist be announced?
This is to be confirmed.
When will the winners be announced?
The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner and Ceremony at G-Live, Guildford, on Thursday 3rd October 2024
Who can attend the Awards Dinner?
Tickets are available to all members - you don't need to have entered the awards.

Contact us

Please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any queries regarding an award category, the shortlist, judging process or the Awards Dinner.
Email: helen.opie@surreylawsociety.org.uk or elouise.enright@surreylawsociety.org.uk or phone: 0333 577 3830 Mobile : 07597 582400