We were delighted to welcome a record number of SLS members to our 2021 SLS Legal Awards.    

We had a fantastic evening celebrating the finalists and winners of our 10 Award categories, as well as enjoying a delicious meal and fantastic after-dinner speech by Rob Rinder MBE.

Nominations for the 2022 Legal Awards will open in January 2022, so please keep an eye out for information about this over the coming months.

Most importantly, we send many congratulations to our 2021 winners.




The categories for the 2021 SLS Legal Awards were:

  • Law Firm of the Year
  • Lawyer of the Year
  • Commercial / Corporate Lawyer of the Year
  • Family Lawyer of the Year
  • Litigation Lawyer of the Year
  • Private Client Lawyer of the Year
  • Paralegal of the Year
  • Property Lawyer of the Year
  • Rising Star of the Year
  • Support Team Member of the Year


  • Law Firm of the Year
    **** Rosewood Solicitors **** (Highly Commended: Nichols Marcy Dawson LLP)
  • Lawyer of the Year
    **** Holly Chantler, Morrisons Solicitors ****
  • Commercial/Corporate Lawyer of the Year
    **** Helen Mead, DMH Stallard ****
  • Family Lawyer of the Year
    **** Karen Barham, Moore Barlow **** (Highly Commended: Emma Patel, Rosewood Solicitors)
  • Litigation Lawyer of the Year
    **** Fiona McNelis, Taylor Rose MW ****
  • Paralegal of the Year
    **** Harriet Shore, Russell-Cooke **** (Highly Commended: Hannah Davies, Watson Thomas Solicitors)
  • Private Client Lawyer of the Year
    **** Holly Chantler, Morrisons Solicitors **** (Highly Commended: Emma Sayers, Howell Jones Solicitors)
  • Property Lawyer of the Year
    **** Ema Bryn Jones, Peacock & Co Solicitors ****
  • Rising Star of the Year
    **** Martin Whitehorn, Julie West Solicitors ****
  • Support Team Member of the Year
    **** Vicky Mason, GBH Law **** (Highly Commended: Ashley Burrow, Meadows Ryan)


Booking has now closed

The SLS Legal Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner took place on Thursday 16th September at the Mandolay Hotel, Guildford.   The evening was a fantastic occasion where we can truly celebrated the successes of our members and the local legal profession – proudly recognizing Surrey as a County of legal excellence.  We are currently making plans for our 2022 SLS Legal Awards and will be announcing the date for these in the near future. 


How to Book:

  • Booking has now closed, please contact with any queries about the 2022 SLS Legal Awards

2021 Event Programme:

6:30pm Welcome Reception Mandolay Suite (Ground Floor)
7:15pm Welcome by the President Mandolay Suite (Lower Ground)
7:30pm Gala Dinner Mandolay Suite (Lower Ground)
9:15pm An Evening with Rob Rinder MBE Mandolay Suite (Lower Ground)
9:45pm SLS Legal Awards Ceremony Mandolay Suite (Lower Ground)
10:45pm Drinks & Mingling Mandolay Suite (Lower Ground)
12:30am Carriages Mandolay Suite (Lower Ground)


The SLS Legal Awards 2021 took place The Mandolay Hotel: 36 – 40 London Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 2AE (01483 303030).  For more information please visit the Mandolay Hotel Website (

Our 2021 After Dinner Speaker and Awards Compere was Rob Rinder MBE

Rob Rinder MBE is a barrister turned writer and broadcaster.  In 2014, while still a practising Barrister, he began starring in his reality court show Judge Rinder, now in it’s 8th series; and uses his legal knowledge working in the media to make the law more accessible and understandable to the public regularly appearing on shows such as This Morning and Good Morning Britain.

Alongside Judge Rinder, Rob has also presented shows including Judge Rinder’s Crime Stories and The Rob Rinder Verdict as well as hosting his own BBC Radio 5Live series Raising the Bar aiming to demystify the legal system. His participation in series 15 of Who Do You Think You Are? retraced the story of his Holocaust survivor Grandfather and received critical acclaim. Following this Rob embarked on an emotional journey exploring further his own family’s Holocaust stories resulting in a 2-part documentary My Family, the Holocaust and Me.

Along with his screen work Rob has published Rinder’s Rules which provides a thorough guide to everyday legal issues including sections on jargon-busting, consumer rights and common mistakes. He is also a columnist for The Sun and the London Evening Standard newspapers.

2021 Sponsors

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Headline Sponsor of the SLS Legal Awards 2021

HFS Milbourne is one of Surrey’s leading independent Wealth Managers with over £450 million in client funds under management.

Established in 1986 and regulated by the FCA, we provide lawyers and their clients with expert financial advice on a range of specialist areas including: Pensions and Divorce, Maintenance Protection, Letters of Borrowing Capacity, Inheritance Tax, plus Investment and Trust advice. With a fee based approach, we offer a high degree of expertise which includes a Resolution accredited Independent Financial Advisor who is specifically trained in the area of collaborative law, two STEP Affiliated advisers, three Chartered advisers, and five Long Term Care specialists.

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HFS Milbourne Sponsor of the Drinks Reception & Family Lawyer of the Year Award

HFS Milbourne is one of Surrey’s leading independent Wealth Managers with over £450 million in client funds under management.

Established in 1986 and regulated by the FCA, we provide lawyers and their clients with expert financial advice on a range of specialist areas including: Pensions and Divorce, Maintenance Protection, Letters of Borrowing Capacity, Inheritance Tax, plus Investment and Trust advice. With a fee based approach, we offer a high degree of expertise which includes a Resolution accredited Independent Financial Advisor who is specifically trained in the area of collaborative law, two STEP Affiliated advisers, three Chartered advisers, and five Long Term Care specialists.

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Square Daisy, Entertainment Sponsor

Square Daisy is a full service video production company delivering both filmed and animated video content, all created by a talented and passionate in-house team. We can produce any kind of content, from corporate and promo video to animated explainer videos, all of which help our clients to promote their brand values and communicate key messages to their audience. We are specialists in the area of talent acquisition, helping organisations to engage and attract the best and brightest candidates using professional video content and positioning themselves as an employer of choice in a highly competitive employment market.

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Access Legal,  Sponsor of the  Lawyer of the Year Award.

Working in partnership with more than 3,500 UK law firms and underpinned by over 30 years of sector experience, Access Legal provides an unrivalled suite of complete software solutions.

From case and practice management, finance, accounting and business intelligence to learning, compliance and HR – Access Legal helps firms take control of their time, improve efficiency and productivity.

By providing software to manage every aspect of a firm’s operations, Access Legal enables ambitious firms to reach unlimited potential and have the freedom to focus on clients and people to drive profitability and growth.

Access Legal is part of The Access Group, a leading provider of business management software to mid-sized organisations

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Conscious, Sponsor of the Support Team Member of the Year Award

For 18 years we have been working with law firms of all sizes helping them design, build, run and maximise the return on investment of their websites. Whether it’s designing a new website, improving search engine rankings, or implementing a PPC campaign, everything we do is aimed at improving your website and digital marketing strategy.

With a “full service” solution – whether you need a blend of sophisticated technology or a library of professionally written legal copy both online and offline. We allow you to pick and choose which services you require depending on your existing resources, both in-house and outsourced.

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InfoTrack, Sponsor of Commercial/Corporate Lawyer of the Year

InfoTrack is the home of digital conveyancing. A powerful suite of solutions from client onboarding and searches to post-completion and e-signature services, we digitise the entire conveyancing process to assure compliance and productivity. Our technology takes on the burden of paper-intensive, demanding administrative tasks within a single, award-winning platform. We empower firms to focus on delivering an exceptional client experience with every transaction. InfoTrack; the smart, sophisticated, secure solution for digital conveyancing.


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Institute of Paralegals, Sponsor of Paralegal of the Year

The Institute of Paralegals is an international professional Institute for paralegals and the only Institute in the UK.  We are passionate about upholding the highest professional standards in knowledge, practice, and ethics across the paralegal profession – aims more relevant than ever as the world begins to emerge from the effects of COVID-19.

Paralegals are in demand, and this is the time to stand out from the crowd and join our growing and vibrant community of legal professionals. Our purpose is to uphold the highest standards in knowledge, practice and ethics across the paralegal profession and to support individual paralegals in developing the skills and knowledge required to meet these highest standards.

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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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nTrust, Sponsor of Private Client of the Year 

Law firms that take a proactive approach to IT security by gaining Cyber Essentials, have peace of mind about their own IT protection, their clients’ data and are winning more business and enjoying an enhanced reputation.

We’re proud of our 97% client retention rate, which includes our first customer, who we’ve been supporting since 2003.

Clients value our IT advice and speed to provide technical support.

Contact Russ McKenzie – – 03331 50 60 70

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Pay-Nex, Sponsor of the Rising Star of the Year Award

Pay-Nex is proud to support the Surrey Law Society Awards, 2021 to be associated with the award for Rising Star of the Year.

We provide fully managed, professional payroll services for companies of all sizes across the South East, processing payrolls and managing pension contributions in every imaginable business sector for many thousands of individuals.

Payrolls are delivered by an experienced, diligent and well-trained team of specialists, each well-versed in the latest HMRC and workplace pension related legislation, using fully compliant encrypted software, ensuring fast, accurate and reliable reporting.

We never forget that behind every payslip, there is a person.

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Sponsor of the Litigation Lawyer of the Year Award

Sandler is a business development company, helping ambitious organisations in Surrey achieve their growth potential. Typically, our clients have great businesses, but know they could grow more and faster. They recognise that doing things the same old way is not enough, and are committed to making changes that will have an immediate impact on their new business performance. If any of this resonates, perhaps it’s time to press pause on your current sales process and check out an alternative approach. Sandler is not right for everyone. But if you’re open to exploring new ways of doing things then email

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Guildford Chambers, General Sponsor

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 South East.
Our growing portfolio of clients 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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Pro Drive, General Sponsor

Pro Drive work with law firms who prefer to outsource the planning and management of their IT systems. Our clients want to use technology to help put them ahead of their competition but they do not have the time or expertise to do this themselves. We can help with IT Support & Cyber Security, built around a strategic plan.

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Pump Court Chambers, General Sponsor

Pump Court Chambers is consistently recognised as a ‘leading set’ and a ‘top ranked’ Family Law team in the legal directories and is one of the largest at the Bar. Our unstuffy approach, expert practical advice and first class advocacy has helped us establish a leading reputation domestically and overseas. Our clerking team provides a friendly and efficient service with client care at the forefront of everything they do. Pump Court Chambers are located in London, Hampshire and Wilshire and our strength in depth allows us to provide representation at all levels of seniority in the areas of, Family Finance, Public and Private Law Children, International Children’s Disputes, Child Abduction and the Court of Protection. Our ADR offering also boasts great strength in depth, particularly within our arbitration and Private FDR teams where many of our members hold judicial tickets and vast experience.

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If you’re interested in supporting the SLS Legal Awards, Please download our Sponsorship Opportunities Pack here for further information on the opportunities available, or email Helen Opie, CEO at

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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David Greene

David is senior partner at Edwin Coe, and vice president at the Law Society. He joined the Law Society Council in 2009 and his constituency is international practice. He is the chair of the International Committee. He is also chair of the Policy and Regulatory Affairs Committee and sits on the Law Society Board. He is also chair of the Brexit Task Force and the Law Society’s nominee on the Lord Chancellor’s Brexit Law Committee. He also runs a practice!

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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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David Steed

David qualified as a Solicitor in January 1980 after articles with a London firm, specialising in property law.

Throughout most of his career however he has worked in the Surrey area dealing with both residential and commercial properties and secured funding work for banks and building societies.

He was on the Surrey Law Society committee for many years, and President twice in the 2000s.

He has also twice been chair of the Society’s conveyancing and land law sub committee.

David has now moved to the Isle of Wight but has maintained his links with Surrey, as he is a consultant to Harold Bell Infields in Ewell.

He is currently a Council Member of The Law Society holding the Commercial Property seat and sits on TLS Conveyancing & Land Law committee.

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Simon Bland

Simon Bland is the Economic Prosperity Programme Manager for Reigate and Banstead Borough Council. He is responsible for the development and delivery of a programme of initiatives intended to help local businesses start, develop and grow. He is also a member of Surrey Futures, a co-opted member of the Executive Council of Gatwick Diamond Business and a Corporation Board Member of East Surrey College.

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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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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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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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Is it free to enter?
Our firm has many individuals doing excellent work. Is there a limit on how many entries can be submitted?
No, but you will need to complete separate entries for each firm/individual category you choose to enter. Please note that nominations have now closed, but we'd be delighted to receive your submissions next year.
What is the criteria and format of each award?
The Categories & Criteria for the 2022 Awards will be announced in January.
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?
What is the deadline for nominations?
We will announce the nominations deadline for the 2022 SLS Legal Awards when we share the categories in January 2022. Please note that all firms/individuals nominated must be members of the Surrey Law Society.
How do I nominate?
Nominations are now closed, but if you're thinking of nominating for our 2022 Awards, it couldn't be easier. When the Award Categories are launched in January, members can download the relevant Nomination Form for the category of your choice and return this to 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 2022.
When will the shortlist be announced?
The shortlisted individuals/firms will be contacted during the week commencing in June 2022.
When will the winners be announced?
The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner and Ceremony. We are yet to set the date for the 2022 SLS Legal Awards, but they are traditionally held in September.
Who can attend the Awards Dinner?
Tickets are available to everyone - 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: or phone: 0333 577 3830 Mobile : 07597 582400