Many congratulations to all our finalists!



The categories for the 2023 SLS Legal Awards were:

  • Law Firm of the Year
  • Lawyer of the Year
  • 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


  • Law Firm of the Year
    WINNER *** Russell-Cooke LLP *** HIGHLY COMMENDED *** Stevens & Bolton LLP ***
  • Lawyer of the Year
    WINNER*** Helen Clifford, Helen Clifford Law *** HIGHLY COMMENDED *** Jon Creswick ***
  • Employer of the Year
    WINNER *** TWM Solicitors LLP ***
  • Equality and Diversity Champion of the Year
    WINNER *** Howell Jones LLP ***
  • Family Law Team of the Year
    WINNER *** KGW Family Law ***
  • Junior Lawyer of the Year
    WINNER *** Charles Mellor, Creighton and Partners ***
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    WINNER *** Karen Barham, Moore Barlow LLP ***
  • Private Client Team of the Year
    WINNER *** Howell Jones LLP ***
  • Property Law Team of the Year
    WINNER *** Peacock & Co Solicitors *** HIGHLY COMMENDED *** Morr & Co LLP *** HIGHLY COMMENDED *** Nichols Marcy Dawson LLP ***
  • Support Team Member of the Year
    WINNER *** Diane Algar, Howell Jones LLP *** HIGHLY COMMENDED *** Ashley Burrow, Meadows Ryan Solicitors ***
  • Team of the Year
    WINNER *** Howell Jones Elderly Client & Vulnerable Adult Team ***


Date: Thursday 12th October 2023

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


How to Book:

Booking has now closed.


Attendance Fees:

Table Bookings for 10 Guests

  • Early Bird Rate: £1,150 plus VAT
  • Standard Rate: £1,300 plus VAT
  • Second Table Discounted Rate: £850 plus VAT

Individual Bookings

  • Early Bird Rate: £130 plus VAT
  • Standard Rate: £150 plus VAT

2023 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 by Shaparak Khorsandi Main Auditorium
9:45pm SLS Legal Awards Ceremony Main Auditorium
10:30pm Casino & Jazz Lower Foyer
12:30am Carriages


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 or or the hotel websites directly to ascertain availability and the most preferable rates.


Our special guest speaker for the 2023 SLS Legal Awards is 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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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

In the evolving digital landscape of legal services, where informed decisions are a click away, ReviewSolicitors stands as the UK’s primary source of information and a beacon for new clients seeking legal representation, guiding them through the often complex realm of legal services.

ReviewSolicitors is dedicated exclusively to the world of legal, ensuring potential clients can access genuine and verified reviews about law firms along with insights into performance, success rates, availability and other key factors that are important for clients to understand at the early stage of their client journey.

At the heart of ReviewSolicitors is its commitment to transparency and authenticity. Annually, over 5 million clients turn to ReviewSolicitors. Here, potential clients can delve into unbiased reviews penned by genuine former clients, encompassing all SRA-registered law firms. These reviews shed light on the experiences, both positive and negative, that individuals have had with law firms. This firsthand knowledge equips potential clients with a clearer understanding of what they can expect when engaging with a particular firm.

ReviewSolicitors has rapidly become the go-to platform for law firms eager to distinguish themselves in a competitive marketplace. 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.

The true strength of ReviewSolicitors lies not just in collecting reviews but in our unrivalled capability to showcase these reviews to potential clients at the early stage of a client’s journey. 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.

Another attraction of our platform is our understanding of the legal services sector and the potential pitfalls with client review collection. As standard, law firms are always in control, with the ability to instantly remove defamatory or non-client reviews, ensuring that as quickly as a review can be posted, it can also be taken down by the firm. ReviewSolicitors also provides a 48-hour delay to negative reviews, allowing a law firm the time to investigate any negative reviews. Such meticulous attention to the unique challenges of the legal industry, combined with unparalleled automation capabilities, underscores why ReviewSolicitors is the preferred choice for law firms across the UK.

There is no point in collecting client feedback if it is not used to attract new clients. When it comes to new client acquisition, one of the standout features of ReviewSolicitors is its comprehensive search capability. Unlike platforms that might limit searches to select, partnered entities, ReviewSolicitors empowers its users with a whole-of-market search, not just about law firms but also about all in1dividual solicitors too. Clients are solely shown the most popular or advertised firms but can delve deep into the extensive directory, exploring potential matches that might otherwise fly under the radar. The algorithms developed provide a fair and level playing field for firms of all sizes, ensuring smaller law firms are compared like-for-like with larger firms.

In an industry where reputation can make or break success, having a platform that showcases genuine client feedback in a transparent and impartial way is invaluable. Law firms that consistently provide exemplary service can harness this positive feedback as a testament to their dedication and prowess. On ReviewSolicitors, excellent feedback isn’t just a badge of honour—it’s a magnet for attracting new clients.

In essence, ReviewSolicitors isn’t just a review site; it’s a bridge connecting potential clients to their ideal legal representation, informed by the voices of those who’ve walked the path before them.

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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 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

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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

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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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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Is it free to nominate?
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.
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?
What is the deadline for nominations?
The deadline for nominations is Thursday 11th May 2023. 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 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 2023.
When will the shortlist be announced?
The shortlisted individuals/firms will be contacted during the week commencing in 12th June 2023.
When will the winners be announced?
The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner and Ceremony at the Mandolay Hotel, Guildford, on Thursday 21st September 2023
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: or or phone: 0333 577 3830 Mobile : 07597 582400