The 2019 SLS Legal Awards Ceremony & Gala Dinner took place on the 19th September at the Mandolay Hotel Guildford. 

To see what a fabulous event this was, take a look at the video below and see the photographs in our Gallery.

We offer our warmest congratulations to all our winners below.


The winners of the 2019 SLS Legal Award categories are:

  • Law Firm of the Year : Morrisons LLP
  • Lawyer of the Year : John-Paul MacNamara - G T Stewart Solicitors Holly Chantler (Highly Commended) - Morrisons LLP
  • Rising Star of the Year : Arjun Sreedaran - rhw Solicitors
  • Private Client Lawyer of the Year : Holly Chantler - Morrisons LLP
  • Property Lawyer of the Year : Amira Hughes - Howell Jones Solicitors Ruben Perin (Highly Commended) - MW Solicitors Ltd
  • Family Lawyer of the Year : Emma Newman - Stowe Family Law
  • Support Team Member of the Year : Sarah England - rhw Solicitors
  • Paralegal of the Year : Clare Smith - BakerLaw LLP
  • Client Care Award : Terence Channer - Scott Moncrieff & Associates Shimmee Wong (Highly Commended) - MW Solicitors Ltd


  • Law Firm of the Year
    The firm must be able to show significant progress and development as a business within the last 12 months. Evidence of this can include details of growth, strategy, financial performance, employee development, training and diversity. The firm must also be able to demonstrate that you have a rounded approach to the delivery of legal services, and that you are working in the best interest of not only your clients but the profession overall.
  • Lawyer of the Year
    The nominee must be a Lawyer who goes “above and beyond” in both his/her colleagues’ eyes as well as those of the clients. This might be demonstrable in a specific case or work done in relation to a particular area of Law. The nominee may also have proposed and put in place a business solution that proved beneficial to the firm overall or to his/her client, or both. The nominee should also be able to show strong management and leadership skills.
  • Rising Star of the Year
    The nominee must be under the age of 32 at the time the application is submitted. The nominee needs to show a sizeable level of involvement within the profession and/or the area in which they practice, and provide evidence of any significant obstacle/s they have overcome. Evidence in relation to how and why the nominee has “risen” over the past 12 months must be provided.
  • Private Client Lawyer of the Year
    The judges will accept nominations based on one outstanding matter worked on during the last year or on the overall performance of the individual during that year. The nominee must be able to demonstrate that he/she has delivered exceptional client outcomes. Please explain the single greatest achievement of the past 12 months in one or more of the following: client service, innovation or exceptional client outcome/s. Please provide evidence in support.
  • Property Lawyer of the Year
    We will accept entries from both commercial and residential property Lawyers and landlord and tenant specialists. The nominee must be able to demonstrate that he/she has delivered exceptional client outcomes. Please explain the single greatest achievement of the past 12 months in one or more of the following: client service, innovation or exceptional client outcome/s. Please provide evidence in support.
  • Family Lawyer of the Year
    The nominee must demonstrate excellence within the field of family law through their practice. The nominee must also show that they have provided an outstanding quality of legal service for their clients and demonstrated teamwork within their firm, with external lawyers and/or other professionals.
  • Support Team Member of the Year
    This year we are welcoming nominations from colleagues or clients for secretaries, cashiers and other support team members who support Surrey Law Society members. Nominees must demonstrate a special contribution to their organisation or to specific clients, showing dedication and commitment that goes ‘the extra mile’. Particular note will be made of those activities that have improved the organisation’s efficiency and reputation and / or the reputation of the profession generally.
  • Paralegal of the Year
    This new award for 2019 recognizes the key role paralegals play in our justice system. The nominee will be an exceptional individual who consistently makes contributions to the legal profession whether in client care, business development, training or otherwise and who acts as an inspiration to other paralegals through their knowledge of the law, perseverance in cases, professional and personal development and superior skill set. The nominee must also demonstrate a commitment to continuing legal education.
  • Client Care Award
    This award will be handed to either a firm or individual who can show outstanding commitment and service in client care. The nominee must show that they have exceeded expectations of basic client care and professionalism. The entry should describe your client service model, including how it has helped to increase profitability of the firm and business levels through client word of mouth. The nominee must explain when it was implemented and how performance is measured. The nominee must submit an application which is accompanied by evidence of the quality and consistency of the client care implemented, for example, client care testimonials.
  • How Do I Nominate?
    Nominations should be made by providing a brief covering letter, followed by a written submission of up to 750 words which addresses the criteria for the category in which you are nominating. 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. Please send all nominations to: Hilary Underwood, Interim CEO Surrey Law Society, by email : hilary.underwood@surreylawsociety.org,uk. Nominations will close at midnight on Friday 28th June 2019


The SLS Legal Awards Ceremony will form part of the Society’s Annual Gala Dinner, which will be held on Thursday 19th September 2019 at The Mandolay Hotel Guildford.  The evening promises to be a fantastic occasion where we can truly celebrate the successes of our members  and the local legal profession – proudly recognizing Surrey as a County of legal excellence.

Please note that this event will be filmed and photographs will be taken which will be used in our publications and social media content. If you do not wish to appear in any filming or photographs, please confirm in writing when making your booking.



  • Individual: £95 + VAT
  • Table (10 seats): £850 + VAT

How to Book:

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 After Dinner Speech by Bonita Norris 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 and Surrey Law Society's Annual Gala Dinner will be held at the Mandolay Hotel in Guildford on the evening of the 19th September 2019. This prestigious event, now in its second year, will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the success of our SLS Legal Award winners and showcase the very best of Surrey’s legal talent, as well as offering members the chance to network and enjoy the entertainment. This year, as well as incorporating the usual reception and dinner, the evening will include an after dinner speech from Bonita Norris, the world's youngest person to climb Everest and reach the North Pole. Her inspiring story of going from novice climber to standing on top of Mt Everest in only two years, accompanied by stunning photographs from her expedition to the Himalayas, will speak to the hearts and minds of us all. The reception, 3-course dinner, and wine are included in the cost and we will be raising money on the evening in aid of the President’s chosen charity, the Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity to benefit St Lukes Cancer Centre.
The Mandolay Hotel: 36 – 40 London Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 2AE (01483 303030).  For more information please visit the Mandolay Hotel Website

Accommodation:  Surrey Law Society has reserved a number of bedrooms at the Mandolay for the night of the 19th September.  Guests of the dinner can book these by calling 01483 303030, selecting Option 1 and quoting Event Reference Code: Surrey Law Society.  The double occupancy rate is £130 per room per night and includes breakfast. Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis and any bedrooms still vacant by 30 August 2019 will be released.  The Surrey Law Society cannot guarantee that this accommodation rate is the most competitive available and it might be possible to find preferential rates via some of the major hotel booking sites. 


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Headline Sponsor, Sponsor of the Law Firm of the Year Award

Lockton are specialists in providing solicitors of England and Wales with professional indemnity insurance solutions. Their extensive access to leading PII insurers is complemented by a full suite of insurance and risk advisory services.

Lockton work on their client’s behalf to provide cost-effective cover, tailored to each client’s own unique circumstances. Whether you’re a multinational LLP, High Street practice, or setting up a new practice, Lockton deliver best-fit, value PII solutions for your business.

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

Established in 1986 HFS Milbourne Financial are one of Surrey’s premier Financial Advisory and Wealth Management firms. HFS Milbourne Financial work closely with the legal and accounting professions and are long-term sponsors of the Surrey Law Society. Their experienced team of advisers and technical specialists provide a wide range of services for clients. HFS Milbourne Financial are independent and directly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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Pro Drive IT General Sponsor. Pro Drive IT work with SMEs to provide businesses with the right cyber security strategy and business IT support in Guildford, Surrey, London and across the South East.

More than just business IT support and strategy, they improve your business productivity and allow you to innovate.

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Eagle & Beagle Media Sponsor. Eagle & Beagle help law firms boost brand awareness and profit with video.

How? With ABC.

Discovering your Audience
Identifying your Brand difference
Delivering a Creative solution

We ensure your message is delivered and your marketing objectives are met. With your audience at the heart of what we do, a meaningful connection is made and maintained, giving you longer to convey your message. Connecting with and engaging your audience builds trust and starts a relationship, helping you convert leads into clients.

Creating video content is a brand investment. We help you to achieve the best return on your investment.

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1 COR Brighton, sponsor of the Rising Star Award, are recognised as a leading set on the South Coast serving Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey Kent and London as well as further afield. 1 Crown Office Row, Brighton have grown exponentially since they were established in 1972 as the annex of 1 Crown Office Row, London. With over 50 members practicing in Civil, Criminal, Family and Financial Remedies, 1 Crown Office Row, Brighton are consistently recommended by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 in these specialist areas.

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DPS Software, Sponsor of the Property Lawyer of the Year Award. Founded more than three decades ago, DPS Software are the largest legal cloud in the UK. We are also the first and only practice management software provider to offer a integrated managed IT solution under the same roof.

Serving over 700 practices and 15,000 individual users, DPS have built a strong and growing market position thanks to our award-winning products.

Our case management systems workflows cover Conveyancing, Crime, Family, Personal Injury, and Wills & Probate. They are complemented by a fully integrated accounting package and digital dictation systems.

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Sponsor of the SLS Legal Awards Entertainment

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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Sponsor of the Private Client Lawyer of the Year Award

Wilkins Kennedy is a leading accountancy and business advisory firm offering specialist services to legal practices in the UK.

Our dedicated team has extensive experience with the legal sector, including our own in-house Lexcel accredited consultants, which enables us to serve our legal practice clients using a relevant and broad knowledge base.

We offer a wide range of services to suit the needs of legal practices, from accounts preparation, statutory audit, Solicitors Regulation Authority Accounts Rules reviews, tax, outsourcing and payroll, to business advisory services and business structuring.

We work with incorporated practices, LLPs, traditional partnerships and sole practitioners. We offer a flexible approach to provide the skills and support that meet your needs in a cost effective manner.

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General Sponsor

We believe we deliver more than your deliveries and promises – we deliver competitive advantage.
A well-established provider of a wide-range of delivery services, including parcel freight, secure, courier and logistics services, across the UK and Ireland.
DX provides a wide range of delivery services to both business and residential addresses across the UK and Ireland.
Established in 1975 and based in Berkshire, the Group operates through two divisions, DX Express and DX Freight
DX Express focuses on next-day or scheduled courier deliveries, and has a well-developed offering in secure services for the delivery of items of value. It also operates a private members delivery network, DX Exchange, catering mainly for the legal, financial and public sectors.
DX Freight provides next-day or scheduled delivery services for parcels, and irregular dimension and weight items, as well as comprehensive logistics solutions, including warehouse management and the operation of customer-liveried vehicles.

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DG Legal is the largest provider of strategic and compliance services operating in England & Wales.

Established in 2000, we have 26 leading consultants who have either worked as gamekeepers or are acknowledged as a leading authority in their area of expertise. We have experts who have worked for and with the SRA, The Legal Ombudsman, The Law Society, CILEx and the Legal Aid Agency. We have helped more than 1000 firms ranging from Sole Practitioners to ‘Magic Circle’ firms.

Our consultants have trained hundreds of assessors for The Law Society (Lexcel) and the Legal Aid Agency (Specialist Quality Mark (SQM)) and our experts continue to train the assessors for Recognising Excellence who hold the licence to audit the SQM.

We have a 100% success record with SRA authorisation applications, Lexcel assessments, SQM audits and CQS applications.

G Legal has also advised politicians and government departments (The Home Office, The Cabinet Office and the Welsh Assembly Government). One of our consultants has recently spent a two year period acting as a Commissioner in Lord Bach’s review of the Justice system ‘The Right to Justice.’

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Insight Legal is an award winning legal accounts, case management and practice management system for today`s legal practices.

We bring together decades of experience with Solicitors` practices to provide you and your firm with a system that meets your needs and support that goes beyond just help on the software.

Insight Legal is both easy to use and easy to move to. With no prohibitive upfront software costs and a simple 30 day or 12 month rolling contract, moving to Insight Legal will be quick, easy and hassle-free.

We care about your practice because your success is our success. If we don`t think that our software is right for you, we will be the first to tell you.

To our customers, we are a valued partner and not just a software supplier.

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Insight6 works with hundreds of clients country wide, covering many sectors including many in Professional Services, B2B, and Attractions through to Retail. We are committed to helping firms improve their fee income, enquiry conversions, client experiences, service, and quality of feedback, by providing mystery enquiries, Focus / Listening groups, surveys, and targeted training and coaching.
Jim has managed insight6’s Surrey area for 10 years, and works with many Professional Services firms across the county, along with managing insight6’s association with LawNet.

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Shieldpay offers lawyers an alternative to managing client money in-house, cutting payment risk and administration cost while benefiting the firm, financial institutions and the end consumer.
White & Case and Cooley, along with 42 other law firms, are using Shieldpay’s secure payment services, which range from traditional Corporate Escrow transactions to firms leveraging Shieldpay’s Third Party Managed Account (TPMA) solution.
Fully authorised and regulated by the FCA, Shieldpay provides an additional layer of security to transactions, increases transparency to all parties, lowers the threat from cyber criminals and phishing scams, and removes certain costs, risks and regulatory obligations associated with holding client money.
Find out more at www.shieldpay.com
Follow us at @shield_pay

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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 Hilary Underwood, Interim CEO at hilary.underwood@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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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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Julian McEvoy

Julian is a Solicitor, Mediator & Collaborative Lawyer at Julian McEvoy Family Law.
He qualified as a solicitor over thirty years ago and has since become a qualified Collaborative Lawyer and Family Mediator. He has practised in the Guildford and Surrey area since the mid-80s, and was one of the earliest members of Resolution.

Julian has practised with several Guildford firms over the years before running his own niche practice, Delano McEvoy between 1996 and 2010. From 2010 to 2018 he worked with two local Guildford firm in their family department. He is again now running his own niche firm.

Julian has been a committee member with Surrey Resolution for more than fifteen years, and for the last six years has been Chair of the group. He firmly believes that fostering a collegiate atmosphere amongst family lawyers in Surrey and beyond helps to bring the whole profession together, and collectively to seek better outcomes for clients.

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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.
What is the criteria and format of each award?
Please refer to the Award Categories & Criteria page for specific entry instructions.
Can non-solicitors enter?
Yes. We will 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 final deadline for entries is midnight on Friday 28th June 2019 Please note that all firms/individuals nominated must be members of the Surrey Law Society.
How do I nominate?
Nominating couldn't be easier! Simply: 1. Provide a brief covering letter 2. Provide a written submission of up to 750 words which addresses the criteria for the category in which you are nominating. 3. 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. Please send all completed nominations to: Hilary Underwood, Interim CEO Surrey Law Society, by email : hilary.underwood@surreylawsociety.org,uk.
When do the judges consider the nominations?
Between 28th June and 19th July 2019.
When will the shortlist be announced?
The shortlisted individuals/firms will be contacted during the week commencing 22nd July 2019.
When will the winners be announced?
The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner and Ceremony on Thursday 19th September 2019 at the Mandolay Hotel Guildford.
Who can attend the Awards Dinner?
Tickets will be 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 catergory, its criteria or the nomination process.
Email: hilary.underwood@surreylawsociety.org.uk or phone: 0333 577 3830 Mobile : 07597 582400