The winners of the first Dorset Legal Awards were announced at a ceremony at the BIC in Bournemouth.
The Daily Echo-backed event was organized by business IT consultancy QuoStar and legal recruitment agency ASH Elite.
Ellis Jones was named Law Firm of the Year in the 10-plus partners category and also took home Lawyer of the Year, for senior associate Paul Kanolik, and Lifetime Achivement Award for managing partner Nigel Smith.
Laceys won Company Commercial Team and Property Team, with Sam Freeman named Partner of the Year.
Robert Rutherford, chief executive of QuoStar, and Sofie Scott, managing director at ASH Elite, hosted the evening.
Supporters included Conker Spirit, the Bournemouth Daily Echo and South Coast Events.
Mr Rutherford said: “The first ever Dorset Legal Awards has been a hotly anticipated event with law firms from around the region vying for a chance to win.
“This has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase the amazing work that these individuals and firms have done. It’s an understatement to say that the final decisions were not easy to make.”
Ms Scott said: “We are incredibly proud of being able to work with and showcase such fantastic legal talent we have here in Dorset. From 216 original entries, 14 winners have now been crowned and we are already looking forward to seeing what next year’s awards will bring.“I would also like to extend a special thank you to all of our category sponsors; Charles Stanley, Iceberg and Saffery Champness. Without your support, the awards would not be possible.”
Lifetime Achievement award-winner Nigel Smith of Ellis Jones said: “This has been a fantastic year for Ellis Jones and we’re very proud that so many of our team were up for awards.
“The county’s legal sector is booming with more than 200 practices employing over 1,000 qualified legal professionals so to be shortlisted for an award, let alone win, is a huge feather in our cap.”
Roger Leedham, senior partner at Coles Miller, said: “We’re very proud to have won the Engagement with Education Award.
“Coles Miller sponsors Parkstone Grammar School as part of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry Young Chamber program. It’s a wonderful way to support a local school with such enthusiasm for its students.
“We’ve also agreed to engage further as Enterprise Advisers as part of the Careers & Enterprise Company, a government-backed scheme to support schools further with careers advice for young students.”
Winners were as follows.
Company Commercial Team: Laceys.
Contribution to the Community: Kitson & Trotman.
Dispute Resolution Team: Blanchards Bailey.
Engagement With Education: Coles Miller.
Family Team: Williams Thompson.
Law Firm (10-plus partners): Ellis Jones.
Personal Injury/Clinical Negligence Team: Dutton Gregory.
Private Client Team: Blanchards Bailey.
Property Team: Laceys.
Law Firm (up to 10 partners): Farnfields.
Lawyer: Paul Kanolik, Ellis Jones.
Lifetime Achievement: Nigel Smith, Ellis Jones.
Partner: Sam Freeman, Laceys.
Rising Star: Emma Tullis, Mustoe Shorter Solicitors & Advocates.
- Blanchards Bailey (company commercial team),
- Farnfields (family team),
- Nicola Walker of Harold G Walker (partner),
- Woodstock Property Law (small firm).
A huge congratulations to all of our winners and those who received special commendations!