The winners of the annual Dorset Legal Awards were announced during an exclusive black-tie awards ceremony at the Bournemouth International Centre on Friday 1st March. The event brought together some of the top legal professionals and firms from across the county to recognise the achievements of the legal sector in the region.
Blanchards Bailey was one of the biggest winners of the evening, successfully receiving the awards for Law Firm of the Year (with up to 99 Employees), Company Commercial Team of the Year and Private Client Team of the Year. Meanwhile, Ellis Jones won Dispute Resolution Team of the Year and Engagement with Education. Clair Phillips at Ellis Jones took home Rising Star of the Year.
Of the three individual awards up for grabs, Dutton Gregory dominated the ceremony, with William Warnock and Emma Menzies taking home Lawyer of the Year and Partner of the Year respectively.
This year’s Dorset Legal Awards also featured a new “mystery shopper” element which contributed to the final results. Each firm was awarded a score on their rapport with the prospective client, their knowledge of the enquiry, and how valued the client felt. It was the overall client experience, across multiple departments, which helped Laceys to be crowned as winners of the prestigious Law Firm of the Year (100+ employees) award.
Robert Rutherford, CEO of QuoStar and Sofie Scott, Managing Director at ASH Elite, hosted the evening where guests were wined and dined as the awards were announced. A live band provided the evening’s entertainment, allowing contestants to celebrate all the hard work achieved within the sector.
The finalists were judged by an independent panel of notable legal and business professionals including Dr John Knowles, former Chairman of DEK; Darren Slade, Business and Technology Editor of the Bournemouth Daily Echo; barrister Vanessa Meachin QC; and Ian Scott, retired senior corporate Solicitor.
QuoStar’s CEO, Robert Rutherford, comments:
“Many people believe that sequels never can top the original, but this year’s instalment of the DLA completely debunked that theory. The competition was fiercer than ever and succeeding in showcasing the amazing work that these individuals and firms have done throughout the year. Adding the mystery shopper feature to the final scores was an important element to make sure the firm’s engagement with clients was fairly taken into account. For those who have won, we wish them a huge congratulations for their contribution to the sector. We hope to see everyone again this time next year!”
ASH Elite’s Managing Director, Sofie Scott, comments:
“From the first entry to the last face-to-face interview, the panel of judges have been blown away by the quality, knowledge and skills of the Dorset legal community. Across all categories, it has been incredibly difficult to select just one as the winner, and never before have we seen such close calls as we did this year. It is an honour and a privilege to work alongside the legal professionals in this county and we hope these awards will help showcase
Rising Star of the Year
Clair Phillips, Ellis Jones
Lawyer of the Year – Sponsored by Smith & Williamson
William Warnock, Dutton Gregory
Partner of the Year – Sponsored by Saffrey Champness
Emma Menzies, Dutton Gregory
Company Commercial Team of the Year
Dispute Resolution Team of the Year – Sponsored by insight6
Family Team of the Year – Sponsored by Iceberg
In-House Team of the Year
Personal Injury/Clinical Negligence Team of the Year
Private Client Team of the Year – Sponsored by Iceberg
Property Team of the Year – Sponsored by JLT Specialty
Contribution to the Community
Engagement with Education – Sponsored by Bournemouth University
Law Firm of the Year (up to 99 employees) – Sponsored by Smith & Williamson
Law Firm of the Year (100+ employees) – Sponsored by Saffery Champness