The Wales Legal Awards 2020 winners were announced via a studio live-stream broadcast on the evening of Friday 11 September.
The Wales Legal Awards were established to celebrate the success of those practising in and providing services to the legal profession in Wales.
Co-Founders Charlotte Leyshon and Dylan Jones-Evans OBE hosted the awards ceremony live, from a studio in South Wales, airing announcements from the judges, while the finalists waited in a live-linked Zoom room.
Leyshon, who is also Founder of Lux Family Law, said:
“Our awards ethos – to celebrate excellence and support the legal sector in Wales – has been even more important during the last six months. During the judging process we have seen the outstanding commitment, creativity and true grit on display from legal teams across Wales to support their clients during these most extraordinary of times.
“What has truly come through is that the Welsh legal sector is a community – the generosity and support that we have all shown each other is undeniable. That is why this year it was more important than ever for us to celebrate all of our hard work even if that was remotely.”
The finalists for the awards we announced earlier this year, before undertaking virtual interviews with the judges so the panel could determine the winner. The judging panel included Presidents of the regional Welsh law societies, respected lawyers and leaders of laws firms in Wales & beyond, and sector specialists, from Amandeep Gill, Thomson Reuters to John Hyde, Deputy News Editor at the Law Gazette. The judges’ profiles can be found here.
Jones-Evans, said ‘the awards really helped to rally the sector at this challenging time, and added:
“This year’s shortlisted entries across all the categories demonstrate again the outstanding commitment, creativity and true grit on display from law firms in supporting their clients and employees during these most extraordinary times.
“We could not have had these awards without the constant support of our sponsors namely Yolk Recruitment, Bartholomew Hawkins, Global X, Grant Stephens Family Law, LawWorks Cymru, Linenhall Chambers, Lux Family Law, Mrs Buckét, SLD Wealth Management and Stowe Family Law.”
Donations still open for St David’s Hospice Care
The awards supported St David’s Hospice Care this year and the founders have encouraged all those who watched the event or would like to help, to make a donation to the charity. At a time when charities are losing out due to a lack of corporate events, they urge law firms to donate anything they can – especially as the pot will be doubled!
Nathan Vidini, Founder & Director of AltraLaw, the UK’s First Not-For-Profit Law Firm and a winner at this year’s awards has said the firm will generously DOUBLE the donation pot.
To donate, please visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/waleslegalawards20
The Wales Legal Awards 2020 winners
Boutique Law Firm of the Year
Kindly sponsored by Bartholomew Hawkins
Commercial Litigation Team of the Year
Winner: Geldards LLP
Corporate & Commercial Team of the Year
Winner: Acuity Law
Corporate Social Responsibility Team of the Year
Employment Team of the Year
Winner: NWSSP Legal & Risk Services
Family Team of the Year
Kindly sponsored by Linenhall Chambers
Winner: Hopkins Law
In-House Team of the Year
Winner: Welsh Rugby Union Group
Innovation in Response to Covid-19
Kindly sponsored by Stowe Family Law
Winner: Agri Advisor Legal LLP
Law Firm of the Year
Kindly sponsored by Mrs Bucket
Winner: Acuity Law
Personal Injury Team of the Year
Winner: Redkite Solicitors
Private Client team of the Year
Kindly sponsored by SLD Wealth Management
Winner: NewLaw Solicitors
Public Law Team of the Year
Kindly sponsored by LawWorks Cymru
Winner: Watkins & Gunn
Real Estate Team of the Year
Winner: Blake Morgan
Regulatory & White Collar Crime Team of the Year
Winner: Richard Nelson LLP
Residential Conveyancing Team of the Year
Kindly sponsored by GlobalX
Winner: Hek Jones Solicitors
Rising Star of the Year
Kindly sponsored by Grant Stephens Family Law
Winner: Molly Fensome-Lush, Clarke Willmott LLP
Services Professional Team of the Year
Winner: Stokes Case Management
Overall Team of the Year award
This category, sponsored by Yolk Recruitment, was the judges’ choice category, to pick a winner of winners from across all the teams-based categories.
The winner of the 2020 Overall Team of the Year Award went to the Real Estate Team at Blake Morgan.
Sarah Castle, Divisional Head of Legal at Yolk Recruitment, said:
“Blake Morgan’s Real Estate Team stood out to the judging panel for several reasons. The added value they offer to its clients, both local and national includes an established project management team made up of surveyors, project managers and cost consultants based in Cardiff. It’s the first firm in the UK to offer that service to its clients to offer the ultimate client experience.
“The panel was impressed with the mix of clientele, including social housing, health and social care, government, education and the charity sector to name a few. It stood out as ambassadors for Wales in this field and spoke passionately about their work. Congratulations to the entire team!”
The judges’ comments
You can catch up on the event below to hear what the judges have to say about the winners, and why they were chosen.
Finally, Dylan closed the ceremony by celebrating the dynamic response to an incredibly challenging year, and for supporting the awards when the sector and their clients continue to face significant pressure. He said:
“This year’s shortlisted entries across all the categories demonstrate again the outstanding commitment, creativity and true grit on display from law firms in supporting their clients and employees during these most extraordinary times. Our congratulations to all the finalists and, of course, this year’s winners.”
“Our many thanks again to Yolk Recruitment and the category sponsors and to the production team at Genero Group who have made these online ‘hybrid’ awards work so brilliantly. Also, to the fantastic Emma Waddingham, our event manager, for everything she has done to bring us all together over the last few months, and to Legal News Wales, for publicising the awards so well from the start.”
The hybrid virtual / in-person event and the virtual awards interview process proved that professional communities can engage, despite Covid-19 restrictions. Peter Leckie Managing Director Genero Creative Group, said:
“In an uncertain time for us all, particularly the events industry, it was an honour to host the Hybrid Wales Legal Awards from our Studio G. We were delighted to work with Charlotte, Dylan, and long-time supporter of Genero Group, Emma Waddingham Consulting once again, to activate all sponsorships and truly celebrate the award finalists and winners, ensuring that the legal teams of Wales received the mark of distinction they so thoroughly deserved. Congratulations to the organisers, and all of the finalists and winners!”
For more information, please visit waleslegalawards.com for more.