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The Welsh legal sector gathered last Friday to celebrate the talents of the best law teams in Wales as well as presenting one of Wales’s top lawyers with an award for her outstanding contribution to the profession.

This year’s outstanding contribution award went to Kathryn Roberts, Chair of Evershed Sutherland’s international business who is not only overseeing operations in the UK, Europe, Middle East, and Asia but is also co-chair of the firm’s Global Board.

In addition to legal team awards, the evening celebrated leadership and management, equality, diversity and inclusion, and also marketing initiatives, rising stars and legal PAs in the legal sector in Wales. Law Firm of the Year award went to Watkins & Gunn, while GS Verde was named Overall Team of the Year. The title of Niche Law Firm of the Year was given to specialist immigration firm Newfields (for the third time, having previously won this category in 2020 and 2022).

According to awards co-founder, Charlotte Leyshon, it is important that the scope of the awards have been expanded to include everyone who contributes to excellence in legal sector in Wales:

“We know the impact that the legal profession is having on so many aspects of our lives in Wales every day and Welsh law firms are not only growing and diversifying their offering within but making a real difference to the practice of law. We are also delighted that the awards are not only recognising the excellent work of Welsh lawyers but also the contribution of everyone else working in the legal sector.”

In her acceptance speech, Kathryn said she was pleased to see progress across the legal community in addressing issues of diversity, equality and inclusion, and said:

“The Welsh legal community is very different to the one I joined thirty years ago when your background, your age and your gender could really hold you back and stop you progressing. We’ve come a long way since then and there is still a long way to go, so let’s make sure as a sector in Wales that we are as diverse as possible, that we are inclusive and open, and that everyone can get on regardless of where they come from and what they look like.”

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, chairman of the judging panel, said Kathryn was a clear choice for the outstanding contribution award, having ‘led by example, shattering the glass ceiling and becoming an inspiration for many to follow in her footsteps’, and said:

“Not only has she achieved so much in her professional career by becoming chair of one of the largest full-service law firms in the world but as a committed advocate for the promotion of diversity, gender parity and social mobility in the legal profession, she has led by example, shattering the glass ceiling and becoming an inspiration for many to follow in her footsteps.”

Ieuan Leigh, CEO of Validient – headline sponsor for this year’s awards, added:

“The Wales Legal Awards not only celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding legal professionals but also serve as a benchmark for the entire Welsh legal community to strive for excellence. As a lawtech firm, we understand the transformative power of technology in revolutionising the practice of law and by sponsoring these awards, we aim to spotlight and support innovation in the legal field and help the legal profession to evolve in a way that benefits society as a whole.”

The 2023 winners are:

Outstanding contribution award

Kath Roberts, Eversheds Sutherland

Legal team of the year

GS Verde

Law Firm of the Year

Watkins and Gunn

Niche Law Firm of the Year Award


Equality Diversity & Inclusion Award

Thompsons Solicitors

Excellence in Legal Management Award

Gomer Williams

Commercial Litigation Team of the Year


Corporate & Commercial Team of the Year

GS Verde Group

Employment Team of the Year

Darwin Gray LLP

Family Team of the Year

Robertsons Solicitors

Private Client Team of the Year

Blake Morgan

Public Law Team of the Year

Browne Jacobson

Real Estate Team of the Year

Darwin Gray

Residential Conveyancing Team of the Year

JCP Solicitors

Rising Star of the Year

  • Amber Ellis-Martin, RDP Law
  • Rhiannon Phillips, Reeds Solicitors

Legal Personal Assistant of the Year

Claire Dutton, Eversheds Sutherland

Marketing & Business Development Award

Harding Evans Solicitors

Professional Services firm of the Year

Forensic Resources