In what has proved the largest Legal Business Awards ever held, DLA Piper, Slaughter and May and Vodafone were last night (13 February) among the winners of major prizes in front of well over 1,000 guests.
DLA Piper was named Law Firm of the Year, ahead of a shortlist including RPC, Holman Fenwick Willan, Mishcon de Reya, Stewarts Law, PwC Legal and Axiom in the wake of two years of renewed global growth and ambition.
The night was also marked by the return of Legal Business’ GC Power List report in an expanded format, with a reception held alongside the main awards to mark the report’s 2014 launch, attended by 100 corporate counsel from bluechip companies.
The report highlighted 101 rising stars working in-house.
In the main awards, Vodafone was named In-House Team of the Year, edging out a shortlist including BT, ITV and Shell. A new category – Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year – was won by ITV’s Barry Matthews.
The awards, now in their 17th year, were held at London’s Grosvenor House with the distinguished broadcaster Jeremy Vine hosting the evening. Other flagship awards saw disputes leader Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan named US Law Firm of the Year, while Burness Paull won for best regional player. Leading German independent Noerr was named International Firm of the Year.
In the practice awards, Slaughters was named Corporate Team of the Year for its work on the most high-profile privatisation in a generation for Royal Mail. Disputes Team of the Year was handed to Jones Day and Memery Crystal, who stood out for their work successfully representing separate defendants in a high-profile $1.6bn claim brought by Excalibur.
RPC was named Competition Team of the Year, while Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance respectively secured awards for finance and private equity.
In the individual awards, 2 Bedford Row’s Maura McGowan QC won Lawyer of the Year for her work as Bar Council chair combatting cuts to legal aid, while DWF’s Andrew Leaitherland was named Management Partner of the Year for work in driving his firm’s dramatic growth in recent years.
Other winners included Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for CSR and Eversheds for Real Estate Team of the Year, while Simmons & Simmons, Mishcon de Reya and Weil, Gotshal & Manges also picked up practice awards.
The awards were held after 12 months of sustained expansion at Legal Business including a total overhaul of its website, sustained editorial investment and the launch of its acclaimed iPad edition, which now has more than 1,000 subscribers.
The Legal Business Awards and GC Power List will return in 2015 in expanded and updated format.
TMT Team of the Year – Wragge & Co
Finance Team of the Year – Allen & Overy
Restructuring Team of the Year – Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Employment, Pensions & Benefits Team of the Year – Hogan Lovells
Real Estate Team of the Year – Eversheds
Insurance Team of the Year – Simmons & Simmons
Energy & Natural Resources Team of the Year – Pinsent Masons
Competition Team of the Year – RPC
Lawyer of the Year – Maura McGowan QC, 2 Bedford Row
International Firm of the Year – Noerr
In-House Team of the Year – Vodafone
Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year – Barry Matthews, ITV
Private Client Team of the Year – Mishcon de Reya
Dispute Resolution Team of the Year – Jones Day and Memery Crystal
CSR Programme of the Year – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Legal Technology Team of the Year – Taylor Wessing
Corporate Team of the Year – Slaughter and May
Private Equity Team of the Year – Clifford Chance
US Law Firm of the Year – Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
Management Partner of the Year – Andrew Leaitherland, DWF
National/Regional Firm of the Year – Burness Paull
Law Firm of the Year – DLA Piper