Pinsent Masons, Travers Smith and easyJet were among the major winners at the 2021 Legal Business Awards, which returned as a live event following the pandemic, bringing together 600 guests in Covid-safe conditions at the Grosvenor House hotel last night (30 September).
Hosted by prominent political figure William Hague, the evening saw Pinsents crowned Law Firm of the Year for a third time, with judges impressed by the firm’s desire to match strong financial performance with its commitment to ESG principles, client handling and innovation.
Travers, meanwhile picked up two awards – CSR Programme of the Year and David Patient, who led the firm with distinction as managing partner until handing the baton over in July, was named Management Partner of the Year.
Maakie de Bie, easyJet’s highly respected general counsel, was named GC of the Year while her legal team had a strong night overall. The airline also came Highly Commended in the In-House Team of the Year category behind the winner EDF Energy, while Rebecca Mills was Highly Commended in the Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year category in which Chris Thomas of Brewin Dolphin was chosen as the winner.
Elsewhere, US firms Cleary Gottlieb and Kirkland & Ellis enjoyed successful evenings. Cleary won Corporate Team of the Year for advising advising Euronext on its acquisition of Borsa Italiana from the London Stock Exchange, while the firm was runner-up in CSR category to Travers. Kirkland was also a runner-up in the US Law firm of the Year category, which went to Simpson Thacher, but did pick up one of the most highly contested awards of the evening – Restructuring Team of the Year.
Elsewhere, Gowling WLG also deserves mention for being named joint runner-up in the TMT Team of the Year category, alongside Bristows, for their work on either side of Oxford/AstraZeneca deal to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, while also winning Competition Team of the Year for successfully representing Preventx in a dispute with Royal Mail over access to the Freepost service. Sidley emerged victorious in the prestigious Private Equity Team of the Year category, while Freshfields was awarded Commercial Litigation Team of the Year after standing out for representing WEX in a groundbreaking material adverse cost case related to the Covid pandemic.
A special thanks goes to our external judging panel of prominent general counsel who selected the winners. They are: Kate Cheetham, group general counsel, Lloyds Banking Group; Chris Fowler, GC Technology, BT; Nigel Paterson, GC and company secretary, Dixons Carphone; Ruwan De Soyza, GC and company secretary, Xplor; Lucy Vernall, GC and chief people officer, Funding Circle; Christian Keim, head of international legal, Adobe; Neil Murrin, GC and director – regulatory affairs, Trainline; Angus McBride, GC, News UK; Geoffrey Timms, GC and company secretary, Legal & General; Matt Wilson, GC, Fremantle; Nayeem Syed, senior director – technology, procurement and IP, London Stock Exchange Group; and Kate Danson, group general counsel, SThree.
A full list of the winners can be seen below, and our November/December edition will include a full report of the night. For more detail on the awards in general, please click here.
Legal Business Awards 2021 – The Winners
RPC – TMT Team of the Year
Latham & Watkins – Finance Team of the Year
Skadden – International Arbitration Team of the Year
Kirkland & Ellis – Restructuring Team of the Year
Gowling WLG – Competition Team of the Year
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – Commercial Litigation Team of the Year
Forsters – Private Client Team of the Year
Hebert Smith Freehills – Insurance Team of the Year
Cleary Gottlieb – Corporate Team of the Year
Sidley – Private Equity Team of the Year
CMS UK – Real Estate Team of the Year
Tapestry Compliance – Boutique Law Firm of the Year
Scania – Most Transformative In-House Team of the Year
Diala Minott, Paul Hastings – Lawyer of the Year
Travers Smith – CSR Programme of the Year
Arthur Cox – International Firm of the Year
Chris Thomas, Brewin Dolphin – Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year
EDF Energy – In-House Team of the Year
David Patient, Travers Smith – Management Partner of the Year
Simpson Thacher – US Law Firm of the Year
Maaike de Bie, easyJet – GC of the Year
Crown Office Chambers – Chambers of the Year
Shoosmiths – Legal Technology Team of the Year
Setfords – Regional/Offshore Firm of the Year
Pinsent Masons – Law Firm of the Year