The Legal Business Awards > Categories > Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year

At a glance

2019 Winner

  • Frances Coats

2019 Shortlisted

  • Gordon Blakeway | Knight Frank
  • Angelique de Lafontaine | Bupa
  • Nicola Hughes | Marsh & McLennan

Previous Years

Select a year below to download a .pdf of the previous winners and nominees.

Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year

Tying in with our annual GC Powerlist report in recognising outstanding achievements by in-house lawyers below group general counsel level, this award will focus on the rising stars tipped for great things by their colleagues, peers and advisers.

2019 Winner

Frances Coats

The Ardonagh Group

Cited by the group’s CFO as a real asset, Coats heads up the non-contentious legal team at Ardonagh. After jointly leading the five-way merger and the bond, bank finance and convertible debt refinancing that created the group in 2017, the last 12 months have seen her lead on one of the group’s acquisitions as well as further crucial financings that needed to be carefully structured to fold into the group’s existing arrangements.


Gordon Blakeway

Knight Frank

The real estate business’ only lawyer Blakeway is described by colleagues as ‘the next superstar’, and is praised for his intellect and approachability. Not only does he handle all legal issues such as corporate, GDPR and intellectual property for Knight Frank, but also found time to set up Next Generation Counsel, a popular in-house networking group.

Angelique de Lafontaine


Bupa senior legal adviser Angelique de Lafontaine was the legal lead on the international healthcare company’s launch of a digital innovation incubator named Blue Table. She has also been consistently praised for work outside of day-to-day tasks and singled out for praise by Bupa chief legal officer Penny Dudley: ‘her work has been critical for us.’

Nicola Hughes

Marsh & McLennan

Head of privacy for Marsh UK & Ireland in addition to her role as a senior litigation lawyer, Hughes has won plaudits from colleagues, the insurance industry body and law firm partners for her work preparing Marsh for the GDPR and demonstrating thought leadership through her work with the UK insurance industry to lobby for crucial changes to data protection legislation.