The 22nd annual Legal Business Awards featured more than 1,000 guests in a gala ceremony on 28 March 2019, hosted by comedian, writer and actress Meera Syal.

Before the Awards, in-house guests gathered for the launch of our seventh annual GC Powerlist, with key representatives from FTSE 100 companies such as BAE Systems, Anglo American and Rolls-Royce in attendance.

Then it was time to move to the Great Room at Grosvenor House for this year’s Legal Business Awards, with Legal Business editor-in-chief Alex Novarese welcoming the host and guests alike. Pinsent Masons was the big winner on the night, being crowned Law Firm of the Year after impressing judges with its performance in areas such as client satisfaction, CSR and innovation, in addition to strong financial results.

Pinsents’ night had started strongly with the firm also winning Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year alongside Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) and Heathrow Airport. BCLP also won the coveted Private Client Team of the Year.

It was a big night for Kirkland & Ellis too. The world’s highest-grossing firm secured one of the most sought-after awards, Private Equity Team of the Year, for a second year running. The US powerhouse was also a close contender for Law Firm of the Year.

It was a strong year for US firms, with White & Case winning US Law Firm of the Year, while Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher was named Corporate Team of the Year. Davis Polk & Wardwell, meanwhile, won Finance Team of the Year.

In other key practice categories, Simmons & Simmons and Travers Smith collaborated to win Commercial Litigation Team of the Year, while Network Rail won In-House House Team of the Year and Real Estate Team of the Year for its work on Project Condor: Clifford Chance and Eversheds Sutherland were also jointly awarded the accolade for their work on that project.

Individually, Richard Miskella of Lewis Silkin won the illustrious Lawyer of the Year award for his work on #MeToo-related investigations for The Old Vic and subsequent pro bono work in this area. Nick Thomas of Kennedys was named Management Partner of the Year for his long and successful run as senior partner, while Funding Circle’s Lucy Vernall won GC of the Year and Frances Coats of The Ardonagh Group was named Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year.

Other major awards saw the debut Chambers of the Year award go to 3 Verulam Buildings, after reversing its fortunes to produce a robust performance in recent years. Northridge Law, meanwhile, won Boutique Law Firm of the Year, Herbert Smith Freehills was crowned Insurance Team of the Year and International firm of the Year went to A&L Goodbody.

The winners were selected by an external judging panel comprising the following senior GCs: Nigel Paterson, GC and company secretary, Dixons Carphone; Anna Cosgrave, head of legal, graze; Ruwan De Soyza, GC, Worldpay; Rushad Abadan, GC, Standard Life Aberdeen; Charlotte Heiss, group chief legal officer and company secretary, RSA; Neil Murrin, GC and director – regulatory affairs, Trainline; Richard Price, GC and company secretary, Anglo American; Angus McBride, GC, News UK; Geoffrey Timms, GC and company secretary, Legal & General; Kirsty Cooper, GC and company secretary, Aviva; Dan Guildford, GC, The Financial Times; Nayeem Syed, assistant GC, Refinitiv; Liz Tanner, director of legal services, SSE; Elizabeth Messud, group legal director, Kingfisher; Joanne Jolly, GC and company secretary – insurance and wealth, Lloyds Banking Group; and Jeremy Barton, GC, KPMG UK; as well as Mark McAteer and Alex Novarese from Legal Business.

We would like to thank our headline sponsor NatWest for the Legal Business Awards and RPC for the GC Powerlist, as well as other commercial partners for making the night a success. A special thanks also goes out to our external judging panel, all of whom helped to create a memorable night of celebration for everyone involved.

Our May edition included a full report of the night.

Nominees & Winners