The 10th Manchester Legal Awards

Jonathan Thomas & Adam Salkie18 March 2019

This was the 10th year of the biggest event in Manchester’s legal calendar, and we had the huge honour of being the principal sponsor.  Fran Eccles-Bech, chief executive of the Manchester Law Society, and her team’s tireless efforts were once again rewarded with a hugely entertaining, memorable and enjoyable evening at the Manchester Legal Awards.  Here’s how the night went…

Historical venue

The Midland hotel is undoubtedly still Manchester’s finest hotel and the perfect setting for an awards night of this nature.  With a rich history, the walls can tell many a tale – from the first meeting between Mr. Rolls and Mr. Royce which led to the beginning of Rolls Royce cars, to the Queen Mother dining at the hotel after attending a Royal Variety Performance at the Palace Theatre in the 1950’s.  The venue playing host to a room full of legal professionals who together are successfully helping to shape and transform the region’s legal landscape, is very fitting.  The ambiance, warmth and charm of the Midland Hotel provides a great backdrop to an event of this nature, and all the staff on the night were engaging, friendly and extremely helpful.

Applause all round
As the drinks were flowing and guests sampled a fine three-course meal, the awards were presented with panache and wit by John Hyde, from the Law Society Gazette.  The sold-out event saw the room full to the rafters with an expectant audience, ready to congratulate all the nominees and of, course the award winners.  Twenty awards were presented on the night, each one highlighting the high-quality work on display across the region.
Here’s the full list of winners…

Trainee/Paralegal of the Year: Dovid Black, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Solicitor of the Year: Ruth Fairhurst, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
Pro Bono/Community Initiative: Hall Brown Family Law
Law Firm Innovation: Ward Hadaway
Crime - Team of the Year: Burton Copeland LLP
Corporate/Commercial - Team of the Year: Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
Employment - Team of the Year: Stephensons Solicitors LLP

Family - Team of the Year: McAlister Family Law
Litigation - Team of the Year: JMW Solicitors LLP
Personal Injury/Clinical Negligence - Team of the Year: CFG Law
Private Client - Team of the Year: Weightmans LLP
Property - Team of the Year: Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
Regulatory - Team of the Year: JMW Solicitors LLP
Barrister of the Year: Kate Blackwell QC, Lincoln House Chambers
Barristers’ Chambers of the Year: Lincoln House Chambers

Partner of the Year: Eddie Jones, JMW Solicitors LLP
Law Firm of the Year - Small (1-5 partners nationally): Hall Brown Family Law
Law Firm of the Year - Medium (6-20 partners nationally): Pannone Corporate
Law Firm of the Year - Large (20+ partners nationally): JMW Solicitors LLP

Lifetime Achievement: Hilary Meredith, Hilary Meredith Solicitors

Acknowledging change
As much as celebrating excellent achievement in the industry across the region, the awards help highlight how legal services have changed across Manchester, as well as shining a spotlight on those who have spearheaded their positive development over the years.  One such person is Hilary Meredith who won the Lifetime Achievement award. On presenting the award to Hilary, Michelle Garlick, President of the Manchester Law Society commented on Hilary’s fight for women to be equally represented in the industry throughout her career, as well as all she has done for the rights of those working in the military, including veterans and their families. For those not at the awards, waking up to the news of Hilary having deservedly won the Lifetime Achievement Award was very appropriate, especially with it being International Women’s Day come the Friday morning.
Quite a few of those who accepted awards on the night commented on the growth of their individual firms and the increase in transactions. One thing the awards definitely did showcase is the fact that ever more market-leading work is being done here in Manchester, such work which historically could only have been found in London. 

Charity wins too
The Manchester Legal Awards does not only reward the legal talent hotbed of Manchester – worthy as they are, but also a charitable cause. This year’s chosen charity was the Greater Manchester Youth Network, and what a fantastic cause it is.  They help disadvantaged young people across the region feel safe and valued, enabling confidence and ambition to take the necessary steps towards a brighter future.
There was a silent auction from the night, which yielded some great prizes, including,

•           Five Star Three Night Monaco Grand Prix Break 2019 For Two People
•           Three Night Stay in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Complete with Wine and Oyster Tour
•           Luxury Golf Day at The World-Famous Turnberry Resort For 4 People With 5* Overnight Stay

•           Two Corporate Box Seats with Complimentary Bar to See Westlife In First Direct Arena, Leeds on Monday 10th June 2019, and so much more.

We’ll be doing it all again
It was a privilege to be even a small part of such a fantastic event as the headline sponsor of these prestigious awards.  And as it was confirmed at the ceremony on Thursday evening, we are thrilled to be able to share we will be next year’s principal sponsor too.
That leaves us to say a big thank you to all the organisers for a wonderful evening, congratulations again to all the winners and nominees, and here’s to MLA2020!

Having started as a fledgling legal recruitment consultancy back in 2011, Interlink Recruitment has grown alongside the successful legal market in Manchester to become the sizable firm we are today.  Our team are well connected with law firms of all sorts and sizes across the region and have the pleasure of working with some of the most talented legal professionals in the area.  If you need help recruiting for your firm, or in securing your own next legal role, then contact us

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