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Legal 'legend' given lifetime award by Birmingham Law Society

Chris Owen's 50-year career recognised at last night's ceremony as West Midlands legal sector is celebrated at annual awards

Chris Owen collects his lifetime achievement award at the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards 2017
Chris Owen collects his lifetime achievement award at the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards 2017

A stalwart of the Midlands legal sector who has served clients for half a century has been recognised at the 2017 Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards.

Chris Owen, the former chief executive of St Philips Chambers in Birmingham, was given a lifetime achievement award at last night's ceremony at the International Convention Centre.

The son of a policeman, Mr Owen started his career in 1968 as a clerk at a firm in Leicester, later holding a number of senior positions at barristers' chambers in London and Birmingham, including 7 Bedford Row and St Philips Chambers.

He was a member of the Bar's equality and diversity committee and its pro bono unit and also served on Birmingham Law Society's council, acting as chairman for four years.

The society's current president John Hughes said: "There is no one more deserving of this accolade than Chris.

"Widely regarded in the profession as a 'legend' and the best connected person in the law, throughout his career he has worked tirelessly to promote Birmingham as a centre for legal excellence and it is only fitting that his efforts are recognised in this way."

The annual awards have been held since 2002 and recognise the achievements of those working in the legal profession across the West Midlands.

The other winners from the 2017 ceremony were (click through here to read the full shortlist):

Law Firm of the Year (16+ partners)

Eversheds Sutherland

Law Firm of the Year (five to 15 partners)

The Community Law Partnership

Law Firm of the Year (sole practitioners up to four partners)

Fountain Solicitors

Corporate Team of the Year

DLA Piper UK

In-House Team of the Year

Coventry City Council

Corporate Social Responsibility/Pro bono Lawyer of the Year

Lorna Gavin, Gowling WLG

Winners at the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards 2017
Winners at the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards 2017

Paralegal of the Year

Kiri Tamber, Anthony Collins Solicitors

Partner of the Year

Rebecca Warren, Pinsent Masons

Barrister of the Year

Edward Pepperall QC, St Philips Chambers

Chartered Legal Executive of the Year

Norman Rea, Dignity Funeral Services

Assistant/Associate Solicitor of the Year

Sheree Green, Anthony Collins Solicitors

Trainee Solicitor of the Year

Matthew McDonald, Trowers & Hamlins

Mr Hughes added: "Birmingham has one of the best legal centres in the world and all of this year's winners and finalists demonstrate the strength and depth of legal talent we have, not just in Birmingham, but across the whole of the region."

More than 550 people attended this year's awards which was hosted by former BBC broadcaster and one-time Strictly Come Dancing star John Sergeant.

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