Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards winners. Front: Ekateriha Wild (DWF), Jane Plant (Weightmans), Hayley Simonds (Mills & Reeeve), Pam Sanghera (The Family Firm Solicitors), Victoria Garrad (Gateley). Middle: Sam Harris (Weightmans), Caroline Coates (DWF), David Ho (Christien Lee & Co), Richard Adkins (St Philips). Back : Phil Shiner (Public Interest Lawyers), Dean Parnell (Sydney Mitchell), Martin Allsopp (BLS president), Anthony Collins.
Gateley has been named Law Firm of the Year at the 2014 Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards.
The Birmingham-based firm beat rivals FBC Manby Bowdler, Higgs & Sons Solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, Keoghs, Mills & Reeve, and SGH Martineau to win the coveted title in the 16 partners and more category.
The awards were presented at a black tie dinner at the ICC, which was attended by more than 560 people.
Gateley’s win follows a year of strong consolidation for the firm as it continued to grow its profile, both regionally and nationally, making significant investment through a number of senior hires.
The firm also reported positive 2012/13 financial figures, which saw fee income increase by ten per cent. Fees for the Birmingham office increased by 14 per cent.
Gateley also saw its staff numbers rise to 752, of which 261 work in Birmingham, compared to 243 the year before.
In the Law Firm of the Year (sole practitioner to four partners) and Law Firm of the Year (five to 15 partners) categories there were awards for Christine Lee & Co (Solicitors) and Sydney Mitchell respectively.
In the individual categories, Caroline Coates of DWF was named Partner of the Year, Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers won International Lawyer of the Year, and Richard Atkins QC was awarded Barrister of the Year.
There were also awards for Jane Plant and Sam Harris of Weightmans, who won Assistant/Associate Solicitor of the Year and Paralegal of the Year respectively, Pam Sanghera of The Family Firm Solicitors, who won Chartered Legal Executive of the Year, and Ekaterina Wild of DWF, who was named Trainee Solicitor of the Year.
The final category, Corporate Social Responsibility/Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, was won by Hayley Simonds of Mills & Reeve.
Birmingham Law Society’s special Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to the region’s legal profession, was presented to Anthony Collins, founder of Anthony Collins Solicitors.
Martin Allsopp, president of Birmingham Law Society, said: “Despite the continued threats and challenges the legal profession faces, these awards demonstrate the strength and resilience of the region’s firms to put in strong performances over the last 12 months.
“The judges were impressed by how the winning firms are continuing to carve out a reputation for being leaders in their respective fields and their commitment to business and staff development.
“The judges were equally impressed by all of this year’s individual finalists, from trainees starting their legal careers to experienced partners leading teams and firms. This has definitely been one of the strongest finalist line-ups we have had for a number of years.”
The Legal Awards were sponsored by Bell Cornwall, Birmingham Airport, Chiltern Railways, Giles Insurance Brokers, Key Forensic Services, Landmark Information Group, No5 Chambers, PHS Data Solutions, Rathbones, Severn Trent Searches, St Philips Chambers, Turkish Airlines, The University of Law, University of Wolverhampton and Yorkshire Bank.