First Northamptonshire Law Society Awards produces winners by the “case load”.
The brightest and the best of the Northamptonshire legal community were honoured at the inaugural Northamptonshire Law Society Awards.
Solicitors from across the county, were honoured before an audience of their peers at The Marriott Hotel, Northampton, at the Society’s annual dinner.
The event was compered by BBC Radio Northampton’s John Griff and awards presented by Linda Lee, President of Northamptonshire Law Society.
In her speech to winners Mrs Lee said: “It has been a very difficult few years for all of us and particularly for legal aid lawyers. Not only have we had to face the economic downturn, new legislation designed to prevent access to justice but also a changed market with new rules and new competitors all of whom thought they knew how to do it better than us.
But the game changers have learned that the myth that we are just lawyers who didn’t know how to run businesses was just that - a myth. Running a business is at the core of what we do but we are also excellent lawyers. She also praised the many talented lawyers in Northamptonshire”.
Junior Lawyer: Lisa Franklin –Wilson Browne. Although a junior lawyer Lisa received such praise from her clients that she was the outstanding candidate for this award.
The Fiona Moore Solicitor of the Year award: Gary Lee, DFA Law. Fiona Moore was President of Northamptonshire Law Society 2004, whose life was tragically cut short earlier this year, and this award was presented in her memory. Gary was selected as he is a hard working, hard playing individual who is the epitome of a modern regional lawyer and particularly commended for his pro bono work.
Firm of the Year: McGanns Law. This niche criminal legal aid practice received several nominations including one from the barristers chambers of 36 Bedford Row, who were present on the night in support.
McGanns were selected for the high standard of client care offered by a well trained and cohesive team. Financial issues come a low second to representing the client effectively. This is a firm growing in reputation. As one testimonial said: “McGanns are a first class firm with loyal clients, because McGanns are exceptionally loyal to their clients”.
Lifetime achievement award: Michael Orton-Jones. Former partner at Shoosmiths, one of the driving forces behind taking the practice from a small Northampton firm to a major national firm. Still practices as a notary. Involved in many local charities, and governor of the University of Northampton, Mr Orton-Jones has also worked on local and district Councils.