Fieldfisher, Linklaters and Allen & Overy (A&O) were among the big winners at the British Legal Awards last night (24 November), which recognised the profession’s brightest and best performers from another eventful year.
Fieldfisher (pictured) saw off competition from firms including Clyde & Co and Kirkland & Ellis to take home the coveted Law Firm of the Year award. The win comes after a year in which the firm revamped its strategy, expanded internationally and embraced technology to set itself apart from other more traditional firms.
Meanwhile, Linklaters took the award for M&A Team of the Year in the large deal category for the second year in a row for its work advising National Grid on the largest UK infrastructure deal in the past decade.
A&O was named Banking and Finance Team of the Year, while the magic circle firm also took home the honour for Restructuring Team of the Year.
Boutique firm Signature Litigation took the award for Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year, while other law firm winners included Garrigues, which bagged European Law Firm of the Year; Kennedys, which took home UK Law Firm of the Year; and Cooley, which won the London Office of the Year award.
Meanwhile, the Legal Week Intelligence award for Client Partner of the Year – selected from a shortlist of partners who received the most recommendations from GCs in the annual Best Legal Advisers survey – was this year awarded to Keystone Law consultant solicitor Hilary O’Connor.
The in-house winners included Pearson’s Bjarne Philip Tellmann, who was named General Counsel of the Year; Informa, which took the prize for Legal Department of the Year (TMT); and Royal Mail, which won the award for Legal Department of the Year (Commerce and Industry).
The City of London Law Society (CLLS) gave its Lifetime Achievement Award to Allen & Overy (A&O) veteran Philip Wood.
Wood, a finance expert who is now a special global counsel at A&O, has spent more than 40 years at the firm, including 10 as head of its banking practice. He has written 19 books, holds academic posts at three of the UK’s top universities, and now heads up A&O’s Global Law Intelligence Unit.
The awards were decided on by a senior independent judging panel which included BAE Systems group GC Philip Bramwell, ITV GC Andrew Garard, Heathrow Airport GC and chief of staff Carol Hui and former Allen & Overy senior partner David Morley. The host for the evening was actress, television presenter and comedian Sally Phillips.
British Legal Awards 2017 winners in full
Supplier of the Year (Business Services): Calder PR
Supplier of the Year (Technology): iManage
Best Use of Technology: Mishcon de Reya
CSR/Diversity Initiative of the Year: DLA Piper
Chambers of the Year: Hardwicke
General Counsel of the Year: Bjarne Philip Tellmann, Pearson
Legal Week Intelligence Client Partner of the Year: Hilary O’Connor, Keystone Law
European Law Firm of the Year: Garrigues
Editor’s Award: Penelope Warne, CMS
Private Client Team of the Year: Farrer & Co
TMT Team of the Year: Pinsent Masons
Commercial Team of the Year: Gowling WLG
Competition Team of the Year: TupperS Law
Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year: Debevoise & Plimpton and Slaughter and May
Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year: Signature Litigation
Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year: Gowling WLG
Property Team of the Year: Pinsent Masons
Restructuring Team of the Year: Allen & Overy
Banking and Finance Team of the Year: Allen & Overy
Private Equity Team of the Year: Reed Smith
M&A Team of the Year (Medium-Sized Deal): Pinsent Masons
M&A Team of the Year (Large Deal): Linklaters
Legal Department of the Year (TMT): Informa
Legal Department of the Year (Commerce and Industry): Royal Mail
UK Legal Department of the Year (Financial Services): TSB
Legal Services Innovation Award: Eversheds Sutherland
London Office of the Year: Cooley
Specialist Law Firm of the Year: ARC Pensions Law
UK Law Firm of the Year: Kennedys
Law Firm of the Year: Fieldfisher
City of London Law Society Lifetime Achievement Award: Philip Wood, Allen & Overy