Legal eagles aim to soar

Nominations for leading individuals and law firms are now being sought in a total of seven categories for the awards which celebrate the excellence and achievements of the legal profession across Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

The categories are: Support Team Member of the Year; Junior Lawyer of the Year; Lawyer of the Year; Team of the Year; CSR Firm of the Year; and Law Firm of the Year.

An independent panel of judges will decide on the winners based on their conduct; dedication; commitment to clients and colleagues; contribution to the profession and/or the wider community; professionalism; leadership; energy; and going the extra mile.

GWILS President Ramona Derbyshire, a litigation partner at Thrings, will also present the President’s Outstanding Achievement Award to the individual who she feels has made an exceptional contribution to the legal sector, their firm and/or clients during their career. Anyone entering the awards will automatically be considered for this category.

The winners will be announced at a three-course, black tie dinner at the De Vere Cotswold Water Park on 23 November, an event which is expected to attract more than 100 members of the counties’ legal communities.

Headline sponsors and legal recruitment specialists Chadwick Nott, and the other category sponsors will also be at the event which is being hosted by legendary ITV weatherman, Bob Crampton. Proceeds from the evening will go to charity Maggie’s, which provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.

Joanna Apperley, an associate solicitor at Thrings and GWILS committee member, is organising the awards. She says: “The awards are about legal professionals looking around at the colleagues they work with every day – trainees, paralegals, legal cashiers, secretaries, receptionists, office managers, assistants, associate solicitors or partners – and articulating what makes them special.

“The judges are very much looking forward to hearing about the great work being done in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and celebrating the many accomplishments and talent which operates across the legal profession in our region.”

Sarah Wood, senior consultant at Chadwick Nott, says: “We are delighted to sponsor these awards as we work with Top 100 and leading law firms, and some fantastic lawyers across Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

“The dedicated Chadwick Nott team in the region is six-strong and many of us are lucky enough to have worked in this area for over 12 years with law firms of all shapes and sizes. It’s a region that can at times be overlooked when compared to the likes of Bristol or Cardiff, but with some great law firms in the region, there are many opportunities here.”

GWILS provides functional and practical support to its members, ranging from updates, training and guidance on legal and regulatory issues, access to care services, networking and professional development opportunities, as well as representing members’ interests to the national Law Society.

Formed in 1817, the awards will be taking place in the society’s two hundredth year and Ramona’s second as president. Last year under Ramona’s leadership, GWILS’ membership rose by more than 25 per cent, while its committee – which also includes Thrings solicitor Louisa Smith - oversaw the re-branding of the organisation and the launch of a new website.

Ramona adds: “With GWILS having actively and successfully represented the views of its members and provided training and guidance on legal and regulatory issues in the legal community for two centuries, this year’s awards take on added significance.

“The society is very pleased to be relaunching the awards which provide an opportunity to recognise the finest talent and professional achievements of legal professionals and teams from across the two counties.”

Potential winners of GWILS Legal Excellence Awards can either self-nominate or be nominated by a friend, colleague or business organisation. The deadline for submitting nominations is 4pm on Thursday 21 September. For more information, please visit the GWILS website or contact Joanna Apperley on 01793 412542 /

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