Stephenson Harwood, Linklaters and Abbey honoured at British Legal Awards

Stephenson Harwood, Linklaters and Abbey National were among the winners at the 2009 British Legal Awards, which took place last night (3 December) at Old Billingsgate Market in the City of London.

Stephenson Harwood secured the coveted Law Firm of the Year award, with the judging panel – which included several senior general counsel – praising the firm for a dramatic turnaround in fortunes.

Supreme Court Justice and former Herbert Smith partner Lawrence Collins was honoured with the City of London Law Society Lifetime Achievement award, recognising a distinguished career which saw him become the first solicitor to be appointed to senior levels of the judiciary.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters received the awards for M&A and Banking Teams of the Year respectively, while other key practice awards saw Field Fisher Waterhouse take the honours in the Commercial Team of the Year category and SJ Berwin for Property Team of the Year.

Abbey National was handed the award for Legal Department of the year, while Teva GC Alex Thrower was named General Counsel of the Year.

In new categories for 2009, Axiom won the Law Firm Innovation award, while Rio Tinto secured the In-House Award for Innovation and Spanish giant Uria Menendez scooped European Law Firm of the Year.

The 18-strong judging panel was chaired by Bill Knight, former senior partner of Simmons & Simmons, and included Ferrari general counsel Massimiliano Maestretti, Banco Santander UK legal head Olga Garcia Gonzalez, BAA’s Carol Hui, Terry Miller of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Richard Bennett of HSBC.

The 2009 British Legal Awards – 2009 winners in full

  • CSR Initiative/Programme of the Year: Lovells
  • London Office of the Year: NCTM
  • Regional Law Firm of the Year: Michelmores
  • Chambers of the Year: Outer Temple Chambers
  • Managing/Senior Partner of the Year: Mike Francies, Weil Gotshal & Manges
  • Assistant Solicitor/ Associate of the Year: Ben Allgrove, Baker & McKenzie
  • Law Firm Innovation Award: Axiom
  • M&A Team of the Year: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Commercial Team of the Year: Field Fisher Waterhouse
  • Litigation and Regulatory Team of the Year: Jones Day
  • European Managing Partner/Senior Partner of the Year: Padraig O Riordain, Arthur Cox
  • European Legal Team of the Year: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  • Legal Department of the Year: Abbey National
  • General Counsel of the Year: Alex Thrower, Teva
  • Young In-House Lawyer of the Year: Helen Koerner, BASF
  • In-House Award for Innovation: Rio Tinto
  • Banking, Finance or Restructuring Team of the Year: Linklaters
  • Property Team of the Year: SJ Berwin
  • Private Client/Family Team of the Year: Farrer & Co
  • European Law Firm of the Year: Uria Menendez
  • Middle East and African Law Firm of the Year: Al Tamimi & Company
  • Offshore Law Firm of the Year: Ogier
  • Law Firm of the Year: Stephenson Harwood
  • Technology Provider of the Year: Autonomy
  • Best Use of Technology: LG

See Legal Week on 10 December for a full report.

For more, see The Editor’s Award 2009…