Award Categories

Innovation Award

Innovation is key to the future success of any organisation. Solicitors have had to adapt to changing environments and we want to hear how firms and organisations have innovated to develop their business. Private practice law firms, in house lawyers from commerce or public service are invited to enter for this award.

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Innovation comes in many forms and need not be technology based. It may be a new idea, service, product or process that has changed the way you do things and has improved your client care, staff engagement, case management, marketing strategy or has opened up new markets.

Judges will be looking for something ground breaking and will want to know why the innovation is so unique and how it has transformed and improved your business.

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Corporate and Social Responsibility Award

Businesses have a responsibility towards the communities they serve. Most solicitors give freely of their time to any number of causes and community projects.

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We are looking for examples of the very best practice of how solicitors and their organisations can benefit their communities or support a charitable purpose. This might be achieved through the way they operate in their community or through significant engagement with a particular group or charity.

CSR is a culture and not the reserve of any particular type of organisation. It may or may not be enshrined in an organisation’s values or strategic planning. What the Judges will want to see is an authentic adoption of CSR across the business that delivers real benefits to the community.

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Law Firm of the Year Award (1-10 Partners)

This award draws together many of the qualities sought in other categories to find the small or medium size law firm that has a winning formula. The Judges will be looking for measures of excellence including:

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• A strong reputation and public profile
• First class client care
• Effective management
• Strong staff engagement and training
• Great team work
• Engaging CSR programme
• Commitment to law as a business
• Culture of innovation
• Deep expertise in areas of practise

Nominee firms will be able to demonstrate a clear vision for their business and how that is being achieved. Evidence of excellence might include testimonials, accreditations, awards and the sharing of results.

Entries are invited from any firm with 1-10 partners including small niche practices and general high street firms.

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Law Firm of the Year Award (11+ Partners)

This award draws together many of the qualities sought in other categories to find the small or medium size law firm that has a winning formula. The Judges will be looking for measures of excellence including:

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• A strong reputation and public profile
• First class client care
• Effective management
• Strong staff engagement and training
• Great team work
• Engaging CSR programme
• Commitment to law as a business
• Culture of innovation
• Deep expertise in areas of practise

Nominee firms will be able to demonstrate a clear vision for their business and how that is being achieved. Evidence of excellence might include testimonials, accreditations, awards and the sharing of results.

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Team of the Year Award

Great teamwork is an essential part of modern business and especially so in legal practice where a combination of skill sets is needed.

Teams from private practice law firms and in house lawyer departments in commerce or public service are invited to enter for this award.

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As well as demonstrating a culture of teamwork entrants should show how, through the combination of effort, they have achieved excellence in the delivery of services and/or made a significant contribution to their community. Evidence of client perception of team work would also assist the judges. Particular note will be taken of activities ‘beyond the call of duty’.

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Client Service Award

Great Client Service is at the heart of all solicitor firms and fundamental to their success.

The Judges will be looking for those firms that have a culture of putting the client first and a pro-active approach to continual improvement.

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The judges will expect to see a clear, well-implemented client care policy and examples of services exceeding client expectations. Entrants should be able to demonstrate how their client experience has improved through change and innovation. Reference to specific training for staff in this area is also expected. Other evidence might include mystery shopping reports and testimonials from clients.

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Solicitor of the Year Award

The Solicitor of the Year may be recently qualified or have many years of experience and can have practised in any type of organisation and discipline.

They will be an exemplar for the solicitors’ profession and will likely to have achieved particular recognition for their professional work and/or their work in their community or charitable body.

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The judges will be looking for outstanding entrants that have gone the extra mile and beyond having a positive and demonstrable impact on their clients, colleagues and communities. There are many factors that the Judges can consider but will be looking for evidence of great client care, involvement in CSR activities, personal development, team working, leadership, empathy and professional respect.

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Leader/Law Manager of the Year Award

This Award will be presented to the individual who has inspired their organisation to achieve through their leadership and/or management skills.

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The Judges will be looking for enabling individuals who motivate and inspire those around them to achieve more than they might have otherwise. They will be creators of vision and able to engage others, sharing responsibility and credit, in achieving it. The winning individual will be decisive, effective and will set high standards of integrity leading through example.

Nominees may be leading or managing a firm, department or team in private practice or in-house.

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In-house/Public Sector Lawyer of the Year Award

Entries for this category will be from members of in-house corporate teams and those working in public bodies. They may be recently qualified or have many years of experience.

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The Judging Panel will look for solicitors who have achieved particular success within their organisation, worked in ground breaking area of law, or made a specific contribution to their community.

The judges will be looking for entrants that have gone the extra mile and beyond having a positive and demonstrable impact on their organisation, colleagues and communities. There are many factors that the Judges can consider but will be looking for evidence of great client care, involvement in CSR activities, personal development, team working, leadership, empathy and professional respect.

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Support Team Member of the Year Award

Nominations are welcome from firms or clients for legal executives, paralegals, secretaries, cashiers and others who support Devon & Somerset Law Society solicitor members.

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Nominations should demonstrate how the staff member has made a special contribution to their organisation or to specific clients. The Judges will expect this individual to have shown dedication and motivation beyond the call of duty.

Particular note will be made of those activities that have improved the organisation’s efficiency and reputation and / or the reputation of the profession generally.

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Legal ‘Hero’ of the Year Award

Legal Heroes make a real difference to their clients. They may work in any area of practice going the extra mile for the client’s desired outcome be that a house move, settlement of a dispute, a claim for compensation, formation of a company or the resolution of a family matter.

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Nominees will demonstrate:

- Exceptional dedication and commitment to their clients
- Determination to see the end result
- Great results that make a difference
- Absolute professionalism

Nominations may be made by clients, members of the public or colleagues.

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Lifetime Achievement Award

This award will be presented to the individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the reputation of solicitors during their career as a solicitor in Devon and Somerset. Whilst entries could be based on any number of criteria, candidates will be an exemplar of the legal profession having demonstrated high standards of integrity in their endeavours.

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It is expected that any nominee will:

• have the ultimate respect of their colleagues
• have shown absolute dedication to their clients
• be a leader in their area of practice
• be a mentor to those with whom they have worked
• worked to uphold the Rule of Law
• be a consummate professional
• stand out from the crowd

The winner of this award will be announced on the night.

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