The awards were opened for entries at a very good moment for us: we had been making lots of changes in the firm, and were just starting to feel confident enough about them to put our toes in the celebratory waters.
I think we’d also grown a little closer to DASLS over the last few years, having received lots of support from everyone there in a big range of ways. It was quite comfortable for us to come out of our modest shells and be proud of our firm in the environment provided by the DASLS Awards.
We thought hard about the categories available. We wanted to make our entries meaningful to the firm. We chose two: Social and Corporate Responsibility, and the President’s Award for Achievement.
The first reflected very well our strong links with the community in St Thomas, Exeter and allowed us to articulate how we feel about being a high street firm. When we had written the piece and saw for ourselves just how much involvement we have we were actually amazed, and rather proud. It was proof that we had created something of mutual benefit to our community, our business and our staff.
We nominated Tony Griffin for the President’s Award. Again, this was a meaningful choice for all of us. Tony has been with Cartridges Law for nearly as long as the firm has existed. He’s like a very powerful mascot for the firm, standing personally for an integrity we hope we all have. On top of that, Tony has been supportive in helping the business make changes for its future and that has really helped those of us who were apprehensive. It was a great pleasure to have an opportunity through the awards to acknowledge that generosity.
After the judging I got a slightly mysterious email from DASLS, thanking me for Tony’s entry and hoping he would be at the Dinner. I thought that meant he hadn’t won and in all simplicity I commiserated with Tony and urged him still to come, so he turned up looking a bit uncomfortable in his black tie. As the citation for the Award was read out, and our table realised he’d won, we were all, not least Tony, really delighted. Tony’s amazing impromptu speech made us very proud.
We were just as happy to win the Social and Corporate Responsibility award, which we felt reflected a real team effort. We had a great night out at Sandy Park and got a heroes’ welcome next day at work. I don’t think the firm recognised its own strengths until the DASLS awards recognised them for us.