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Scottish Legal Awards

Kennedy honoured for 40 year career

Honoured: Baroness Kennedy received her award in Glasgow

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC received a Lifetime Achievement Award in celebration of her  40 years of legal service championing civil liberties and human rights.

The highly regarded honour is presented each year at the Scott + Co Scottish Legal Awards and Baroness Kennedy accepted the prize at the ceremony attended by a record 450 lawyers in Glasgow where she was born.

She was among 17 winning businesses, teams and individuals in the annual competition which rewards the best of Scottish legal practice across the country. 

The independent programme which launched 15 years ago is decided by a large expert judging panel, chaired by Shonaig Macpherson. 

She commented: “It’s been another exciting year showing the great diversity, innovation and skill at work every day in the Scottish legal industry. 

“Alongside my colleagues on the judging panel we have received a large number of detailed entries which have given us great confidence in the sector and in the competition. 

“The decisions are never easy but we do spend considerable time debating the merits of every entry in detail prior to making a decision. 

“It has been a particular pleasure to see honorary awards in Lifetime Achievement for Baroness Helena Kennedy QC and Malcolm McPherson who collected our Managing Partner of the Year award.  Congratulations to all our finalists and winners this year.”

Among the major winners were Digby Brown who won the Scottish Legal Awards Firm of the Year after a year in which they reported high growth figures.

The senior leadership award, Managing Partner of the Year, was presented to Malcolm McPherson, Senior Partner of Addleshaw Goddard for his role delivering the full merger of HBJ Gateley into global firm Addleshaw Goddard.  

The newly combined firm is now ranked 15th in the UK and has over 200 partners and 1100 lawyers.  In Scotland, recruitment of legal staff since the merger has increased by 15%.

Many individual awards were handed out including the hotly contended Rising Star of the Year, sponsored by Quiver Management to Ruth McColgan of Stirling Council.  The Head of the Employment Team at Blackadders, Simon Allison, collected the popular prize for Lawyer of the Year, sponsored by The Law Society of Scotland.

The Residential Property Team of the Year, sponsored by Property Searches Scotland, was collected by Edinburgh-based Coulters after delivering a year of strong growth in a range of innovative ways. 


Firm of the Year sponsored by First Title Insurance

Winner: Digby Brown Solicitors

For strength and depth in a speciality area and delivering excellent growth.


Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Innes & Mackay

MBM Commercial


Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by The Times Scotland

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

For 40 years of legal service and championing of civil liberties and human rights

Managing Partner of the Year sponsored by Scott & Co

Malcolm McPherson, Senior Partner, Addleshaw Goddard

For overseeing the full merger of HBJ Gateley into Addleshaw Goddard in June 2017 creating a newly combined UK firm ranked 15th in the UK.  Recruitment of legal staff since the merger has increased by 15%.

Community Contribution Award sponsored by Frasia Wright Associates

Joint Winners: 

Digby Brown –  for high value fundraising and significant time donations.

Innes & Mackay – for community impact and standard profit share donation    


Anderson Strathern

Faculty of Advocates

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Innes & Mackay

Shoosmiths LLP

The Law Clinic


Watermans Accident Claims and Care

Excellence in Client Care                           

Winner DAC Beachcroft

For training and client focussed communication


Allan McDougall Solicitors

McDougall McQueen

Paris Steele W.S. 

In House Legal Team of the Year

Winner – Skyscanner

For a stand out submission showing global experience and a team driven by great leadership.


Legal & Governance Conveyancing Team, Aberdeenshire Council

Family Law Team of the Year                   

Winner – Innes & Mackay

For its innovative approach delivering 35% growth in team revenue


Family Law Matters Scotland

Harper Macleod LLP

Livingstone Brown

MacRoberts LLP

McDougall McQueen

Morton Fraser LLP

Corporate Deal Team of the Year                          

Winner: Gillespie Macandrew LLP

For valuable, diverse and complex deal completions


DLA Piper LLP                  

MacRoberts LLP

Criminal Defence Firm of the Year                        

Winner: Adams Whyte Criminal Defence Lawyers

For an outstanding detailed entry showing a highly capable team working in a well-managed environment


Beltrami & Co

Capital Defence Lawyers

Livingstone Brown

Government Legal Team of the Year

Winner:  Minimum Unit Pricing Litigation Team, Scottish Government Legal Directorate

For a significant legal win at appeal marking a worldwide first for Scotland.


Legal Services Planning and Environment Team, Aberdeen City Council

Legal & Governance Conveyancing Team, Aberdeenshire Council

Support Team of the Year sponsored by Wolffe                             

Winner: ESPC

Highly Commended: Moore Legal Technology


Professional Practice Team, Law Society of Scotland

Innovation in Practice sponsored by Blue Parrot

Winner: DWF LLP – The Scottish Counter Fraud Team


Altis Legal – the revolutionary e-conveyancing platform to support digitisation

Blackadders LLP –  Employment Lawyer In Your Pocket- the good humoured podcast        

DUAL Asset Underwriting – An online comparison site for procuring title insurance policies

Resolve Medicolegal Ltd – the facilitators of medical witnesses to the legal profession

Residential Property Team of the Year sponsored by Property Searches Scotland

Winner: Coulters

For impressive growth and exceeding clients expectation on price


Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Harper Macleod LLP

Innes & Mackay

McDougall McQueen

Paris Steele W.S.

Litigation Team of the Year

Winner: Anderson Strathern

For high quality delivery in a wide variety of cases

Highly Commended: Mass Litigation Team, Thompsons Solicitors for the baby ashes scandal


Allan McDougall Solicitors

Anderson Strathern

Clyde & Co

DAC Beachcroft

Digby Brown Solicitors

MBM Commercial, Dispute Resolution Team

Paralegal of the Year sponsored by Millar & Bryce          

Winner: Bilaal Shabbir, MBS Solicitors

For a complexity of high quality work beyond expectation

Highly Commended: Arlene Dunbar, Aberdeen City Council


Kylie Jensen, Clyde & Co Scotland

Nikki Skelton, Clyde & Co Scotland

Joe McCluskey, Thompsons Solicitors Scotland

Beth Speakman, Watermans Accident Claims and Care 

Rising Star of the Year sponsored by Quiver Management          

Winner:  Ruth McColgan, Stirling Council

For a dedicated and highly admired quality of work in child protection


Andrew Fraser, Harper Macleod LLP

Grant Hassan, Harper Macleod LLP

Usman Aslam, McGlashan MacKay

Eilish Lindsay, Thompsons Solicitors

Amy Haughton, Thompsons Solicitors

Lawyer of the Year sponsored by The Law Society of Scotland

Winner:  Simon Allison, Blackadders LLP

For leadership, significant progress and awareness in employment team


Michael Kelly, MacRoberts LLP

Lindsay Bruce, Thompsons Solicitors

Peter O’Donnell, Thompsons Solicitors

Stephen McGowan, TLT LLP

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