Scottish Legal Awards

Scottish lawyers celebrate a year of success

Elaine Motion

Elaine Motion was among the winners

Top performers in the legal profession were celebrated at the 17th Scottish Legal Awards.

More than 250 guests watched online following a record volume of entries in the event’s near two-decade history. 

The ultimate award of the night, Firm of the Year was presented to Anderson Strathern. 

Edinburgh-based Balfour + Manson collected two awards for Litigation Team of the Year and also Chairman of the Year, presented to Elaine Motion after her long serving leadership of the firm and recently advising on a number of high profile instructions in constitutional law cases.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Ian Forrester QC, the former Judge of the General Court of the European Union whose tenure came to an end due to Brexit in January.   The Glasgow University educated QC had presided over a wide variety of cases including child abduction, food safety, trademarks, fishing, and police cooperation.

Eighteen awards were presented on the night to individuals and teams.  The Lawyer of the Year Award was presented to Iain Smith of Keegan Smith. 


Other winners included Leigh Herd of Shepherd and Wedderburn who was named Rising Star of the Year.  The firm was also commended for its work in the Support Team of the Year category. 

The most competitive award of the night with eight finalists was for the Community Contribution Award and this was shared by Digby Brown and the University of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic with CMS also collecting a Commendation in the category.

The independent programme is presided over by a large expert judging panel, chaired by Shonaig Macpherson, she commented: “It’s testament to the high regard in which these awards are held, that again this year there has been a record-breaking number of entries.”

The awards also raise funds for two charities, It’s Good 2 Give and LawScot Foundation.

The 2020 Winners

Firm of the Year

WINNER: Anderson Strathern



Digby Brown Solicitors

Ergo Law

Harper Macleod



Lawyer of the Year

WINNER: Iain Smith, Keegan Smith


Elaine Motion, Balfour+Manson

Alan Kelly, MacRoberts

In-House Lawyer of the Year

WINNER: John Reilly, Raytheon Systems

FINALIST: Sean Henry Dorian, Cloudhelix

Paralegal of the Year

WINNER: Donna Clark, Macleod & MacCallum


Debbie Beattie, Blackadders

Emma MacKenzie, Gilson Gray

Rising Star of the Year

WINNER: Leigh Herd, Shepherd and Wedderburn


Yousif Ahmed, Cannons Law Practice

Sean Henry Dorian, Cloudhelix

Emma Boffey, CMS

Ross MacRae, Gillespie Macandrew

Shawn Wood, Watermans Legal

Litigation Team of the Year

WINNER: Balfour+Manson


Ascent Legal Scotland

Clyde & Co


Digby Brown Solicitors


Corporate and Commercial Team of the Year

WINNER: MacRoberts




Real Estate Team of the Year




Gillespie Macandrew (Highly Commended)



Residential Property Team of the Year

WINNER: Neilsons Solicitors and Estate Agents


Gilson Gray

McDougall McQueen

Watermans Legal

In-House Legal Team of the Year

WINNER:  Aegon Asset Management


Lloyds Banking Group

University of the West of Scotland

Criminal Defence Firm of the Year

WINNER: Moir and Sweeney Litigation


Beltrami & Co

Martin Johnston and Socha

Family Law Team of the Year

WINNER: MacRoberts


Support Team of the Year

WINNER: Property Searches Scotland


Anderson Strathern


Millar & Bryce and DUAL Asset Underwriting

Moore Legal Technology

Shepherd and Wedderburn (Highly Commended)

The Cashroom

Excellence in Client Care

Winner: Ascent Legal Scotland

Highly Commended: Ergo Law

Community Contribution Award


Digby Brown Solicitors

University of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic


Blackadders – Private Client Team

CMS (Highly Commended)

DWF – Edinburgh and Glasgow

Govan Law Centre

Shared Parenting Scotland

University of Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Centre

Legal Technology Award

WINNER:  Registers of Scotland


Gillespie Macandrew (Highly Commended)

Millar & Bryce

Shepherd and Wedderburn

The Cashroom

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