As you’re no doubt already aware, the Florit Brooke team always looks forward to the Yorkshire Legal Awards. Each year we’ve found the event inspiring, motivational and great fun, and for 2016 we took our support up a notch with our sponsorship of the Corporate and Commercial Award.
Attending the awards as sponsors instead of spectators gave us a surprisingly different viewpoint on the evening as it unfolded, and we thought we’d share our thoughts on the blog. So, here are five things we learned at the Yorkshire Legal Awards 2016…
Next stop: Leeds Arena…?
Since the very first event, the Yorkshire Legal Awards have gone from strength to strength. Starting out 16 years ago with a modest 200 guests, the event has grown in size and reputation every year – and 2016 was the biggest year yet.
Last Thursday night, nearly 550 legal professionals put on their black ties to join the festivities at New Dock Hall in Leeds. At almost triple the size of its first ever event back in 2000, this year’s Awards was a sell-out success, and the New Dock Hall was up to capacity. We’ve heard it mentioned that if the event gets any bigger next year, the only other local venue that will meet the needs will be Leeds Arena – now, that’s what we call growth!
Winning an award at the YLAs is an impressive feat
It’s no small achievement to be a winner at the Yorkshire Legal Awards. Comprising 21 categories with up to six nominees in each, the awards showcase some of the finest legal talent in the region and demonstrate the rich diversity of Yorkshire’s legal community; competition is stiff, and the margin between shortlisted candidates is often minuscule.
Being a judge at the awards is no easy task, either. The judging panel is carefully selected by event organisers Barker Brooks to ensure it includes a broad and fair spectrum of legal professionals from across the industry; they’re bound by a strict confidentiality agreement, and aren’t permitted to judge in categories where their impartiality could be called into question. On top of that, judges give their time for free to take part in the process – it’s truly a labour of love for everyone involved.
Little or large – there’s something for everyone
It’s often said that the success of a business lies in the strength and dedication of its staff. We couldn’t agree more, and there was no better place to see this in action than at the Yorkshire Legal Awards. From fledgling firms with only two or three partners, up to the industry behemoths showcasing an unparalleled breadth of skill and knowledge, the Awards made sure to acknowledge the brilliant work done by Yorkshire legal firms of every size and type.
At last week’s event the sheer scope of the region’s legal firms was recognised in the broad range of award categories, from small legal firms with under 10 partners through to those with hundreds. The diversity of our clients was well represented this year, with the Law Firm of the Year (11-30 partners) award going to local Leeds favourites Blacks Solicitors, and the ‘31 or more partners’ accolade given to the Leeds branch of global giant Eversheds.
Firms working in specialist or unusual areas were also given recognition, with this year’s Niche Law Firm of the Year award given to boutique construction and property law firm Barton Legal. From one end of the size scale to the other, via practices in every niche imaginable, every partner’s contribution was acknowledged – and it’s pretty clear that in the Yorkshire law world, diversity and inclusivity are held in high regard.
Barker Brooks have a great sense of humour
With a few notable exceptions, lawyers aren’t particularly renowned as the jokers of the business world. (You’re looking at accountants for that one! – Ed.). No, the legal sector can get a bit – well, serious – from time to time, can’t it? But with the band Hipster striking up a well-known uplifting rock tune whilst each award recipient made their way to the stage, the choice of ‘Summer of 69’ for Trainee Solicitor of the Year, Ryan Adams, was comedy gold! He surely must have been in Heaven, or at least on Cloud Number Nine! (Okay, enough now…). Well played, Hipster and Barker Brooks!
…and, finally, our clients are amazing!
It goes without saying, really, but we’re ‘made up’ in response to the success of a good number of our clients – whether they won or made the shortlist. The diversity and capability of the Yorkshire legal scene is arguably unparalleled across the country, and we’re incredibly proud to play our part in it.
We’d particularly like to extend congratulations to those clients who took home awards on the night: Blacks; Chadwick Lawrence; Eversheds; Squire Patton Boggs; DAC Beachcroft; Shulmans; Gordons; DLA Piper; Morrisons; and not forgetting our favourite ‘Canadian crooner’, of course!
See you next year!