LawNet Awards 2022 winners
Breakthrough performances secure top awards for Wolferstans and MBM Commercial
Major regional player Wolferstans LLP and boutique Edinburgh firm MBM Commercial LLP have won recognition for their pandemic-beating performance, being named LawNet Law Firm of the Year in their respective categories.
Both firms reported exceptional performance against strategic objectives and growth targets, through their responsive approach to the pandemic.
LawNet’s annual awards recognise innovation and strategic success across the network’s SME law firm members, as well as highlighting individuals and teams who are delivering outstanding business results. This year, a record 280 delegates joined the annual conference and awards dinner from across the 72 member firms.
Plymouth-based Wolferstans were hitting milestones in their five-year plan when the pandemic first hit. The firm swiftly pivoted, implementing a responsive parallel plan to support their strategic objectives of delivering an exceptional legal experience. Ambitious change programmes across all aspects of the business saw turnover grow to almost £12m last year.
MBM Commercial are using international connections to help build their niche focus on tech and high-growth entrepreneurial business support. The 60-strong firm successfully sustained delivery of its strategic plan through the pandemic and is now on track for further US and international growth.
Said Alisa Willows, managing partner of Wolferstans, winners of the larger firm category: “Our performance reflects effort from the ground up, with every single person in pursuit of one vision. Multiple impact projects across a number of years have come together to help support the exceptional legal experience we have been striving to deliver.
“The pandemic didn’t deter us from that: we were able to embed change that we saw was necessary and still stay completely focused on what we were about. We sold buildings and cut costs, but only where it supported our longer terms objectives and stayed true to our core purpose.”
Echoing that approach, Stuart Hendry, senior partner of MBM Commercial LLP, winners of the smaller firm category, added: “Like all the firms in the network, through the pandemic we have been working hard to take care of our staff, changing our working practices, reviewing the tools we use. But on top, we have been looking for opportunities in our niche area. That’s seen us growing our legal team in the USA – making us probably the only firm in Scotland to have US lawyers on the ground - and we decided to set up our own international network of tech law firms, which is really exciting, and we are seeing work coming back in already.
“We are delighted to have won this award. The quality of the law firms that make up LawNet is absolutely first class, and we are thrilled to be part of this network and to have the recognition of the hard work of our whole team.”
Alisa Willows added: “This is a hard-fought award category within an exceptional group of firms, so we truly value this recognition of the exceptional legal experience we have been striving to deliver.”
Young award winners were trainee of the year Seema Gill of Howell Jones Solicitors and rising star Nathan Campbell of Cleaver Fulton Rankin.
The corporate & commercial team at Eaton Smith LLP and clinical negligence team at Wolferstans LLP were named legal teams of the year, with the business development & marketing team at VWV securing business support team of the year.
Debenhams Ottaway won the excellence in client care award, the sustainability excellence award went to Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP, and the learning & development initiative went to Martin Tolhurst Solicitors.
Said LawNet chief executive Chris Marston: “It was wonderful to welcome back all our members to our annual conference. It is always the highlight of our calendar, with the opportunity to come together to share and learn, from both the internationally-renowned speakers and from each other, but this year’s was more important than ever, being the first since late 2019.
“The entries to our awards demonstrated outstanding initiatives achieved in extremely tough conditions. Nothing short of inspirational, they were great examples of the ways in which our member firms rise to the challenge and embrace innovation, encouraging and valuing their staff and delivering excellent client service.”
All the award winners:
Excellence in Client Care sponsored by ReviewSolicitors - Debenhams Ottaway
Learning & Development Initiative sponsored by Barbri - Martin Tolhurst Solicitors
Sustainability Excellence Award sponsored by Conscious Solutions - Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP
Trainee of the Year sponsored by Moneypenny - Seema Gill, Howell Jones Solicitors
Rising Star - under 35 years sponsored by PKF Francis Clark - Nathan Campbell, Cleaver Fulton Rankin
Team of the Year (Business Law) sponsored by Perfect Portal - Corporate & Commercial, Eaton Smith LLP
Team of the Year (Individual Law) sponsored by Access Legal Clinical Negligence - Wolferstans LLP
Business Support Team of the Year sponsored by Document Direct - BD & Marketing Team, VWV
Law Firm of the Year up to £6m t/o sponsored by Wilkinson Read - MBM Commercial LLP
Law Firm of the Year over £6m t/o sponsored by Advanced - Wolferstans LLP