Manchester’s legal talent shines bright at awards ceremony

Michael Clavell-Bate with Michael Taylor

The brightest legal talent across Manchester was recognised and celebrated at a prestigious black-tie ceremony at The Midland Hotel last night – with one firm winning a total of three awards.

The Manchester Legal Awards saw a pretty even spread of awards this year with Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP taking home Law Firm of the Year – large (20+ partners) award, Team of the Year- Litigation award, and Team of the Year- Corporate/Commercial award. 

Another one of the big winners of the night was Brabners LLP who took home two awards – CSR Champions of the Year and Team of the Year- Private Client. 

The Manchester Law Society’s Legal Awards culminated in a highly anticipated ceremony on Thursday evening, with over 74 firms and individuals shortlisted in a total of 22 categories. 

Launched by the Manchester Law Society in 2009, the awards celebrate the best legal talent from across the region. Categories cover all areas of law with organisation, team and individual awards. 

The prestigious Lifetime Achievement award went to Michael Clavell-Bate. With over 35 years’ experience in the legal industry, he is best known as a specialist in leading heavyweight contract disputes for corporate clients across a range of industry sectors.

He told his proudest achievement has been the people he’s seen through from trainees to partner, and that his retirement after 35 years, including 15 as Manchester office partner of Eversheds Sutherland, sees the sector in rude health.

“We have the best legal system in the world in England and Wales. As far as Manchester is concerned, the optimism I have always had is down to the trajectory of the city, where it’s come from and where it’s heading in the next fifteen years. I am convinced it is going to be the most exciting of times,” he said.

Fran Eccles-Bech, chief executive of the Manchester Law Society, said:  “As the chief executive of the Manchester Law Society, I have the privilege to be impressed year after year by the impeccable work the brightest legal minds in our region produce. 

“We know that Manchester is home to some of the best legal talent and the awards are an opportunity to share and celebrate outstanding work.”

Nick Johnson, President of Manchester Law Society, said: “It’s incredible to see the amount of excellent nominations we’ve received, as well as all the talented winners we’ve had this year, which showcases the high level of expertise and excellence of the lawyers in Manchester. 

“I was privileged to be part of the judging process and to witness the talent and dedication of the finalists. You are all an inspiration for our profession.”

Media partner for the event this year was

Michael Taylor, Editor at, said: “We’ve really enjoyed working with the Manchester Law Society as the media partner for this year’s Manchester Legal Awards. 

“Legal practices continue to demonstrate their agility and innovation that places them at the forefront of Manchester’s economy, something that was evident from the outstanding range of entries in these excellent awards. 

“Fran Eccles-Bech and her team at the Manchester Law Society have done an incredible job putting together this year’s awards. Every single team and individual that has made the shortlist can be rightly proud of what they’ve achieved.”

RMS Communications was the marketing and PR partner for the 14th year running. Ruth Shearn, Founder of RMS Communications, said: “We’re proud to have worked on the Manchester Legal Awards since they were an idea on a page. 

“I still get a buzz when I see the design work and website created by my team each year, not to mention the social and media coverage.”

Interlink Talent Solutions was the headline sponsor for the awards for the fifth consecutive year, while digital office solutions company, Docutech, was once again the welcome drinks sponsor for this year’s awards for the 14th year running. 


Here is the full list of winners and sponsors from last night’s event:

CSR Champions of the Year 

WINNER: Brabners LLP

SPONSOR: The College of Legal Practice 


Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Champions of the Year 

WINNER: University of Law 

SPONSOR: Appleyard Lees IP LLP


Health & Wellbeing Champions of the Year 

WINNER: Myerson Solicitors 

SPONSOR: MFL Insurance Group Ltd 


Team of the Year – Corporate/Commercial 

WINNER: Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP 



Team of the Year – Crime 

WINNER: Olliers Solicitors

SPONSOR: Docutech Office Solutions Ltd 


Team of the Year – Employment 

WINNER: Mills & Reeve

SPONSOR: Docutech Office Solutions Ltd


Team of the Year – Family 

WINNER: McAlister Family Law 

SPONSOR: Shard Capital Partners 


Team of the Year – Litigation 

WINNER: Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP 

SPONSOR: Quantuma 


Team of the Year – PI/Clinical Negligence 

WINNER: Leigh Day 

SPONSOR: Kain Knight


Team of the Year – Private Client 

WINNER: Brabners LLP 

SPONSOR: Fletchers Group 


Team of the Year – Property 

WINNER: Pannone Corporate LLP 

SPONSOR: Landmark Information 


Team of the Year – Regulatory 

WINNER: Ward Hadaway 

SPONSOR: RMS Communications 


Trainee/Paralegal/Apprentice of the Year 

WINNER: Jack Trowsdale, DWF Law LLP 

SPONSOR: Manchester Law School, Manchester Metropolitan University 


Solicitor of the Year 

WINNER: Kelly Darlington, Farleys Solicitors LLP 

SPONSOR: Quiss Technology 


Barrister/KC of the Year 

WINNER: Giles Maynard-Connor KC 

SPONSOR: Leigh Day 


Partner of the Year 

WINNER: Ros Bever, Irwin Mitchell LLP

SPONSOR: Legmark


Barristers’ Chambers of the Year 

WINNER: St John’s Buildings 

SPONSOR: Weightmans 


Law Firm of the Year – small (1-5 partners) 

WINNER: IMD Solicitors LLP 

SPONSOR: Lawshare 


Law Firm of the Year – medium (5-20 partners) 

WINNER: Hall Brown Family Law

SPONSOR: Groundsure


Law Firm of the Year – large (20+ partners) 

WINNER: Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP 

SPONSOR: Fletchers Group 


Lifetime Achievement Award 

WINNER: Michael Clavell-Bate 

SPONSOR: Interlink Talent Solutions

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