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Over four hundred family lawyers from across England & Wales came together yesterday evening at the Hilton Park Lane in London to celebrate Jordan Publishing's second Family Law Awards, sponsored by Anglia DNA.
The host for the evening was last year's winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Family Law, District Judge Nicholas Crichton.
The Grand Ballroom of the Hilton was charged with excitement as the four nominees in each category waited to find out if they won. Ahead of each award, a film was shown of members the Family Law Awards judging panel speaking about each of the shortlisted nominees.
The first award of the evening was for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Family Law sponsored by Coram Chambers. The winner was John Cornwell of Dawson Cornwell who founded Resolution (formerly the Solicitors' Family Law Association), and was instrumental in the introduction and development of mediation having co-founded the Family Mediators Association.
In his acceptance speech John called upon the profession to continue to work hard to campaign for no-fault divorce and cohabitation, and to ensure that there is a network of properly supported contact centres across the country.
Dawson Cornwell went on to win a second award when Anne-Marie Hutchinson won International Family Lawyer of the Year.
It was a good night for 1 Garden Court and 4 Paper Buildings. The award for Chambers of the Year, sponsored by Lawdacity, went to 1 Garden Court while their head of chambers, Stephen Cobb QC, won Family Law QC of the Year (sponsored by Anglia DNA). Among the three other shortlisted nominees, Stephen was up against one of his colleagues at 1 Garden Court, Alison Russell QC. Meanwhile 4 Paper Buildings' Charles Hale and Michael Gration won Junior Barrister and Young Barrister of the Year respectively.
The Family Law Firm of the Year award, sponsored by 4 Paper Buildings, went to Atkins Hope.
Antonia Love from Farleys solicitors won Family Law Partner of the Year (sponsored by Goldsmith Chambers). The award for Family Law Associate Solicitor of the Year, sponsored by 1 Garden Court, went to Karan Chadha of Freemans Solicitors. The Family Law Young Solicitor of the Year was awarded to Amy Rowe of Bindmans.
Lucy Reed from St Johns Chambers won the Family Law Readers' Commentary Award for her excellent take on family law issues in her blog Pink Tape. This award was voted by the family law community for the best commentary in the preceding 12 months. Lucy narrowly lost out to Sir Peter Singer, Gavin Smith and Rhys Taylor, who jointly collected the award for Most Innovative Family Lawyer of the Year (sponsored by PKF accountants and business advisers) for their pioneering approach to family arbitration through their website familyarbitrator.com.
The most closely contested award voted by the family law community was the ADR Practitioner of the Year, sponsored by 4 Paper Buildings. The award went to Denise Ingamells from TV Edwards.
The final award of the evening went to Kate Purkiss from Coram Chambers who won Family Pro Bono Lawyer of the year. In her acceptance speech, Kate said that she was accepting the award on behalf of the many lawyers up and down the country who work tirelessly every day to prepare cases for their clients on a pro bono basis.
Jordan Publishing would like to congratulate all the winners and shortlisted nominees and thank everyone who submitted a nomination and voted.
The official photographs from the ceremony will be available next week.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS:
Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Family Law - Sponsored by Coram Chambers