Family law practitioners have been recognised by the judges of the LexisNexis Legal Awards, held last night, 11 March, at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane.
The Awards recognise the finest achievements and talents of remarkable individuals and teams across the entire legal sector. The Bar, legal practice, in-house counsel, academia and legal journalism are all recognised, as is contribution to the promotion, growth and value of the sector. The LexisNexis Legal Awards bring more than 300 people together across every corner of the legal community at an unmissable event.
The Divorce Surgery were the winners of the Award for Legal Services Innovation. The judges felt that their service offered a simple human solution to a complex human problem. By setting a joint desired outcome and working backwards from there, it encourages couples going through a divorce to focus on joint solutions and impartially advises them together of the likely outcome at the beginning, turning the current adversarial model on its head. The judges were struck by the way that this service puts the customer first, empowering people to reach a fair agreement.
Family Law in Partnership were the winners of the Award for Wellbeing. The judges felt that they stood out through their concerted efforts in an area of practice where the need for wellbeing is heightened by the very nature of the job. Using the insight gained from working with vulnerable people in the family justice system they have developed a programme for their staff, providing a psychotherapist to discuss individual concerns as well as offering specialist training to help practitioners better understand the emotional and psychological impact of dealing with family breakdown. They have gone on to share this initiative with others through the creation of a diploma in family law supervision and their external outreach work with the Legal Professions Wellbeing Taskforce.
Baroness Hale of Richmond was the very deserving recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Studying law at Girton College, Cambridge – she was one of only six women in a class of 110 men. She graduated top of her class with a starred first. When called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1969, she once again came top of the list in that year’s bar finals. In 1984 she was the first woman, and the youngest ever person, to be appointed to the Law Commission. During her nine years there, she shaped several important reforms in family law. Most notably the Children Act of 1989. Her judicial career also began in 1989 when she was appointed as a Recorder. In 1994, she became a judge in the Family Division and was elevated to the Court of Appeal five years later. Subsequently, she became the first woman to be appointed as a Lord of Appeal in 2004. Having been appointed Deputy President of the Supreme Court in June 2013, she reached the pinnacle of the legal profession in 2017 when she was appointed President of the Supreme Court. During her time as President, she has been involved in some of the highest profile legal decisions of our time. She has called for balanced gender representation in the UK’s highest court. She has called for more judicial representation from people who are from a minority ethnic groups and for more judges to be appointed from less-privileged backgrounds.
You can check out the full list of finalists and winners on the LexisNexis Legal Awards website. We’d like to congratulate everyone who was shortlisted, and the winners in particular.