Legal eagles set to soar as Glos & Wilts Law Society awards make a comeback

The cream of Swindon and Wiltshire’s law firms and their staff are to be recognised in a re-launched awards scheme.


The Gloucestershire & Wiltshire incorporated Law Society (GWILS) – the voice of solicitors, trainees, paralegals, legal secretaries and legal executives in the two counties – has brought back its Legal Excellence Awards.


GWILS, which was formed in 1817, was in danger of being wound up two years ago after a perceived lack of interest from younger members of the legal profession across the two counties.


However, a handful of determined members formed a new committee to breathe new life into the organisation. The Legal Excellence Awards are the latest initiative from GWILS as it regains its role as the voice of the legal profession in Gloucester and Wiltshire, providing functional and practical support to its members and liaising with the national Law Society to express their views.


Nominations for leading individuals and law firms are now being sought in seven award categories to celebrate and showcase the excellence and achievements of the legal profession across Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.


The winners will be announced at a three-course, black-tie dinner at the De Vere Cotswold Water Park, South Cerney, on November 23 – with more than 100 members of the two counties’ legal communities and guests expected to attend.


The categories are: Support Team Member of the Year; Junior Lawyer of the Year; Lawyer of the Year; Team of the Year; CSR Firm of the Year; and Law Firm of the Year.


An independent panel of judges will decide on the winners based on their conduct, dedication, commitment to clients and colleagues, contribution to the profession and/or the wider community, professionalism, leadership, energy, and their ability to ‘go the extra mile’. 


GWILS president Ramona Derbyshire, pictured, a litigation partner in the Swindon office of regional law firm Thrings, will present the President’s Outstanding Achievement Award to the individual who she feels has made an exceptional contribution to the legal sector, their firm and/or clients during their career. All entrants to the awards will automatically be considered for this category.


Bristol-based legal recruitment specialist Chadwick Nott is headline sponsor and a number of categories have already attracted sponsors, including Wessex Water and investment management firm Brewin Dolphin. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.


GWILS committee member Joanna Apperley, an associate solicitor at Thrings, is organising the awards.


She said: “The awards are about legal professionals looking around at the colleagues they work with every day – trainees, paralegals, legal cashiers, secretaries, receptionists, office managers, assistants, associate solicitors or partners – and articulating what makes them special.


“The judges are very much looking forward to hearing about the great work being done in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and celebrating the many accomplishments and talent which operates across the legal profession in our region.”


Chadwick Nott senior consultant Sarah Wood added: “We are delighted to sponsor these awards as we work with Top 100 and leading law firms, and some fantastic lawyers across Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.


“The dedicated Chadwick Nott team in the region is six-strong and many of us are lucky enough to have worked in this area for over 12 years with law firms of all shapes and sizes. It’s a region that can at times be overlooked when compared to the likes of Bristol or Cardiff, but with some great law firms in the region, there are many opportunities here.”


The awards ceremony will be hosted by legendary ITV West weatherman Bob Crampton. Proceeds from the evening will go to charity Maggie’s, which provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.


The awards will be taking place in GWIL’s 200th year and Ramona’s second as president. Last year under her leadership, GWILS’ membership rose by more than 25%, while its committee oversaw the re-branding of the organisation and the launch of a new website.  


Ramona said: “With GWILS having actively and successfully represented the views of its members and provided training and guidance on legal and regulatory issues in the legal community for two centuries, this year’s awards take on added significance.


“The society is very pleased to be relaunching the awards which provide an opportunity to recognise the finest talent and professional achievements of legal professionals and teams from across the two counties.”


Entrants to the awards can either self-nominate or be nominated by a friend, colleague or business organisation. The deadline for nominations is 4pm on September 21.


For more information, visit the GWILS website or contact Joanna Apperley on 01793 412542,



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