Pinsent Masons was crowned Law Firm of the Year (16 partners or more) at this year’s Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards.

The firm saw off strong competition from heavyweight rivals Browne Jacobson, Gateley, Gowling WLG and Mills & Reeve to win the coveted title.

The win marks a triumphant return to the awards for Pinsent Masons, which was last shortlisted in 2010.

In the Law Firm of the Year (5 – 15 partners) and Law Firm of the Year (up to four partners) categories there were wins for Thursfields and Neil Davies & Partners respectively.

This year, Birmingham Law Society introduced two new categories to recognise corporate and in-house legal teams.

The Corporate Team of the Year award was won by Eversheds, while Jaguar Land Rover picked up the award for In-House Legal Team of the Year.

In the individual categories there were awards for Liz Cooper of DWF (Trainee Solicitor of the Year), Kate Oliver of Gateley (Assistant/Associate Solicitor of the Year), Vinesh Mandalia of No5 Chambers (Barrister of the Year), Andrew Verlander of FBC Manby Bowdler (Chartered Legal Executive of the Year), Jaspreet Atwal of Anthony Collins Solicitors (Paralegal of the Year),
Inez Brown of Harrison Clark Rickerbys (Partner of the Year), and Greg Lowson of Pinsent Masons (Corporate Social Responsibility/Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year).

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony held at the International Convention Centre. More than 560 people attended the event, which was hosted by writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth.

Mushtaq Khan, president of Birmingham Law Society, said: “This year’s awards were extremely hard fought with all categories well represented, demonstrating the strength and depth of legal talent we have in the region.

“The Legal Awards is not just about rewarding legal excellence; it is also about recognising the valuable contribution lawyers, law firms and other legal professionals make to supporting the local economy and the communities they serve.”

In addition to the 12 award categories, a special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Professor Bernardette Griffin for her contribution to the legal profession over the past 30 years.

A qualified solicitor, Bernardette has spent the majority of her career working as an academic. After completing a Masters of Law at The University of Birmingham, Bernardette worked at The University of Wolverhampton and in 2001 was appointed as the first regional director of the University of Law (formerly the College of Law).

Bernardette has also occupied a number of voluntary roles within Birmingham Law Society, including joint honorary secretary, director of learning and development and chair of the education and training committee.

Mushtaq said: “Bernardette has been and continues to be a loyal servant of Birmingham Law Society. Her commitment and devotion to the legal profession during her long and distinguished career is exemplary and it is fitting that Bernardette’s years of service are recognised with the Lifetime Achievement award.”

Sponsors of this year’s awards included Advanced Legal, Arthur J Gallagher, Birmingham Airport, Birmingham City University, BPP University Law School, Landmark Information Group, The Law Society, Midshire Business Systems, MMA Digital, No5 Chambers, Severn Trent Searches, St Philips Chambers, TitleSolv, Turkish Airlines, The University of Law, and The University of Wolverhampton.