The winners of the 2023 Leicestershire Law Society Awards have been revealed during a prize ceremony at Winstanley House hotel.
The evening included a special president’s lifetime achievement award presented in memory of Mukesh Patel, one of Leicester’s best loved lawyers, who died earlier this spring. He was managing partner of the Leicester office of law firm Freeths, and was a highly-regarded and popular member of the city’s bustling business scene.
The annual awards honoured 10 companies and professionals who have played important roles in local legal circles in recent months and years.
Smith Partnership was picked as large law firm of the year while the small law firm award went to Josiah Hincks. Solicitor of the year was Rakesh Veja, of Thaliwal & Veja Solicitors.
The awards were organised and presented by Gina Samuel-Richards, Leicestershire Law Society’s first president of African heritage, who chose a Moroccan theme for the night to represent the country’s melting pot of cultures.
She said: “For my year-long Leicestershire Law Society presidency, ‘legacy’ is the theme I settled upon. I am the first person of African heritage to hold my office.
“To be the first of anything carries its own challenges and rewards. I took on this role with the knowledge of the weight it places on my shoulders, representing the dynamic and powerful legal community of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and representing the black community, setting a path for all those that come after us.
“I hope my presidency acts as a legacy to people of this generation no matter their class, race or beliefs proving to them that no matter their background, there can be success and triumph in their future. And I know our finalists will leave their own legacy.
“Our judges have had their work cut out for them during this awards process. After meeting the finalists at this year’s announcement event in the Nelsons offices, I understood the calibre of the contenders and the difficulty of the task that our judges had ahead of them.
“I was ecstatic to hear who the winners were and to share those special moments with them.”
Large Law Firm of the Year: Smith Partnership
Small Law Firm of the Year: Josiah Hincks
Junior Solicitor of the Year: Marcus Blakelock, Weightmans LLP
Trainee/Paralegal: Chloe Lake, Wilson Browne Solicitors
Support Staff Member of the Year: Madeleine Ingall, Parity Legal
Chambers of the Year: 2 New Street Chambers
Solicitor of the Year: Rakesh Veja, Thaliwal & Veja Solicitors
Legal Executive of the Year: Ahmed Mangera, Weightmans LLP
Barrister of the Year: Mr Oliver Nunn, KCH Garden Square
President’s Lifetime Achievement Award: Mukesh Patel (1969-2023)
Michael Hanney chief executive and co-founder of Nottingham-based ReviewSolicitors, which was the headline sponsor of the event, said: “These awards have a significant and lasting impact on the community. By celebrating outstanding achievements and promoting transparency, the awards not only inspire legal professionals to pursue excellence but also foster trust and confidence among clients seeking legal services.
“At ReviewSolicitors, we are strong advocates for the power of client feedback to drive improvements in legal service delivery. By partnering with the Leicestershire Law Society, we hope to encourage even more law firms and practitioners to embrace transparency, continuously improve their service, and meet the needs of clients in an ever-evolving landscape.”
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