The region’s best lawyers and firms celebrate at the Yorkshire Legal Awards 2021

The region’s best lawyers and firms celebrate at the Yorkshire Legal Awards 2021

Hägen Wolf, BW Legal and Mills & Reeve were named the Law Firms of the Year last night at the Yorkshire Legal Awards 2021.

This year’s Yorkshire Legal Awards returned to an in-person ceremony at New Dock Hall in Leeds, with hundreds of guests in attendance to celebrate the successes and achievements of the local and regional profession.

The 2021 Small, Medium and Large Law Firms of the Year are Hägen Wolf, BW Legal and Mills & Reeve, respectively. 

Addleshaw Goddard and Thrive Law were the biggest winners last night—picking up three awards and two, respectively—to cap off a Yorkshire Legal Awards 2021 ceremony in which 23 categories were closely fought.

Of the awards for practitioners, Neil Hudgell, managing partner of Hudgell Solicitors, is the 2021 Yorkshire Lawyer of the Year.

Reflecting on the judging process and the quality on display, Natalie Cosgrove, president of the Yorkshire Union of Law Societies, a healthcare lawyer at Switalskis Solicitors and chair of the independent judging panel for 2021, said: “Whilst nominees clearly want to win awards, we are lawyers after all, it is built into our very being. I would just suggest that this is more. So much more.”

“I have read every single entry, as have all the judges and those entries were vast. We have all at times felt overwhelmed, in awe, and so incredibly proud of what we have to offer here in Yorkshire.”

All the winners and what the judges had to say

Chambers of the Year (Sponsored by Porsche Centre Leeds)

Parklane Plowden Chambers

“The 2021 Chambers of the Year is a dynamic set doing excellent work across a good range of practice areas. It is also taking its corporate social responsibility activity seriously, doing a lot of charity work and providing significant pro bono support.”

Commercial Property Award (Sponsored by InfoTrack)

Addleshaw Goddard

“The winner of this award is completing highly impressive commercial property deals for important clients in the North, as well as investing in technology to save on costs and improve processes. It is also carrying out excellent diversity initiatives, including some that involve clients.”

Corporate & Commercial Award


“This winner is an example of Yorkshire’s finest, with excellent work being carried out on some impressive transactions for its client base in the region. The winner of the 2021 Corporate & Commercial Award also has a good pro bono offering.”

Criminal Law Award

Howard and Byrne

“The winner of 2021 Criminal Law Award is a local firm with international reach. It provides a consistently good service and invests in quality training to keep its staff at the forefront of this vital practice area.”

Debt Recovery Award (Sponsored by High Court Enforcement Group)

Lupton Fawcett

“The winner of this award is developing a focused and effective debt recovery offering that is delivering results for clients, via a flexible and innovative approach, while engaging with external organisations to assist those that cannot afford to take legal advice.”

Diversity & Inclusion Award

Addleshaw Goddard

“This firm is working extremely hard on diversity and inclusion and deserves the recognition of this award. Its focus is broad and impactful, particularly in recruitment, where it is really impressive. An example for others to follow.”

Employment Law Award (Sponsored by St Philips Chambers)

Thrive Law

“The winner of 2021 Employment Law Award is highly forward-thinking for a niche firm and is consistently putting its ethos for mental health into practice. It is more than a law firm and contributes to the culture of the legal profession. The judges are amazed by how much this firm has achieved.”

Family Law Award (Sponsored by Spire Barristers)

Stowe Family Law (Yorkshire Team)

“The winning family law team are solid and pragmatic in a sometimes confrontational area of law. They have a well-earned reputation for being steady hands and a pleasure to work with.”

In-House Award (Sponsored by DLA Piper)

British Business Bank

“The winner of the In-House Award is doing an incredibly important job and is an admirable contributor to the Yorkshire economy. In particular, its legal team carried out quality work to support the roll-out of vital programmes at pace and scale during the pandemic.”

Intellectual Property Award

Appleyard Lees

“This firm is very good at what it does and goes the extra mile to look after clients. Its IP work is of the highest quality, as is its contribution to the local community, particularly through its growth fund for startups seeking IP protection.”

Law Firm of the Year: Large

Mills & Reeve

“The 2021 Law Firm of the Year: Large is impressive in many respects, including its work in a range of practice areas, receiving high plaudits for its role as an employer and improving the client experience, among many others. For a national firm, it is also very active in Leeds.”

Law Firm of the Year: Medium

BW Legal

“This firm is victorious in a highly competitive category with many candidates. The winner stands out for its impressive growth and level of recognition, both of which were achieved in a short space of time. It is also producing impressive results in several areas.”

Law Firm of the Year: Small

Hägen Wolf

“The winner of Law Firm of the Year: Small is an impressive firm that continues to attract big clients, and it managed to grow during the pandemic year. Its approach to measuring success is particularly innovative, and it is big believer in investing in its people to keep pushing the firm forward.”

Litigation & Dispute Resolution Award

Switalskis Solicitors

“Litigation and dispute resolution work of the kind this firm is being recognised for is highly demanding and difficult. Its child abuse compensation team are doing a fantastic job, with their work attracting national attention. They are very worthy winners.”

Managing Partner of the Year

Andrew Meehan, Harrogate Family Law

“The 2021 Managing Partner of the Year is clearly a top-ranking lawyer, but who has also built a superb law firm from scratch that nurtures its employees and brings the best out of them, while taking treating clients with the utmost care. The winner is also deeply involved in the wider profession and local community.”

Niche Law Firm of the Year

Thrive Law

“This law firm is fairly new, but it is doing extremely well in a competitive area of law. Its growing team champion good wellbeing and go above and beyond their roles as lawyers.”

Partner of the Year

Ben Townsend, Stewarts Law

“The winner of this award wowed the judges as a superb professional who develops junior colleagues and is consistently supportive. This Partner of the Year creates a progressive atmosphere for others to thrive in—a very worthy winner.”

Private Client Award

Bell & Buxton Solicitors

“The winning team of the 2021 Private Client Award is well-led, deeply integrated with the local community and highly client-focused. An example for others to follow.”

Regulatory & Compliance Award

Eversheds Sutherland International (Environment, Health and Safety Team)

“The winning team does a lot of high-profile work in Leeds that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be carried out in the city. They are a clear winner that also do a lot of impressive charity work.”

Residential Property Award (Sponsored by Future Climate Info)

Lindsey Frith, Ramsdens Solicitors

“This lawyer is the stand-out winner of this award for pushing their team forward during the pandemic and a particularly difficult year. The winner demonstrated a level of hard work that impressed the judges.”

Rising Star of the Year (Sponsored by Park Square Barristers)

Haleema Ishaq, Addleshaw Goddard

“The winner of Rising Star of the Year for 2021 has risen through the ranks of the firm thanks to a superb attitude and lots of talent. The winner impressed the judges for never giving up and is very much a role model for other potential legal stars in Yorkshire.”

Trainee Solicitor of the Year (Sponsored by The Apprenticeship Guide)

Ellie Hirst, Chadwick Lawrence

“This trainee has achieved so much in a short space of time, demonstrating an aptitude beyond their years. The judges were impressed with this trainee for taking on so much and believe they are a promising sign for the future of the profession.”

Yorkshire Lawyer of the Year 

Neil Hudgell, Hudgell Solicitors 

“The 2021 Yorkshire Lawyer of the Year award goes to a lawyer for their pro bono representation of clients in a huge case that attracted national headlines. Their work was vital, superb and incredibly impressive. They are also well thought of by their peers.”

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Mark Dugdale

Mark is the Editor of Yorkshire Legal. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached by emailing