Welcome from the chair 

Natalie Cosgrove, president of the Yorkshire Union of Law Societies 

Welcome friends.

There is a tired old saying at these events, that everyone shortlisted is worthy, as is every single entrant. There is a wealth in this room, that spans across the Yorkshire region.

That statement may be rolled out, but there is a lot of truth to it and on behalf of the judges whom collectively spent hours and hours reading entries, it was never a chore. It is a genuine honour and delight to read greatness from all over the County.

A wealth we should be so very proud of, from the deals, to the deeds, to developing teams, making an actual positive change to diversity, openness and inclusivity to the profession—we have it all. Yes, we may have more to do, but one thing I can say on behalf of the judges, there are pockets of this County doing mighty work.

There really has been a breadth of entries and I can only hope that this increases year on year.

Let us take a moment tonight to look around at the room. Look at your colleagues, peers and as I have said: friends. This is where it starts. It’s not just those who walk away with an award. We are the embodiment of what is great in Yorkshire and nationally.

No matter whether you are a finalist, a colleague or a guest, feast on that because it’s here, it’s out in the offices, on the kitchen tables working away with three kids and home schooling. It’s in the late nights and the rainy days. It’s in the coffee that has gone cold because you are knee deep in the CPR. It’s the trying and trying again. From the rising stars trying to get on the ladder to the managing partners trying to keep their beloved firms afloat in the pandemic.

Here’s to those who navigated a very tough time, to those who grew against adversity and to those who shine.

If you are looking for inspiration, reason to press on, then look no further. What we have right here in this County is splendid indeed.

Have a wonderful evening all. It’s so good to be back, isn’t it!