“Every single night of every single year the Grosvenor House hotel in London is filled with Jimmy Carr, who is presenting Geoff Stokes with an award for being the best fertiliser salesman in the northwest. Geoff isn’t, though. It’s just that his company has bought more advertising that year from the organisers,” wrote Jeremy Clarkson in his Sunday Times column (£) last week.
Well, the same applies in law. The most recent example of this phenomenon occurred last week at the City Wealth Magazine ‘Magic Circle Awards’ held at London's Grange Hotel.
Out of nowhere, Baker & McKenzie and Katten Munchin Roseman swooped in to scoop the top prizes of, respectively, best law firm/best international law firm, and lawyer of the year/international lawyer of the year.
How did they do it? Now, doubtless both these organisations stand head and shoulders above their peers, with their respective "lawyers of the year" wonderful individuals who will be remembered fondly for generations to come. But even so, might the wins not have something to do with the fact that Baker and Katten sponsored the ‘Magic Circle Awards’?
A near-identical thing happened last year when Financial Times ‘Innovative Lawyers Awards’ lead sponsor Allen & Overy walked away with the “most innovative law firm in Europe” gong.
And there are similar annual shenanigans at The Lawyer Awards and Legal Week’s grandly titled ‘British Legal Awards’. Remarkably, though, the lawyers just don't seem to care.