Diva of Divorce up against most-followed lawyer on Instagram in battle for ‘Legal Personality of the Year’ crown

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By Jonathan Ames on

It’s solicitor v barrister in fight for coveted Law Society gong


It will be bling with lashings of glitz at this year’s Law Society excellence awards as the solicitors’ body has shortlisted two of the legal profession’s flashiest self-promoters for gongs.

Divorce law queen Ayesha Vardag will go head to head with Doughty Street Chambers pin-up barrister Tunde Okewale for the title of “personality of the year”.

Vardag is renowned for her high-profile client list, her views on pre-nuptial agreements and her own blinging wedding of a year ago.

The so-called Diva of Divorce made legal profession headlines when she acted in the Supreme Court case of Radmacher, which arguably gave pre-nups a boost in English law.

She then made society column headlines with her pre-wedding website for her marriage in June 2014. It highlighted a “Harry Winston peridot and diamond affair” engagement ring and read like a feature from the Tatler.

Okewale is likewise no stranger to media coverage. He is well known as the most followed barrister on Instagram and was placed at number 33 in last year’s list of the 35 coolest Britons published by style bible GQ magazine.

But Okewale is also no stranger to a spot of controversy, having found himself a couple of months ago in the middle of a social media row with non-practising barrister and media talking-head Sophia Cannon.

Adding to the glamour of the evening is top line sponsorship from the motorcar of choice of legal aid lawyers around the country, Maserati.

But while Vardag and Okewale seem to have personality to spare, the rest of the award short-list nosedives on the entertainment front.

For some reason, the award organisers have nominated two crime specialist solicitors — Bill Waddington and Robin Murray — together as a single entry, as though there were connected at the hip (they are not).

Also on the list is Joss Saunders, the general counsel at charity Oxfam, Zoe Norden, a junior in-house lawyer at The Guardian newspaper, Rebecca Stevens, another family law specialist solicitor (so keep ‘em peeled for a potential cat-fight with Vardag on the night), and Michael Ward, the senior partner at law firm Gateley. Presumably his winning personality was the driving factor in that practice’s recent stock market flotation.

The joy and the tears will all take place on 22 October at the Hilton Hotel in London’s exclusive Park Lane.