And the winners of the (virtual) Legal Cheek Awards 2020 are…

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By Aishah Hussain on

Who won what

Legal Cheek‘s annual awards ceremony returned this year, virtually, to celebrate the top trainee-rated firms and chambers of 2020. The Awards are based on the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey of over 2,000 trainees and junior lawyers.

Two-hundred guests donned their most glamorous getups (from the waist upwards!) and tuned in live to last night’s Virtual Legal Cheek Awards, an invite-only online event sponsored by BARBRI.

Legal Cheek founder and host Alex Aldridge kicked off the evening with a short welcome featuring Legal Cheek reporter and resident DJ Adam Mawardi.

But before the bash got underway BARBRI managing director Sarah Hutchinson delivered an online presentation of the findings of the Legal Cheek 60-second SQE survey. This was followed by the premiere of the annual Legal Cheek mockumentary, produced exclusively for the event by the Legal Cheek team.

A screenshot of the Virtual Legal Cheek Awards in action

Aldridge was then joined by award sponsors and guest presenters to announce the winners for the 21 categories of this year’s awards to an upbeat, themed soundtrack (have a listen as you scan the shortlists below), while viewers heckled and chatted along themselves in the chat sidebar.

A virtual cocktail hour of networking ensued in which guests participated in five three-minute video chats with other attendees chosen at random. In the ‘Expo’ guests hung-out with members of the Legal Cheek team, video chatting in groups and toasting this year’s winners in tents named after various tipples. DJ Adam’s disco tent went down a treat!

The session paused briefly at 8pm so guests could participate in the national round of applause for NHS staff working on the frontline to fight COVID-19, before concluding with closing remarks from the Legal Cheek team and goodbyes in the Expo tents.

The Legal Cheek team say their goodbyes, alongside BARBRI’s Sarah Hutchinson

So who won what? Read on to find out.

Best Law Firm for Training 2020: Clifford Chance

Highly commended: Baker McKenzie, Burges Salmon, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, Irwin Mitchell, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Mayer Brown, Mills & Reeve, Osborne Clarke, Squire Patton Boggs, Taylor Wessing, Travers Smith, Womble Bond Dickinson

Best Law Firm for Quality of Work 2020: Weil Gotshal & Manges

Highly commended: Forsters, Hill Dickinson, Hogan Lovells, Irwin Mitchell, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Macfarlanes, Milbank, Mills & Reeve, Osborne Clarke, Ropes & Gray, Shearman & Sterling, Taylor Wessing, Wiggin

Best Law Firm for Peer Support 2020: Bristows

Highly commended: CMS, Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Gowling WLG, Hogan Lovells, Mills & Reeve, Norton Rose Fulbright, RPC, Reed Smith, Shoosmiths, Taylor Wessing, Travers Smith, Wiggin, Womble Bond Dickinson

Best Law Firm for Partner Approachability 2020: Osborne Clarke

Highly commended: Addleshaw Goddard, Bristows, Burges Salmon, Clyde & Co, Fletchers, Hill Dickinson, Hogan Lovells, Howard Kennedy, Pinsent Masons, RPC, Shoosmiths, Squire Patton Boggs, Travers Smith, Trowers & Hamlins, Womble Bond Dickinson

Best Law Firm for Work/Life Balance 2020: Irwin Mitchell

Presented by LawCare, the charity that supports and promotes mental health and wellbeing in the legal community throughout the UK and Ireland.

Highly commended: Ashfords, Blake Morgan, Bristows, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, DWF Group Plc, Farrer & Co, Forsters, Gateley, Hill Dickinson, Mills & Reeve

Best Law Firm for Tech 2020: Taylor Wessing

Presented by STEM Future Lawyers, the legal careers network for science, technology, engineering and maths students.

Highly commended: Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Bird & Bird, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, CMS, Clifford Chance, DWF Group Plc, Gowling WLG, Orrick, Osborne Clarke, Pinsent Masons, Womble Bond Dickinson

Best Law Firm for Perks 2020: Linklaters

Highly commended: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Dechert, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, Kirkland & Ellis, Shearman & Sterling, Skadden, Weil Gotshal & Manges, White & Case

Best Law Firm Office 2020: Ashurst

Highly commended: Ashurst, Burges Salmon, Clifford Chance, Gowling WLG, Kirkland & Ellis, Norton Rose Fulbright, Reed Smith, Ropes & Gray, Taylor Wessing, Vinson & Elkins, Weil Gotshal & Manges

Best Law Firm Canteen 2020: Burges Salmon

Highly commended: Addleshaw Goddard, Ashurst, Bird & Bird, Clyde & Co, Hogan Lovells, Kirkland & Ellis, Linklaters, Mayer Brown, Taylor Wessing

Best Law Firm for Social Life 2020: Travers Smith

Highly commended: Baker McKenzie, Bird & Bird, Bristows, Burges Salmon, Eversheds Sutherland, Fieldfisher, Fletchers, Herbert Smith Freehills, Pinsent Masons, Wiggin, Womble Bond Dickinson

Best Law Firm for International Secondments 2020: Sullivan & Cromwell

Presented by HBW Consulting, a boutique agency that works as a specialist extension to your graduate recruitment team, helping law firms with media strategy, spend and analysis.

Highly commended: Allen & Overy, Baker McKenzie, Dechert, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, HFW, Shearman & Sterling, Sidley Austin, Watson Farley & Williams,White & Case

Best Law Firm for Client Secondments 2020: Shoosmiths

Highly commended: Bristows, Allen & Overy, Squire Patton Boggs, DAC Beachcroft, Mayer Brown, CMS, Bird & Bird, RPC, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Weightmans

Most Admired Law Firm 2020: Allen & Overy

Highly commended: Bird & Bird, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Osborne Clarke, Pinsent Masons, Slaughter and May

The Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Firm of the Year 2020: Hogan Lovells

Presented by BARBRI, the international legal qualifications specialist.

Highly commended: Bird & Bird, Burges Salmon, Gowling WLG, Kirkland & Ellis, Mills & Reeve, Osborne Clarke, Squire Patton Boggs, Taylor Wessing, Womble Bond Dickinson

Best Chambers for Training 2020: 4 Pump Court

Presented by Bar Squared, legal tech company and developers of LEX, a leading software solution for barristers’ chambers.

Highly commended: 2 Temple Gardens, 4 New Square, 5 Essex Court, Devereux Chambers, Hardwicke, Kings Chambers, Landmark Chambers, Monckton Chambers, Wilberforce Chambers

Best Chambers for Quality of Work 2020: Wilberforce Chambers

Presented by Bar Squared.

Highly commended: 4 Pump Court, 5 Essex Court, Blackstone Chambers, Brick Court Chambers, Hailsham Chambers, Hardwicke, Henderson Chambers, Littleton Chambers, Radcliffe Chambers, Serjeants’ Inn Chambers, Serle Court

Best Chambers for Colleague Support 2020: 5 Essex Court

Presented by Bar Squared.

Highly commended: 1 Crown Office Row, 11KBW, 2 Temple Gardens, Cornerstone Barristers, Exchange Chambers, Hailsham Chambers, Henderson Chambers, Keating Chambers, Landmark Chambers

Best Chambers for Facilities 2020: Hardwicke

Presented by Bar Squared.

Highly commended: 4 New Square, Cornerstone Barristers, Exchange Chambers, Littleton Chambers, Matrix Chambers, Radcliffe Chambers, Serjeants’ Inn Chambers, Serle Court, Wilberforce Chambers

Best Chambers for Work/Life Balance 2020: Hailsham Chambers

Presented by Bar Squared.

Highly commended: 5 Essex Court, Atkin Chambers, Cornerstone Barristers, Exchange Chambers, Francis Taylor Building, Littleton Chambers, Matrix Chambers, Radcliffe Chambers

Best Use of Social Media 2020: Carpool Caselaw

The winner of the ‘Best Use of Social Media 2020’ award was decided by an independent judging panel made up of Rob Rinder, aka Judge Rinder (English criminal barrister and TV personality), Joanna Hardy (Red Lion Chambers criminal barrister) and Angelica Olawepo (LSE law student and last year’s ‘Best Use of Social Media 2019’ award winner).

Highly commended: YouTuber, LSE student and future White & Case trainee solicitor Ali Obeid (The FleekTalks), Vlogger and Irwin Mitchell personal injury associate Chrissie Wolfe (Law and Broader), Cambridge University law student and YouTuber Elena Handtrack, Mental health and wellbeing advocate, yogi, Pilates instructor, dancer and Instagram influencer Eloise Skinner, YouTuber and Linklaters trainee solicitor Eve Cornwell, LinkedIn influencer and future Baker McKenzie trainee solicitor Gordon Chung, Cambridge University grad turned law student vlogger and diversity advocate Ibz Mo, The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s SQE-focused video series, Shoosmiths’ Instagram-Live Q&A

Best Legal Cheek Journal Contribution 2020: Jordan Briggs for Williams v Roffey Bros: The uncertainty in contract law’

Presented by LPC Law, a specialist firm of solicitors, focused on providing a high quality advocacy and clerking service to clients throughout England and Wales.

The winner of this category was decided by an independent judging panel made up of Alex Wade (writer, freelance journalist and libel lawyer with Reviewed and Cleared), Sarah Langford (3PB crime and family law barrister and author) and Len Crowder (LPC Law director).

Highly commended: ‘Warwick student rape chat scandal: Should they be prosecuted?’ by Fraser Collingham, ‘Facebook’s cryptocurrency and the regulatory challenges ahead’ by Joshua Prior, ‘Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence?’ by Naz Khan, ‘Big Tech and competition law explained’ by Patrick Todd

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