It has been a busy year in the North West legal market. With market confidence high and increased activity, firms have been busy. Hard work is finally being recognised for four Partners in North West law firms, all of which are female. In the shortlist for the Law Society Excellence Awards Legal Business Woman of the Year category, are four influential leaders. Joy Kingsley, Senior Partner of Manchester based commercial firm JMW, hits not only this shortlist, but has made this year’s Women 100 list in the Insider. Joy has been instrumental in JMW’s growth, and with fees up this year by 15% to £17.2m JMW has just had it’s best ever year. Emma Nawaz, founder of Blackstone Solicitors in Hale has also been recognised for the growth of her dispute resolution boutique firm and the work she has done in the local Cheshire market. It has been a busy year for Karen Jackson of Wilmslow based Roberts Jackson, after selling a stake of the business to Manchester based private equity firm NorthEdge Capital. Christine Thornley of Gorvins Solicitors is also nominated for both Legal Business Woman of the Year and private practice solicitor of the year, up against Lorna Vanderkamp at Roberts Jackson.
The Law Society Excellence Awards are a prestigious awards, and with four out of ten finalists in the Legal Business Woman of the Year category being based in the North West, this shows the strength of the region and profiles of the women shortlisted. As mentioned already, Joy Kingsley also makes it into the Insider Women 100 list this year. She is joined by other leading ladies and business women in the North West, including others from the legal profession. Helen Ridge, Manchester Managing Partner of national law firm Pinsent Masons is a leading entry following the continued growth and performance of the firm in the Manchester market. Jane Haxby from Squire Patton Boggs is also recognised for her profile in the corporate market both in Manchester and as head of the firm’s corporate practice across Europe and the Middle East. Geraldine Ryan, Head of the Commercial Litigation Team and Manchester office Managing Partner of Hill Dickinson makes an appearance for another year, and Emma Holt is awarded for her strategic leadership in guiding Pannone smoothly through an acquisition by Slater & Gordon earlier this year. Recognition is also extended to those in industry, such as Jayne Burrell Company Secretary of Iceland – Jayne took on her role in 2011 after heading a £1.55bn management buyout.
Compiling shortlists for such prestigious awards and lists is tough, and for so many women in Manchester and the North West to be included is not only testament to the hard work and profile of those shortlisted, but the strength of the region as a whole.