Solicitors Journal Legal Personality of the Year Award shortlist revealed
Five weeks today, the inaugural Solicitors Journal Awards: Recognising brilliance in a changing legal world will announce the winner of the first Solicitors Journal's Legal Personality of the Year Award.
One Crown Office Row barrister Adam Wagner, 36 Bedford Row silk Felicity Gerry QC, and Simpson Millar medical negligence partner Peter Stefanovic all have made the final cut for the Solicitors Journal Legal Personality of the Year Award. The two barristers and one solicitor will be judged by the extensive panel of Solicitors Journal Awards judges, which includes Andy Slaughter MP, Labour peer Lord Bach, and FT legal correspondent Jane Croft.
The shortlist for Legal Personality of the Year Award was decided on by the Solicitors Journal editorial team, who considered lawyers that had performed exceptional case work over the past 12 months, represented the profession in a positive light to the public, and/or championed a legal cause.
Adam Wagner, the 1 Crown Office Row chambers' barrister, is well known for his advocacy work championing human rights in court and in the media. Founding editor of the acclaimed and non-ideological UK Human Rights Blog, the public law specialist was longlisted for the 2011 Orwell prize for blogging and shortlisted for Human Rights Lawyer of the Year at the Liberty Awards in 2015.
In addition to his numerous high-profile court appearances, such as acting as junior counsel for Ameen Jogee in the Supreme Court challenge to the law of joint enterprise, the Solicitors Journal Awards judges were impressed with Wagner's work bringing human rights to life through his award winning RightsInfo project.
Launched in April 2015, RightsInfo and has since been viewed hundreds of thousands of times thanks to its unique use of infographics, stories, and social media. Within months of its unveiling, the website won the prestigious Plain English Campaign Communicator Award.
With research showing that 70 per cent of human rights coverage in the UK media is negative, RightsInfo has helped to reenergise the debate over why human rights matter in the UK and the important role of the European Court of Human Rights. The site has become a go-to platform for students, lawyers, journalists, and members of the public alike to find accurate information free of rhetoric and bias.
Felicity Gerry QC
With her successful appearance before the Supreme Court in R v Jogee, high-profile international barrister Felicity Gerry QC has had a whirlwind start to 2016. The landmark decision saw the UK's highest court find that the controversial principle of joint enterprise had been wrongly interpreted for more than three decades.
Described as 'tenacious' and 'fearless', the 36 Bedford Row silk was without fear or favour when she slammed Lord Sumption's controversial comments on judicial diversity in 2015 as 'the last gasp of the old white male in his ivory tower'. The human rights barrister has also received praise for her campaigning work for the release of Lindsay Sandiford, the British grandmother currently facing a firing squad in Bali and for assisting in the last minute reprieve from execution of Filipina Mary Jane Veloso.
Gerry has carved a niche advising on some of the most complex criminal and civil cases for over 20 years, including advising on the restraint of assets of an oligarch, a specialism in the law on female genital mutilation and a successful appeal on the Mens Rea for importing indecent images. Chair of the research and research training committee at the Charles Darwin University School of Law, Gerry has undertaken research projects in relation rape in conflict zones, honour violence, indigenous justice, and global cyber rights.
The cross-qualified barrister - she is admitted to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia - is a distinguished author including of The Sexual Offences Handbook and a well-known media commentator, appearing on such channels as the BBC, Sky News, and Al Jazeera.
Over recent months, solicitor Peter Stefanovic has turned the NHS debate on its head. The medical negligence lawyer, who regularly represents patients against doctors, became the most unlikely ally for the medical profession when he crossed the courtroom floor to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with junior doctors and nurses against government reforms to the health service.
Delivering impassioned speeches to tens of thousands against the government's controversial proposals to impose 'unfair and unjust' contracts on the medical profession, the highly experienced civil litigator has marched with junior doctors, as well as student nurses and midwives in their fight against plans to scrap NHS bursaries.
In his spare time the Simpson Millar partner has made a name for himself as a campaigning practitioner and a quasi-journalist. Unhappy with the mainstream media's spin on the NHS debate, Stefanovic has taken to the streets with a camera crew to educate the public on the issues facing the medical profession. His short films have been viewed by hundreds of thousands on social media.
Stefanovic has also taken pen to paper and, in an article for Solicitors Journal, urged his fellow lawyers to support the junior doctor cause from both a moral, ethical, and professional standpoint. He has brought the professions together for the first time with the BMA praising his campaign work in its Journal as well as posting his films.
Solicitors Journal has been taken by Stefanovic' s commitment to fight for justice outside of the courtroom for a cause he passionately supports and that is in the wider public interest.
The winner of the Legal Personality of the Year Award will be announced on 25 May at Grand Connaught Rooms, London. The inaugural awards will be hosted by Andrew Marr.
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