The Legal 500 has announced a fresh take on the run-of-the-mill awards ceremonies, with the launch of its Legal 500 2013 Awards.
Awards ceremonies are big business in today’s legal market. But, increasingly, they are all the same: big black tie events, where you sit at a table of whoever the firms could persuade/bribe/beg to attend.
According to Legal 500 Publishing Director, David Burgess: “Our view is that we want to recognise the best in the business, without all the hoopla of an event to overshadow it.”
Using Legal 500‘s in-depth research as a starting point, the aim will be to judge the work of firms and barristers on the submissions they’ve already provided during the Legal 500 research process. The awards themselves will therefore follow the practice areas in the Legal 500 book, apart from the few regional/jurisdictional awards (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Offshore). The Bar awards, meanwhile, will recognise sets and QCs across the sections.
So far, so familiar, right? But, there are some crucial differences that make Legal 500‘s awards a somewhat different beast.
First, awards won’t be handed out on the night (so, no long ceremony – something I’m sure will make a lot of people very happy). Instead, firms will be presented with a trophy and logos which they can use for promoting the firm.
Secondly – and here’s the real difference – there won’t be a massive event at a London hotel for a thousand people. No big black tie event, no table sales… a departure indeed. Instead, winners will be invited to a networking dinner, with a mix of firms, sets/QCs and importantly, in-house lawyers – to deepen relationships and be allowed to properly network.
And the real difference between Legal 500‘s awards and pretty much every other awards event in the market? None of the attendees will be charged money to attend.
It’s a pretty radical approach, and it will be interesting to see whether it catches on. But however it is greeted in the market, one thing is for sure: innovation seems to be the new watchword at Legal 500. And that can only be a good thing for the market generally.