Wiltshire law firms Hyphen Law, Wiltshire Law Centre, Forrester Sylvester Mackett, and Goughs came away with prizes at the at Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Law Society Legal Excellence Awards last week.
The glittering ceremony took place at the De Vere Cotswold Water Park last week and was attended by many of the leading law firms throughout the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire area to recognise and celebrate significant achievements in the legal profession.
Christine Bunting of Hyphen Law, the specialist Court of Protection firm based in Swindon, was named Lawyer of the Year, beating tough competition to come out on top, and impressing the judges with her outstanding work and commitment to clients – often children and vulnerable young people who’ve sustained a severe brain injury and lack mental capacity.
Christine has specialised in helping clients with capacity issues for over 30 years. At Hyphen Law, she is instrumental in managing complex, high value personal injury awards arising from serious injury claims and medical negligence cases.
Working closely with solicitors and claimants, she provides invaluable input throughout the compensation legal process both as a skilled Deputy and as an expert witness in relation to Deputyship costs in personal injury litigation.
As head of the Hyphen Law legal team, she is a deputy for the property and financial affairs of many vulnerable clients and is regarded as a leading specialist in her field.
Christine is also a keen supporter of several charities and has an important role raising the profile of Cerebra, which helps to support children and young people with serious neurological conditions. She has overcome her fear of heights several times to sky dive and wing walk to raise funds for Cerebra.
In addition to the Lawyer of the Year award, Christine was a runner-up in the President’s Outstanding Achievement Award.
“What an honour to be announced as the GWILS’ ‘Lawyer of the Year 2017’ at their inaugural awards ceremony," said Christine.
"I am thrilled to be recognised by the local legal profession for my work helping and advising some of our most vulnerable clients.
"But it’s not just about me. I’m part of a fantastic team of specialist Court of Protection solicitors and support staff at Hyphen Law and I’m proud of the contribution they make every day and I’d like to thank them for all their hard work and commitment.”
In other categories, Richard Hazell, founder of Wiltshire Law Centre, received the President's Outstanding Achievement Award. Wiltshire Law Centre provides free legal representation on housing, anti-social behaviour, debt and welfare benefits.
Legal assistant Caroline Gassner won the Support Team Member of the Year. Caroline has worked as a legal assistant since leaving school in 1992, and recently celebrated 25 years with Forrester Sylvester Mackett.
Cheltenham-based Harrison Clark Rickerbys won the title of Law Firm of the Year, with Goughs being named runner up.
The firm’s Goughs Values initiative was put forward for nomination and involved the creation of a trust-based environment and a shared vision to help inspire all employees, allowing them to take ownership over performance-enhancing interactions every day.
Goughs’ aim is to foster an engaging, high performance culture which is celebrated through reward and recognition.
Kevin Basnett, managing partner of Goughs Solicitors, said: “We are proud to say that Goughs was the only firm in Wiltshire to win an award in this category, and to be recognised as one of the foremost law firms by an elite panel of legal professionals is a real honour.
“This award is a fitting tribute to the hard work and dedication of all of our people, who are all ambassadors for the firm. Above all, our Values initiative allows us to deliver a shared vision and consistently high quality service that benefits all of our clients”.