Lawyers including the senior partner of Carter Ruck have used an awards factory based in Birmingham to burnish their trophy cabinets.

'Corporate INTL' claims that it undertakes "detailed research" into nominees and creates a shortlist of "up to" five potential winners in each category, who are then whittled down to a winner by an "independent panel". However the likelihood of lawyers (who can nominate themselves) facing any competition appears slim given that they can invent their own category. Or perhaps Shoosmiths partner Paul Eccles beat a crowded field to secure "Policy Cover Disputes Lawyer of the Year in England". And possibly Gibson Dunn partner Judith Lee triumphed over dozens to win "Blockchain Technology Sector Lawyer of the Year in Washington D.C".

Lawyers lucky enough to 'win' their chosen award are offered the chance to appear in Corp INTL's annual awards publication. For a price, they can purchase a full page, half page or space in the back of the directory. Like all the best joke award schemes, they can also buy a trophy. In a Facebook post titled, "This is the sort of crap I have to deal with", an office manager said the gongs cost £120 (plus postage and packaging). It's not exactly the Oscars.

  Fingers crossed. 

But the questionable process has not deterred magpie lawyers across the profession from showering themselves in ersatz glory. Even Cameron Doley, senior partner of Carter Ruck, took out a half page in the 2017 magazine. He was sufficiently proud of being crowned "Public International Lawyer of the Year In England' that he has placed the winner's logo at the top of his Carter Ruck website profile. Doley is in fine company.  Former Ince & Co partner Andrew Iyer, who was struck off and jailed for stealing million from clients, was also successful. Iyer, who is not averse to milking the undiscriminating awards industry for some positive puff, won "Boutique Commodities Firm of the Year 2017".

RollOnFriday asked Lee, Eccles, Doley and others how much they coughed up for their awards packages, and whether they bought a trophy. All were too shy to reply, except Orrick partner Attilio Mazzilli. The "Tech M&A Lawyer of the Year in Italy" told RollOnFriday, "No payment was requested. I just purchased a tombstone".

Corp INTL did not respond to requests for details of its price list and independent judging panel.
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Comments

Anonymous 11 August 17 09:35

A private client lawyer at a former firm of mine won' Individual - Private Client Lawyer of the Year in England in the Corporate INTL Global Awards 2017' - few would have heard of her yet she is the private client lawyer of the whole entire year! It is an embarrassment and yet so many lawyers unashamedly put their hand in the till to buy themselves awards and release press releases about how amazing an achievement it was. If firms were not willing to pay for awards these charlatans would not exist.

Anonymous 11 August 17 10:57

This is actually much more widespread than this rather obscure award - it's well known that the way to win the big-name legal awards is by sponsoring a table at the dinner, and that unless you buy a table you're unlikely to get anything.....

Anonymous 11 August 17 13:34

The thing is, we all know this is how it works. What little pride must someone have to put on their website that they have been named as the best [insert area of expertise] lawyer in the country and accept cheer and congratulations sent their way. I get these emails every now and then telling me that I have won an award and just need to pay £800 plus VAT for a full page spread. I just hit delete (I scoff first of course).

Roll On Friday 11 August 17 14:11

anon - 8.35 - That will be Mundays then? I saw it in the Surrey Lawyer where they had the brass neck to do a puff piece on it to other lawyers. Smacks a little of desperation and obviously a touching belief that people would actually believe it - but then it is aimed at clients who presumably may not know and could be impressed - which is a little naughty.