The judging panel (before and after ROF stuck its beak in)
The Senior Partner of CMS has won an award at an event where she was also presented as a judge.
CMS said that Penelope Warne was incorrectly listed as a judge of the Women in Law Awards 2020, where she was crowned 'Law Firm Leader of the Year'.
Warne trained at Slaughter and May before blazing a trail at CMS as Scotland's first female oil and gas lawyer, and she punched through the glass ceiling when she was appointed its Senior Partner in 2013. So accolades were surely deserved. However, a source intrigued by CMS's social media posts celebrating her victory last week spotted that she was one of its 23 judges.
"I don't wish to be a cynic", they said, "but...conflict of interest?"
Warne was furnished with a full judge's profile on the Women In Law website comprising a headshot and biography. But the listing was a mistake, said the firm. "Penelope was not a judge for these awards, so if she was on their website it will have been an error", a CMS spokesperson told RollOnFriday.
Incisive Media, the company which runs the WIL awards, does flog the obligatory "winner's package" granting a licence to use a victory logo and a 600 word interview puff piece, all for just £1995.00 (plus VAT). But it is a more legitimate outfit than some awards conveyer belts. The company used to own Legal Week, and unlike other prize factories it actually identifies its judges, many of whom are illustrious figures in UK law. It also held a real ceremony where winners collected their prizes (by video), and it raised money for Women's Aid.
Incisive Media did not respond to a request for comment, but Warne's profile was subsequently removed from the judges' page.
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