Five newly qualified, in-house solicitors have been shortlisted for the Law Society of Scotland In-house Rising Star Award 2020.

A total of 14 nominations were put forward for consideration, the highest number since the award was introduced in 2013 to celebrate emerging talent in the in-house legal community.

The winner will be announced by Law Society President, Amanda Millar at the Law Society’s In-house Virtual Legal Festival on 6 October.

The five finalists are:

  • Lucia Bobkova, Solicitor, Legal Services Department, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (3 years PQE)
  • Debbie Griffiths, Trainee Solicitor – Commercial, Cognizant Worldwide Limited (trainee)
  • Dylan Lynch, Legal Counsel, Raytheon UK (2 years PQE)
  • Marliese Perks, Legal Counsel, Outsourcing, Technology & IP Team, The Royal Bank of Scotland (2 years PQE)
  • Lauren Towie, Solicitor, Corporate & Property Law, Legal Services, Glasgow City Council (3 years PQE)

Catherine Corr, a principal solicitor in the Legal Services team at Scottish Enterprise and member of the Society's In-house Lawyers’ Committee, is part of this year’s judging panel. She said: "The In-house Rising Star Award gives us an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the emerging talent we have within the in-house legal sector every year – and our five finalists truly are outstanding nominees.

“The quality of candidates nominated for the award is always very impressive, however this year’s candidates have faced exceptional challenges. All the judges have been particularly impressed by the adaptability and resilience shown by all 14 nominees in dealing with issues resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s always extremely difficult to draw up a shortlist and this year was even harder than ever. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate their colleagues for the award – every one of them is to be congratulated on their achievements so early in their careers.”

2020 Rising Star Award finalists

Read some of the comments from the nominations for our five finalists for this year's In-house Rising Star Award in the drop down below.

Lucia worked incredibly hard to understand the organisation and create rapport with client departments and senior management. Acquiring excellent knowledge of relevant legislation allowed her to drive change and improve processes, especially for our Fire Safety Enforcement (FSE) client department. Lucia has played a significant role in driving the legal team’s objectives of developing the infrastructure and improving legal and organisation’s processes, bringing more legal work in-house and becoming a true business partner for our client departments. She has invested considerable time, skill and energy into devising training and guidance to support our FSE function, which has been implemented. Lucia has been an outstanding asset with a keen focus on ensuring SFRS has dedicated support for enforcement of issues relating to the Act. She has proactively sought to streamline existing processes to support enforcement officers across Scotland. This has significantly improved the effective delivery of fire safety enforcement and ensured that SFRS maintain exceptionally high standards as a regulator.

The recent pandemic has created an unprecedented time of change for all organisations.  During this challenging time, Debbie was absolutely outstanding throughout. Debbie automatically looks for ways of improving legal processes without even being asked to do. Debbie is more than just a very good trainee/junior lawyer. She hits the ground running and has an incredible ability to absorb information and produce high-quality deliverables at short notice. She is solution-driven and was particularly impressive in her innovative proposals around complex liability caps. She works extremely well under pressure and combines this with a good sense of humour and self-effacement. This could not have been demonstrated better than when COVID-19 appeared, and our company’s legal needs, and our personal and working lives, all changed dramatically overnight. Her communication style, tone and content are of a high standard and always tailored carefully to her audience. Her business colleagues highly rate her and often request her for a particular matter.

Dylan very quickly fostered confidence in his ability to provide sound advice and operate as trusted business counsel whilst seeking support when he needs it.  As such his work portfolio has grown in the two years he has worked with Raytheon from supporting matters to leading on them. Dylan has a great work ethic and, even working long hours, maintains a great sense of humour and genuinely sees the work as an opportunity to develop his skills and broaden his experience.  Dylan actively looks for new projects in addition to responding to queries from colleagues and is always proposing new ways of working to create better value add for the business. During the challenging time of COVID19, he provided incredible support by actively seeking to take on more work which meant that we, as a legal team, were able to continue to provide our business as usual service whilst also advising on the additional COVID implications. Dylan is very driven and looks for opportunities in which he can improve his knowledge and skillset. 

From the outset, it was evident that Marliese was exceptional and throughout her time at the bank, she has continually operated at a level far beyond her PQE.    In a relatively short period of time, she has made a strong impact within a large and high performing legal team.  Her potential has already allowed her to be positioned on the management fast-track: she has become an accredited coach within the team and has taken on line management responsibility for the team’s trainee which, as the youngest member of the team by a distance, is testament to her attitude, aptitude and the trust that we have in her. She delivers all this with a down-to-earth, honest and humble persona. The growth in her role is testament to the confidence the Bank has in Marliese, and the career path she is on.  She is, and always has been, a pleasure to deal with and have in the team. 

Lauren provides legal advice on information law matters to all Council departments, Arms’ Length External Organisations (ALEOs), the Assessor for Glasgow and the Electoral Registration Officer. Her input is consistently of the highest quality and is comfortable assuming responsibility well beyond what someone at her stage in her career would normally be expected to deal with. Lauren has developed her skills in the areas of FOI and data protection very quickly and proactively suggests improvements Lauren is a good communicator and can relay complex legal concepts well to a non-qualified audience.  She manages her very demanding workload in a highly efficient manner, a critical skill given the statutory deadlines applicable to the majority of her work.