The finalists for the Law Society of Scotland’s 2017 In-house Rising Star Award have been announced.

The judging panel shortlisted three nominees from a strong field of entries, all of whom have been described as “excellent”. The finalists are:

  • Fiona Closs, a solicitor with Aberdeen City Council’s Planning and Environment Team, who was described by her nominator as demonstrating exceptional ability along with a positive and flexible approach to her work.
  • Leanne Hammell, the sole in-house solicitor with IT consultancy ECS, who has been credited with transforming the way the company interacts contractually with its clients.
  • Caroline Swinton, a solicitor with the specialist investment management business Kames Capital, who was praised for carving a niche in brand protection and becoming the “go to” person for trademarks and domain names.

Graeme McWilliams, Convener of the In-house Lawyers Committee (ILC), said: “Yet again our In-house Rising Star Award has attracted a strong field of candidates, which reflects the considerable up-and-coming talent in the sector.

“Each of our excellent finalists has been credited with significant achievements early in their careers – and made positive contributions outside work – and would be worthy winners of the award.

“The In-house Rising Star Award is very much in line with the Law Society’s broader efforts to provide the proportional support and recognition that the in-house community deserves.”

The award will be presented at a drinks reception following the in-house conference at the Law Society’s Edinburgh offices on 11 May 2017. In addition to the award, the winner will receive career coaching sessions with a qualified professional.

The judging panel comprised Eilidh Wiseman, President of the Law Society of Scotland; Ayla Skene, from Pinsent Masons and the Law Society’s new lawyer Council member; Thembe McInnes, Head of Legal at Whyte and Mackay; and previous winner Vlad Valiente, Principal Solicitor at Midlothian Council. Thembe McInnes and Vlad Valiente are both members of the Society's In-house Lawyers Committee.

The award was launched in 2013 to celebrate the talent of the in-house legal community, which represents almost 30% of Scotland’s legal profession.

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