Two Scottish solicitors have been shortlisted for the Law Society of Scotland In-house Rising Star Award 2021.
Anna Ziarkowska, a conveyancing and planning solicitor at Aberdeenshire Council, and Angus Niven, in-house general counsel for media and production company, Boxmedia, have been shortlisted from five nominations in recognition of their work as in-house lawyers.
Catherine Corr, who is a member of the Law Society's In-house Lawyers Committee and led the judging panel, said: "The In-house Rising Star Award is a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase the up-and-coming talent we have within the in-house legal sector and, importantly, is a chance for organisations to recognise and celebrate the talented individuals in their teams.
“I’d like to congratulate all of our 2021 nominees and thank everyone who took time to tell us about their colleagues’ hard work and impressive skillset. It’s always rewarding to read through the nominations about the talented individuals we have working in-house. All of the nominees have shown themselves to be a real asset to their organisations and within their local communities. They are great ambassadors for the legal profession and the in-house sector in particular, and I’m sure they will enjoy further success as they progress in their careers.”
Law Society President, Ken Dalling, will announce the 2021 In-House Rising Star Award winner on 16 June at the In-house Annual Conference.
The 2021 Rising Star Award nominees
- Jennifer Lothian, Legal Counsel, Business Services Legal, Standard Life Aberdeen
- Kristina Mutch, Solicitor, Operations team, The Data Lab - Innovation Centre
- Angus Niven, General Counsel and Company Secretary of Box Media Holdings Ltd. (shortlisted)
- Marion Sweetland, Trainee Solicitor, Group Legal and Company Secretariat Aegon
- Anna Ziarkowska, Solicitor (Conveyancing/Planning), Aberdeenshire Council (shortlisted)
The In-house Rising Star Award nominees are Scottish-qualified in-house trainees or in-house solicitors with up to five years post-qualification experience. Read more about this year's nominees.
Angus Niven, General Counsel and Company Secretary of Box Media Holdings Ltd.
Angus is a highly valued member of the team who is intrinsically involved in many processes which are imperative for the effective running of BoxMedia. He always makes the effort to go further and dig deeper, to learn about existing systems, then offers thoughtful and innovative alternatives where required. As a small company, he jumps in and goes above and beyond his role and is excellent on the client side, building warm along with contractual and professional relationships. As a growing company, there are many new challenges on a weekly basis and Angus takes these in his stride with solutions and intelligent insights. He enjoys the dynamic of a growth environment and has an entrepreneurial spirit allowing him to turn problems into opportunities and keep an eye on the strategy. His attention to detail is critical in this role, compiling and checking all our contracts, licences and agreements. As a company working with the US and other international jurisdictions, he has been avid in keeping up with parameters and the legal frameworks to ensure we are operating legally and efficiently.
He is participating in Business London, Mayors Program and aside from learning from the excellent cohort activities, has networked and generated follow up meetings with Microsoft and Vamstar.
Anna Ziarkowska, Solicitor (Conveyancing/Planning) Aberdeenshire Council
Anna has a reputation for being aware, willing, and able. Her ideas have significantly contributed to innovative and effective delivery of legal services within the Council. She facilities cross-service dialogue and contributes to the improvement of the quality of service by ensuring that legal advice is tailored to the clients’ needs. Her innovative proposals have streamlined the legal processes and as noted above removed unnecessary formalities and obstacles in the provision of legal services. She tries to make the legal services cost-effective, less complex and not confusing.
Anna , is not just an academic but recognising the vast reposit of knowledge in senior colleagues, has led on working with colleagues to update style for Conveyancing and commercial transactions. She has also produced practical procedures and guidance notes for most of the commercial property transactions for the Council thereby gaining knowledge herself but also securing and sharing it with the rest of the service. This is increasingly important with colleagues being widely dispersed and working remotely to ensure everyone still had ready access to such support and which resulted in the teams being more efficient and maintained a constancy of workflow despite the pressures of the pandemic .
Anna is highly motivated and active individual and particularly in supporting the migrant community as a key part of the wider Aberdeenshire community. Anna, volunteers at a number of organisations i.e., EU Citizens Rights Project, Polish Association Aberdeen, CAB, Easter European communities, SYLA, ELSA, Polish Consulate etc and via this work has become a certified Immigration Advisor.
Jennifer Lothian, Legal Counsel, Business Services Legal, Standard Life Aberdeen
Jennifer is a real credit to the team at Standard Life Aberdeen. She works incredibly hard and approaches legal work with a real sense of curiosity and enthusiasm. She has recently assumed responsibility for providing legal advice and support across a number of new practice areas, not least in relation to the firm’s proposed re-branding from SLA to Abrdn. She is also a genuine team-player who constantly offers proactive support to her colleagues (individually and on a collective basis).
Outside her usual role, Jennifer eagerly participates in company and industry initiatives and, in doing so, she acts as a great ambassador for the team and for young lawyers more generally.
Kristina Mutch, Solicitor, Operations team, The Data Lab - Innovation Centre
Kristina has shown great initiative and adaptability that has particularly shown in her ability to provide an excellent legal service to our fast growing organisation. Not only she has been able to make substantial changes operationally to provide a seamless service but, in addition, she has built strong relationships with external clients and colleagues. Everyone respects and loves working with Kristina. Her positive and professional interactions has meant that Kristina is liked and respected by everyone in the organisation. Her behaviour and professionalism has not remained unnoticed and thus she has been nominated several times as ‘employee of the month’ by her colleagues.
Kristina not only gets on with her day to day job but she is also willing to contribute to other committees in the organisation where she feels she can positively contribute
Marion Sweetland, Trainee Solicitor, Group Legal and Company Secretariat Aegon
Marion is the first trainee solicitor Aegon UK has ever taken on. It is as a result of her approach to the role and her management of her learning outcomes that the trainee programme has been set up for success. Marion has gone beyond the role of a trainee and contributes hugely to the department as a whole, in both the quality of her work, her IT skills and contribution to the culture team through her work as part of the culture team. Marion is a mentor on the Aberdeen University Career mentor Programme which supports law students into the profession.
Marion is part of the Culture group in the Legal department. Our role as Culture Champions involves working with the Legal leadership team to influence and drive the priorities and actions derived from the annual employee survey results with the aim to improve employee engagement and help to make the Legal department a better place to work. Marion has been a great addition to the Culture team which has benefited greatly from her enthusiasm, positivity, and drive.