Five newly qualified, in-house solicitors have been shortlisted for the 2019 Law Society of Scotland In-house Rising Star Award.

A total of 13 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 five finalists are:

  • Sean Dorian (3-years PQE) – Cloudhelix Ltd
  • Caroline Douglas (1-year PQE) – Lloyds Banking Group
  • John Frame (2-years PQE) – Serco Ltd
  • Jennifer Livingston (2-years PQE) – East Dunbartonshire Council
  • Emma McBride (4-years PQE) – East Dunbartonshire Council

David Boag, from the Law Society's In-house Lawyers Committee and who lead the judging team, 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 acknowledge the talented individuals in their teams.

“The quality of candidates nominated for the award is always very impressive, but this year’s candidates were truly exceptional. All 13 of our nominees have achieved a remarkable success early in their careers and have proven themselves to be a real asset to their organisations and also within their local communities.

“It was extremely difficult for us to come up with our shortlist of five. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate their colleagues, in particular the in-house team at East Dunbartonshire Council who put forward four fantastic nominations. 

"We’d also like to highlight the nomination by Marathon Oil for their trainee Martyn Ross, who sadly passed away in November 2018. Martyn made an enormous contribution during his traineeship with the organisation and clearly had an exceptional career in front of him. We know Martyn is very much missed by his colleagues and we’re very pleased they chose to recognise his achievements through their nomination.

"Everyone on the shortlist has demonstrated exceptional qualities and all of our five finalists would be very worthy winners – as judges we have a very hard task ahead of us in choosing our Rising Star for 2019."

Find out what the nominees' colleagues had to say about them

Sean Dorian

"Sean implemented a culture change within the business with a focus on openness, accountability and a willingness to contribute in a safe environment replacing a previous blame culture. The increased staff awareness in relation to quality of service derived from compliance, risk management and clear communication lines has resulted in significant productivity gains... The added value over and above delivering legal work and advice has been staggering and we now recommend to companies similar to ours in size and revenue that they should strongly consider taking on-board an in-house counsel."

Caroline Douglas

"In her regular role, Caroline has shown confidence and business understanding which is particularly impressive for someone so early in her career. She assesses situations quickly and responds in an unfailingly positive way. Her support to stakeholders is recognised as invaluable with completion of large projects being credited to her input… None of her evidently hard work and commitment comes at the expense of personal warmth, friendliness and fun - and that’s a hard combination to achieve."

John Frame

After foreseen and unforeseen changes in the team, John was immediately trusted and asked to step-up and into the role of Legal Director for Transport in UK & Europe. He has shown a maturity and skill well beyond his qualification level and used his experience in politics and the government legal service to provide insights to stakeholder policy decision-making processes and to inform strategy… We have all come to value John as a trusted colleague, armed with the latest thinking able to communicate in a clear, digestible way, helping maintain our dynamism and agility.

Jennifer Livingston

Jennifer utilises the proximity to the client that the role provides, achieving a better understanding of what each client service needs and requires… Jennifer is able to communicate complex issues effectively to the wide variety of services she advises. Her versatility and approachability to matters has helped foster and cement relationships with client services which is not only beneficial, but also essential for the future development of the Council… Jennifer’s positive attitude and warm personality help to make the legal team a great place to work.

Emma McBride

Over and above her day-to-day workload, Emma has taken the lead on promoting a new means of engagement with client services which allows far greater transparency into legal advice and allows clients to feel empowered and enabled to make key risk decisions as part of a well-informed and supportive group of peers including legal services… Emma is a determined, enthusiastic and hardworking individual. She goes above and beyond the level of service and dedication expected of a solicitor regularly and without request.

The In-House Rising Star Award judges are: David Boag, Solicitor at Glasgow City Council; Thembe McInnes, Legal Manager at Whyte & Mackay Limited and vice-convener of the ILC; and Vlad Valiente, Legal Services Manager at Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, former RSA winner, vice-president of SOLAR and in-coming co-convener of the ILC.

The In-House Rising Star will be announced at the In-House Annual Conference on Thursday, 13 June 2019.

Do you know an in-house rising star?

The Rising Star Award celebrates and rewards the brilliance of trainees and NQs with up to five years' PQE who are shining in their early careers in-house. Nominate a colleague or contact today.

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