Awards Ceremony 2016

Last night saw the very best in the global legal market come together at the University Club in New York to celebrate each other’s triumphs at the third annual Who’s Who Legal awards ceremony.

Highlights of the evening included the unveiling of Rodgin Cohen of Sullivan & Cromwell as our Lifetime Achievement Award for his banking law practice: as well as Morrison & Foerster as this year’s Pro Bono Firm of the Year.


The night began with a drinks reception where guests had the opportunity to mix with fellow practitioners and clients. Following this, guests were invited into the College Hall for the main event – the unveiling of this year’s award winners.

Hosting the evening was Tom Barnes, publisher of Who’s Who Legal, who welcomed guests and handed over to Callum Campbell, one of LBR’s founders to share an insight into how all profits from the event contribute to the support of the Swawou School in Kenema, Sierra Leone which provides a free quality education to disadvantaged girls.

Following this, WWL editor April French shed light on the research method. For each practice area, WWL’s researchers spend months collecting hundreds of thousands of recommendations from private practitioners and in-house counsel, and without the integrity of those canvassed and their willingness to acknowledge the professional abilities of their competitors, it would not be possible to produce our guides. Speaking to the current pressures law firms face, she explained: “corporate counsel are smarter consumers of legal services, and to stand out, lawyers need to distinguish themselves by the depth of experience and value they can bring to a matter. How law firms respond to market developments and reinvent themselves for the future will be key to how they are viewed by those retaining them, and subsequently their positioning in future editions of Who’s Who Legal.”

With that being said the presentation of the 2016 Who ’s Who Legal Awards commenced.

The first awards to be unveiled were for the leading firms in each practice area: those garnering the highest number of nominations in our research. White & Case took home the arbitration award, while DLA Piper stood out achieving three awards: entertainment, franchise and real estate. The leading product liability defence firm was once again presented to Shook Hardy & Bacon, our 12-time winners; and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett received the award for Private Funds – Formation Firm of the Year for the sixth time. We also honoured Compass Lexecon with the award for the leading competition economics practice and FTI Consulting for its stellar arbitration expert witness services.

Following this, Morrison & Foerster’s senior pro bono counsel Jennifer Brown took to the stage to accept the 2016 Pro Bono Award. The award, following WWL’s third annual pro bono survey, was presented to MoFo in recognition of its longstanding pro bono tradition at the firm and the inspiring level of senior buy-in. Brown shared a video featuring pro bono clients and MoFo lawyers highlighting the impact the firm has made and in particular, how the work extends beyond benefitting the clients themselves and sparks national conversations.

The second section of the night commenced with the presentation of the Lawyer of the Year Awards. David Katz of Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz once again received the awards for both corporate governance and M&A, and Ed Davis Jr of Astigarraga Davis was presented with the Asset Recovery Lawyer of the Year award for the fourth year running. David Asmus of Morgan Lewis & Bockius was a seven-time recipient of the energy award. Several lawyers took home an award for the first time on the night including Labour and Employment Lawyer of the Year Michael Burd of Lewis Silkin and corporate tax lawyer Jeroen Janssen of Loyens & Loeff (our six-time Corporate Tax Firm of the Year).

Our 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Rodgin Cohen of Sullivan & Cromwell.

Commenting on the award, April French said “Rodgin Cohen has been at the vanguard of developments affecting Wall Street and exemplifies the dedication and commitment of lawyers to not just their clients but also to shaping laws and regulations. We are honoured to receive him this evening to present this award”. Cohen took to the stage to thank Who’s Who Legal and shine a light on developing issues surrounding legal privilege and the sacred relationship between lawyer and client.

The evening closed with the announcement of the country awards recognising the firms achieving the highest number of nominations in a particular jurisdiction across our research. Eleven-time recipient of the Chile Law Firm of the Year award Carey was represented on the night as was Brigard & Urrutia who took home the Colombia award. Rodrigo Elias & Medrano was another 11 time winner after receiving the Peru award. Once again, Uría Menéndez was recognised as our leading firm in Spain, while PLMJ and Basham Ringe y Correa took home the awards for Portugal and Mexico respectively.

Who’s Who Legal would like to thank all those who attended the event. 

This event contributes toward Law Business Research's sole support of The Swawou Layout School In Kenema, Sierra Leone. This Primary School which was founded by LBR provides an education and meals to more than 40 primary aged school girls who would not otherwise receive an education. A new building for the school funded entirely by the generosity of attendees at our award dinners is currently under construction.

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87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK