Derby, UK – The Derby & District Law Society Awards 2023 were held at the Pride Park Stadium on 31st March 2023, celebrating the achievements and contributions of the region’s legal professionals. The event was a reflection of the exciting time for Derbyshire’s legal sector, with technology changing the industry and the city developing into a regional legal hub.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Andrew Alexander, founder of Alexander & Co Solicitors LLP, who retired in 2019. Andrew was recognised for his significant contributions to the legal profession, including his dedication to his clients and his tireless efforts to mentor and develop younger legal professionals.

“I’m truly honored to receive this award,” said Andrew. “I’ve been privileged to have a long and rewarding career in the legal profession, and it means a lot to be recognised by my peers in this way.”

Rudi Kesic, CEO at Verify 365 Digital Onboarding Technology, congratulated Andrew and all the winners at the event. “It’s inspiring to see the contributions that legal professionals like Andrew have made to our profession,” said Rudi. “The legal profession is undergoing significant change, and it’s important to recognise those who have helped shape it into what it is today.”

Manesha Ruparel, President of Derby & District Law Society and Partner at Alexander & Co Solicitors LLP emphasised the importance of the awards in recognising the contributions of the city’s legal professionals. “The Derby & District Law Society Awards is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our legal community,” said Manesha. “It’s important to recognise those who have made significant contributions to our industry, and we’re thrilled to celebrate their achievements.”

Katie Basey and Tim Dysterre-Clark, partners at Alexander & Co Solicitors LLP, also expressed their congratulations to their former colleague. “Andrew has been an inspiration to all of us at Alexander & Co Solicitors LLP, and we’re thrilled to see him receive this well-deserved recognition,” said Katie. “He’s been an invaluable mentor to us, and his impact on the legal profession will continue to be felt for many years to come,” added Tim.

The legal profession is undergoing significant change, with technology playing an increasingly important role in the industry. Verify 365’s digital onboarding technology is an example of how advanced software is helping law firms combat fraud and comply with AML regulations. The company is working with local law societies across the UK to assist in this effort.

Rudi highlighted the importance of technology in the legal profession, stating, “As technology continues to evolve rapidly, it’s crucial that the legal industry adapts to stay ahead. Verify 365 is proud to be working with local law societies across the UK, including the Derby & District Law Society, to assist law firms in fighting money laundering and identity fraud, and comply with AML regulations, all while streamlining their client onboarding processes and reducing operational costs. I look forward to seeing how the industry will continue to develop and innovate in the years to come.”

The challenges facing the legal industry are many, including adapting to changing client demands, staying up-to-date with the latest regulations and compliance requirements, and competing with the growing number of alternative legal service providers. Despite these challenges, Derby is developing into a regional legal hub, with a growing number of law firms and legal professionals calling the city home.

The shortlist for the 2023 awards included nominees for three different categories, namely Solicitor of the Year, Junior Lawyer of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards were sponsored by Alexander & Co Solicitors LLP, No. 36 Chambers, and Our Family Wizard, respectively.

The nominees for each category were as follows:

Solicitor of the Year:

1. Melanie Bridgen – from Nelsons
2. Adele Woods – from The Smith Partnership
3. Debra Morris – from Affinity Law Limited

Junior Lawyer of the Year:

1. Alex Needham – from Geldards LLP
2. Jessica Silvers – from Family Law Group
3. Alexandra Wood – from Geldards LLP

Lifetime Achievement Award:

1. Diana Copestake – from Freeths
2. Andrew Alexander formerly of Alexander & Co
3. Ruth Jones – from The Smith Partnership

“Derby is a city that is growing and thriving, and the legal profession is a critical part of that growth,” added Rudi. “The awards demonstrate the exceptional talent and expertise that we have in the region and highlight the importance of continuing to invest in the legal sector.”