Legal sector stalwart honoured at awards

Chris Owen, the former chief executive of St Philips Chambers in Birmingham, has been honoured for his service to the legal profession at this year’s Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards.

Chris, who has dedicated his entire career, spanning almost 50 years, to the law was presented with the Society’s prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in front of a sell-out crowd at the ICC last night (9th March).

The son of a policeman, Chris started his career in 1968 as an articled clerk at a solicitors firm in Leicester, later going on to hold a number of senior positions at barristers’ chambers in London and Birmingham, including 7 Bedford Row, which later became Radcliffe Chambers, and St Philips Chambers.

He was a member of the Bar’s Equality and Diversity Committee and the Bar’s Pro Bono Unit. Chris also served on the Birmingham Law Society council and was chairman of the board for four years.

John Hughes, president of the Birmingham Law Society, said:

“There is no one more deserving of this accolade than Chris.

“Widely regarded in the profession as a ‘legend’ and the best connected person in the law, throughout his career he has worked tirelessly to promote Birmingham as a centre for legal excellence and it is only fitting that his efforts are recognised in this way.”

The annual Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards have been held since 2002 and recognise and reward the achievements of those working in the legal profession across the West Midlands.

Other winners on the night included:
– Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, Law Firm of the Year – 16 plus partners;
– The Community Law Partnership, Law Firm of the Year – 5 to 15 partners;
– Fountain Solicitors, Law Firm of the Year – up to four partners;
– DLA Piper UK LLP, Corporate Team of the Year;
– Coventry City Council, In-House Team of the Year;
– Lorna Gavin, Gowling WLG, Corporate Social Responsibility/Pro bono Lawyer of the Year;
– Kiri Tamber, Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, Paralegal of the Year;
– Rebecca Warren, Pinsent Masons LLP, Partner of the Year;
– Edward Pepperall QC, St Philips Chambers, Barrister of the Year;
– Norman Rea, Dignity Funeral Services Ltd, Chartered Legal Executive of the Year;
– Sheree Green, Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, Assistant/Associate Solicitor of the Year;
– Matthew McDonald, Trowers & Hamlins LLP, Trainee Solicitor of the Year.

John Hughes said:

“Birmingham has one of the best legal centres in the world and all of this year’s winners and finalists demonstrate the strength and depth of legal talent we have, not just in Birmingham, but across the whole of the region.”

More than 560 people attended this year’s Legal Awards, which was hosted by former BBC broadcaster and journalist John Sergeant.

Sponsors included Acasta Europe Limited, Arthur J Gallagher, Birmingham City University, BPP University, Landmark Information Group, The Law Society, Midshire Business Systems, No5 Barristers’ Chambers, Redbourne Wealth Management, St Philips Chambers, TitleSolv, The University of Law, University of Wolverhampton, and Voice Mobile

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