THE second Dorset Legal Awards have opened to the 1,000 people employed in the sector locally.

The awards were launched by Bournemouth legal recruitment firm ASH Elite and IT consultancy QuoStar.

Nominations are open following a launch at Poole’s Harbour Heights Hotel. Entries must be in by October 26, with the finalists announced on December 3.

The 15 categories will cover firms and teams of all practice areas and sizes.

Categories for individuals will include Rising Star of the Year and Partner of the Year.

This year also sees the introduction of three new categories to recognise the variety of legal firms in the area – Law Firm of the Year (1-49 Employees), Law Firm of the Year (50-99 Employees )and Law Firm of the Year (100+ Employees).

Sofie Scott, managing director of AsH Elite, said: “We are excited to launch the second year of the awards and continue celebrating the outstanding legal community we have here in Dorset. The 2018 awards saw over 200 nominations from 25 law firms, and we believe the numbers will be even greater in 2019.”

Robert Rutherford, chief executive of QuoStar, said “With so much talent in this sector, it’s important that we give credit to the legal professionals in the south west region and highlight their achievements.

“These firms have delivered some outstanding work over the past year. Winning a Dorset Legal Award will give legal firms the recognition they deserve and further boost their reputation in the UK. With last year being such a success, the 2019 awards are set to be even bigger and better – we look forward to hearing from all nominees.”

Winners will be announced at a black tie dinner on March 1 2019 at the BIC, playing host to more than 300 legal professionals.

Sponsors already lined up are: Saffery Champness – Law Firm of the Year (100+ employees); Charles Stanley – awards ceremony drinks reception; College Chambers – awards ceremony entertainment Insight6 – Team of the Year: Dispute Resolution; The Iceberg Partnership LLP – Team of the year: Family and Team of the year: Private Client; Bournemouth University – Engagement with Education Award; and Smith and Williamson – Law Firm of the Year (50-99 employees).

The Bournemouth Daily Echo return as overall event supporter.

Tickets are available at