Manchester Legal Awards

08 March 2011

Manchester Law Society announces its first Legal Executive of the Year

Stuart Cartwright has been named as the first recipient of the Legal Executive of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards.

The Manchester Legal Awards, held on 3 March 2011, celebrated the cream of Manchester’s legal profession and were organised by the Manchester Law Society and its Media Partner, The Manchester Evening News. This is the first year that there has been an award for the Legal Executive of the Year category.

Stuart, who is a partner at law firm JMW Solicitors and was one of first Legal Executives in England and Wales to be trained as a defence Legal Executive Advocate, said his recognition proves that Legal Executives are respected members of the legal sector. “The fact that there is now a specific award for Legal Executives reflects the change in attitude towards lawyers who have qualified using the ILEX route. I’m pleased I can play a role in promoting ILEX and highlighting how Legal Executives can now progress within their firms”

Fran Eccles-Bech, Executive Director of Manchester Law Society agrees: “The Manchester Legal Awards is all about celebrating the quality, excellence and talent of the legal profession in and around Manchester. As the status and standing of Legal Executives continues to grow and they are such an integral and important part of the legal profession, we felt it only right that we have a Legal Executive of the Year Award this year.

“The quality of entries into this category was extremely high and I know that the judges had a hard time deciding on the winner, but we were delighted to congratulate Stuart Cartwright from JMW, the first time winner of this award.

“As we at Manchester Law Society work more closely than ever with ILEX in the North West we look forward to supporting and promoting legal executives in all areas throughout the coming year.”

Stuart started life with aspirations of becoming a professional footballer, but an injury during a trial with Manchester United meant he had to look at other career options. In 1994 he joined JMW Solicitors as a junior fee earner and was actively encouraged to take an ILEX course which gave him the qualifications needed to further his career in law.

“Whilst a full time law degree did not appeal to me, combining work and study did.” says Stuart. “As time went by I assumed more responsibility in criminal work while continuing with my ILEX studies. I became an ILEX Fellow in 2002 and a defence Legal Executive Advocate in 2008.

“It’s always nice to be recognised and I hope it encourages other ILEX members to have the confidence to realise that are respected by their colleagues and enter similar awards.”

Chief Executive at ILEX, Diane Burleigh added: “I am very pleased to hear about Stuart’s well deserved success, which goes a long way to prove that qualified Legal Executive Lawyers are just as important and respected as their peers.”

So what next for Stuart? On Wednesday (9 March 2011) he will be one of ILEX’s first 100 partners at a reception at the House of Commons, also there will be ILEX’s first judge. Diane continues: “This event marks an important milestone for ILEX in that it proves, through the Legal Services Act 2007, that the Government and the JAC know how important Legal Executives are in creating the diversity the Legal Sector needs, while maintaining high quality services to those that need it.”