Challenger law firm Keystone Law was crowned Law Firm of the Year at The Lawyer Awards 2020 in a virtual ceremony on 3 November 2020.

The awards showcase stand-out teams and transactions across the legal profession and are widely recognised as the industry-leading awards.

It is the first time in its 26-year history that the top prize has been handed to a non-traditional law firm, having previously been won by some of the UK’s biggest firms including Clifford Chance, Pinsent Masons and Mishcon de Reya.

Keystone, which launched in Belfast in 2017, was highlighted as this year’s big winner for being a pioneer in the legal sector. Keystone has been on an upward growth trajectory since its inception, attracting heavyweight lawyers from traditional law firms, all the while providing complete autonomy and freedom. The judges commented that during the coronavirus pandemic “Keystone’s model has been vindicated in spades” and thanks to its innovative use of technology and modern working practices is “lightyears ahead” in enabling lawyers to work remotely and provide high-quality service to clients.

The accolade follows a rigorous judging process, which included analysing The Lawyer’s proprietary data and market insight alongside input from a judging panel of industry experts.

John McMahon, Managing Director of Keystone Law NI, said:

“It is an outstanding achievement to win this award, following in the footsteps of respected and long-established names and I am absolutely thrilled that Keystone has been recognised as a pioneer in the legal sector. When we launched in 2017, we aimed to bring something different to the legal market in Northern Ireland and provide the best service possible to our clients, in an efficient and flexible way. It’s great that our model and the capabilities of our highly skilled team have been endorsed in this way.”

This is the second big triumph for the Keystone NI team in the last month, with Keystone also named as a leading law firm in The Legal 500 2021 directory, maintaining its market-leading position as a key advisor for Corporate & M&A and Commercial Real Estate through its advice on complex and significant matters in these areas.

The Lawyer magazine is the UK’s largest legal publication for commercial lawyers, barristers and in-house counsel.