A BURY barrister has triumphed to win a top legal award and be shortlisted for a second.

Melanie Gavin and her team at Ward Hadaway beat off international competition to claim the Client Management category at the Legal Week Innovation Awards in London.

Mrs Gavin, aged 43, was crowned for developing a knowledge system, which brings together legal advice and information on topics from HR to mental health law, together with the NHS.

The system also allows more time to be spent on patient care by time saving and reducing duplication.

The mother of three said: "We are extremely proud that Ward Hadaway has been recognised for its role in client management innovation and helping implement this online tool which will ultimately help our clients identify new ways of working and increase efficiency and effectiveness."

One of seven children from a working-class background in Ainsworth, Mrs Gavin was the first of her family to go to university — attending Anglia University and the Inns of Court School of Law.

After qualifying as a barrister she gained 19 years experience as an advisor to private sector businesses.

She has since spent time with the Justice and Home Affairs Unit at the European Commission in Brussels, as well as working off-shore and as an in-house counsel for a large Public Limited Company.

Her success and determination has now led her to become the only female barrister at Ward Hadaway — one the UK's top 100 law firms — where she offers legal consultancy services to large NHS organisations and private companies.

Since her qualification she has also devoted herself to supporting children from similar working-class backgrounds to achieve their goals, collaborated with a business think-tank, and worked closely with companies to raise awareness around mental health issues.

Continuing her stellar success Mrs Gavin has now also been shortlisted for the regional Woman of the Year category at the Barclays Women in Business Awards.

Ward Hadaway Manchester executive partner, Paul Johnson, said: "Once again Melanie has proved how she is making a real difference at Ward Hadaway by being a finalist in this year's Barclays North West Women in Business Awards. 

"It is wonderful for the firm when individual team members are recognised in this way."

Ms Gavin added: "I am proud to be recognised in these awards, it's very humbling in fact."