1. Jack Straw
Former Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary, replaced Lord Falconer of Thoroton as Lord Chancellor and Justice Minister when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister; 4616 mentions in the UK national press in the past year.
2. Lord Goldsmith, QC
Former Attorney-General who attracted controversy for his advice to Tony Blair on the Iraq war and the decision to drop the Serious Fraud Office probe into BAE Systems’ arms deals with Saudi Arabia; 1839 mentions.
3. Lord Falconer of Thoroton
Outgoing Lord Chancellor; 1695 mentions.
4. Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers
Lord Chief Justice; 600 mentions.
5. Dame Elisabeth Butler-Sloss
The most senior female judge of her generation, formerly President of the High Court’s Family Division, she surprised everyone by standing down in April as coroner in the inquest into the death of the Princess of Wales claiming she did not have enough experience of jury trials; 573 mentions.
6. Cherie Booth, QC
Her husband may have stepped down as Prime Minister but Booth, who practices at Matrix Chambers, continued to make headlines as she acted for a lap-dancing club in its fight against the smoking ban; 347 mentions.
7. Mike O’Brien, QC
Labour MP who was solicitor-general until June, when he moved to the Department for Work and Pensions, replaced by Vera Baird; 307 mentions.
8. Baroness Scotland of Asthal
Moved from the Home Office to replace Lord Goldsmith, QC, as Attorney-General when Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister, becoming both the first black person and the first woman to hold the post; 299 mentions.
9. Lord Hardie
Senior Scottish judge, formerly Lord-Advocate; 249 mentions.
10. Mr Justice Eady
Influential High Court judge who has presided over numerous high-profile libel and privacy cases, including BP chief Lord Browne of Madingley’s attempts to silence his former gay lover; 234 mentions.
11. Sir Hayden Phillips
Former Permanent Secretary of the Lord Chancellor’s Department from 1998 to 2004, he has been leading a review into the funding of political parties; 224 mentions.
12. Anthony Julius
Partner at Mishcon de Reya who represented the Princess of Wales in her divorce and is now acting for Heather Mills in her split from Sir Paul McCartney. Also made headlines when he teamed up with OJ Simpson’s former lawyer Alan Dershowitz to attack UK academics who were threatening to boycott Israel; 195 mentions.
13. Fiona Shackleton
Partner at Payne Hicks Beach who squared up against Anthony Julius in the divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales, now representing Sir Paul McCartney against Heather Mills; 179 mentions.
14. Michael Mansfield, QC
Famously dogged criminal and human rights barrister who was involved in the Stephen Lawrence and Jill Dando cases and is now representing Mohamed Al Fayed in the Diana inquiry; 175 mentions.
15. Nick Freeman
Known as “Mr Loophole” for his uncanny ability to get celebrity clients such as Sir Alex Ferguson off driving offences, the Manchester solicitor ran into legal trouble of his own this year after he was arrested for allegedly conspiring to pervert the course of justice; 173 mentions.
16. Nigel Sweeney, QC
Criminal barrister at 6 King’s Bench Walk who prosecuted the suspects in the July 21 bombing; 151 mentions.
17. David Pannick, QC
Times law columnist and leading public barrister from Blackstone Chambers who this year represented Sheffield United in its battle against relegation from the Premier League. He also acted for the drug company Eisai in a judicial review of guidance issued by NICE for one of its Alzeimer’s drugs – in which he suffered a rare loss; 147 mentions.
18. Helena Kennedy, QC
Criminal and human rights barrister at Doughty Chambers who has been an outspoken critic of the war on terror; 105 mentions.
19. Lord Lester of Herne Hill, QC
Liberal Democrat peer and legendary figure at the human rights bar, he called this year for stronger measures against forced marriages; 90 mentions.
20. Mark Spragg
Partner in the litigation team at Jeffrey Green Russell who is representing the “NatWest Three”, the three British bankers facing trial in Houston for fraud charges relating to the Enron scandal; 85 mentions.
21. Julian Bevan, QC
Barrister at Cloth Fair Chambers who prosecuted a British Army corporal for manslaughter relating to the death of an Iraqi detainee at a base in Basra; 77 mentions.
22. Richard Horwell, QC
Another from Cloth Fair Chambers, Horwell prosecuted the teenagers accused of killing City lawyer Tom ap Rhys Pryce. He also prosecuted two men who were jailed for murdering a music fan after a disagreement over rap lyrics; 75 mentions.
23. Mark Stephens
Irrepressible, always quotable partner at Finers Stephens Innocent who secured victory for The Wall Street Journal in the landmark Jameel libel case before the House of Lords; 73 mentions.
23. Louise Christian
Co-founder of human rights boutique Christian Khan who has been elected chair of the human rights organisation Liberty; 73 mentions.
25. Edward Fitzgerald, QC
Human rights barrister at Doughty Street Chambers who has represented a number of terror suspects against extradition to the US; 70 mentions.
26. Martyn Day
Senior partner at Leigh Day & Co who acted for Iraqi families suing the Ministry of Defence in the landmark Al Skeini case in which the House of Lords held that British soldiers serving abroad must comply with the Human Rights Act; 69 mentions.
27. Sir John Nutting, QC
Veteran barrister at Three Raymond Buildings who made his name in cases such as the Brighton bombing and Guildford Four, he led the prosecution this year of the £53 million Securitas robbery; 68 mentions.
28. Phil Shiner
Head of Birmingham human rights boutique Public Interest Lawyers who represented an Iraqi family in the Al Skeini case; 67 mentions.
29. Imran Khan
Solicitor to the family of Stephen Lawrence, known for his outspoken criticism of racism in the police and legal profession; 55 mentions.
30. Raymond Tooth
Divorce lawyer to the stars who reportedly acted for Irina Abramovich in her split from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, which could have been the most expensive divorce settlement ever; 46 mentions.