ILANZ, In-House Lawyers Association of New Zealand


The 2019 ILANZ awards are just around the corner – is there a secret recipe to a winning submission?

The 2019 ILANZ awards are just around the corner – is there a secret recipe to a winning submission?

By Sian Wingate, ILANZ President| 6 February 2019

Kia ora katoa

By now you have all hopefully seen our communications about the ILANZ Law Awards 2019. Are you going to nominate yourself, a colleague or your team? Go on!

This year I am MC’ing the awards in Dunedin and I am also a judge on the panel. I’m very excited to see what you, our members, have worked on or developed this past year.

Here at ILANZ, we receive submissions of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re trying to get started on a submission, or trying to finalise one – here are our top 10 handy hints and tips:

Tip 1

Tell us your story.

We love facts and figures but this isn’t a CV. We want to hear about why you did what you did or who benefitted. A list of deals or transactions doesn’t tell us the complete back-story.

Tip 2

Use your voice.

Give us an “I” or give us a “we”! We prefer to read a submission written by you, not your marketing or comms team who write about you in the third person. We like to get a sense of who you or your team are.

Tip 3

Use visuals!

We understand the need for confidentiality but if we can view an example of the great presentation you mention or see a screenshot of a new tool you are proud of it helps to understand the submission.

Handy hint: you can use a snipping tool to grab a screen shot or even snap a photo with the camera on your smart phone. Just copy and paste into a word document and save as a PDF and you have a ready-made attachment.

Tip 4

Video is king.

Even if you just record a short introduction of yourself or your team using your smart phone and upload it, we’ll love you for it. We appreciate that not everyone’s budget extends to a polished video clip.

Hearing a team leader explain why their team is fantastic or an individual nominee walk us through the project they are proud of is a great way to understand the story of the nomination.

Tip 5

Give us the whole picture.

If you want to tell us about a project and you’re not sure how to describe it, you can follow some simple guidelines that are transferable from prepping a skills-based CV:

  • Project title
  • Length of the project
  • Who the project was delivered for (your team, another part of the business, the community etc.)
  • A short description of the project and its overall objective
  • The actions you or your team took to help meet the objective
  • The outcome. Include who benefitted, give us facts and figures if you know them.

Tip 6

Choose the right referees.

Remember that an awards submission is not a job application.

Feel free to ask someone from the business unit or the community who you collaborated with on that great project you want to showcase.

Consider asking the referee to be specific about the collaboration or experience with you or your team. This helps to ‘join the dots’ to the written part of the submission.

It is ok to give them a template to fill in…

Tip 7

Be proud.

Basically, we are all gunning for you to win. We judges have the hard task of selecting winners from a great pool of talent out there amongst our members.

Don’t shy away from explaining why you are proud of what you or your team have done!

Tip 8

Be concise.

Remember all your plain English, jargon-free writing skills that you apply to your black-letter advice in your day job.

The same applies to us. We really have no idea what you are talking about if you use an acronym that has a special meaning within your workplace.

Tip 9

Be different.

The submission is a blank canvas. As long as it addresses the award criteria, you have total freedom on how to present, submit or showcase achievements.

We read a lot of award submissions – make yours stand out from the rest.

Tip 10

Check your spelling.

An easy one but you would be surprised how many submitters have rushed to the finish line and it shows…we KNOW you can spell, you’re all lawyers!!


The above are a collection of hints and tips from the ILANZ experience and those from across the ditch in Australia.

You can check out some additional tips from Claire Bibby, a judge on the panel for the Lawyers Weekly awards Australian Law Awards here

(Thanks to Claire Bibby for her kind permission to borrow from her 2018 article.)

Kia ora! See you in Dunedin.