The tables below rank law firms and in-house legal teams for the FT Innovative Lawyers North America awards.

New Business and Service Delivery Models
Rank Law firm Description Originality Leadership Impact Total
STANDOUT Reed Smith The practice spun off its client technology arm to create Gravity Stack, a legal technology subsidiary. As a separate business, it licenses technology for contract and document lifecycle management, data analytics and project management to other law firms and in-house legal teams. It retains access to Reed Smith's global client base.  8 8 8 24
STANDOUT Orrick Orrick is national co-ordinating counsel for ongoing litigation against its client Johnson & Johnson. The firm has used various technology providers to develop a digital platform that tracks more than 1,000 active cases involving 100 Orrick litigators, 40 other law firms and 25 experts. It has saved $2.3m in legal costs over 15 months. 6 9 8 23
HIGHLY COMMENDED Perkins Coie Created a workflow management tool in order to collaborate with clients' in-house legal teams and track projects. Clients have more control over how their work is resourced and how it will be charged. 8 8 7 23
HIGHLY COMMENDED Hogan Lovells Created a project management and pricing structure tool to maintain budget consistency and transparency in its work with generic drugmaker Mylan. Business conducted for the company covered 16 countries and 150 transactional, regulatory and litigation matters. 6 8 8 22
COMMENDED BakerHostetler Created a 10-person research and development team called IncuBaker. The team research, test and collaborate with technology providers to develop and implement tools for the firm and its clients.  7 7 7 21
COMMENDED McCarthy Tétrault Acquired fellow Canadian law firm Wortzmans in 2017 and formed MT>3, a new division to provide clients with in-house services for ediscovery, information governance and data management.   7 7 7 21
COMMENDED Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Started Mutual Fund Studio, a team of lawyers, business and operations professionals that use software to automate fund registration and filing processes, saving money for clients. 6 8 7 21
COMMENDED Stikeman Elliott  Working for its client Scotiabank, the practice automated the drafting and review of “principal at risk” notes, resulting in a 25 per cent cut in legal costs. The move also allowed the firm to double the volume of notes it can create for sale. 6 7 8 21
New Business and Service Delivery Models (In-house)
Rank In-house legal team Description Originality Leadership Impact Total
STANDOUT Microsoft The Microsoft legal team holds events on various topics with a small group of law firms as part of its strategic partner programme. At a recent forum on innovation, the firms were asked to give presentations on past and future innovations in service delivery. The team hopes to drive behavioural change outside Microsoft by inviting other large corporates to the events.  7 9 8 24

Pharmaceutical company Mylan worked with law firm Hogan Lovells to develop a pricing structure for its global portfolio of work, which is co-ordinated by the firm’s US offices. The aim is to maintain budget certainty, consistency and transparency.

8 8 7 23
HIGHLY COMMENDED PayPal The online payments company's legal team created an innovation lab to generate new intellectual property for the company. The lab came under the legal department until it was shown to be viable. It is now part of the chief technology officer's reporting line, with labs in Singapore, India and the US. The lab is one of the biggest idea generators for the business. 7 8 8 23
HIGHLY COMMENDED Applied Materials Applied Materials’ improved legal services delivery includes an intellectual property management system, a process to automatically update contract terms and conditions that allows changes to be processed 90 per cent faster. A separate new centre of excellence for contractual work has cut costs by 80 per cent. 7 7 8 22
HIGHLY COMMENDED Pearson As part of the transformation of Pearson's legal department, the team launched a transaction services centre that acts as a contracting web portal. Staff enter a request and the workflow directs them to a self-service contract, offshore delivery centre or internal lawyers.  6 8 8 22
COMMENDED Honeywell The industrial conglomerate worked with AdvanceLaw, a forum of in-house legal teams, to establish a strategic partner panel of 12 firms. The company is switching most of its legal spend to the panel, which is made up of firms outside the top tier. To maintain quality, all panel work is evaluated and reported quarterly. 6 7 7 20
COMMENDED Nucor Until recently the 200 decentralised business units at Nucor, the US's largest steel producer, were free to manage their own legal affairs. Now the business has a central legal team that has standardised supply agreements and the procurement process for outside counsel, which has led to significant savings. 6 7 7 20
COMMENDED Tenneco The auto parts company's due diligence process allows employees to take on new vendors using a questionnaire rather than having to contact legal and compliance. Approximately 10,000 vendors have been screened using the process, which also monitors for fraud and conflicts of interest.  6 7 7 20
COMMENDED CI Capital Partners To cope with a high volume of smaller mergers and acquisition deals, the legal team at private equity firm CI Capital Partners has developed several ways to control outside counsel expenditure, including process mapping and fixed-fee agreements.  6 7 6 19
COMMENDED Vista Outdoor The sports equipment company has driven down legal costs with self-service contracts, ebilling and moving all its external legal work to law firm Reed Smith as sole supplier. 5 7 7 19

Explore the Innovative Lawyers North America rankings 2019


  • Most innovative law firms
  • Most innovative in-house legal teams
  • Rule of law and access to justice
  • Collaboration

Business of Law

  • Technology and data
  • New business and service delivery models
  • New products and services
  • Talent, strategy and changing behaviours
  • Diversity and inclusion

Legal Expertise

  • Accessing new markets and capital
  • Creating a new standard
  • Enabling business growth and transformation
  • Litigation and disputes
  • Managing complexity and scale
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