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

Enabling Business Growth and Transformation
Rank Law firm Description Originality Leadership Impact Total
STANDOUT Baker McKenzie Advised Alawwal Bank on its merger with the Saudi British Bank, valued at $5bn, one of the largest mergers to date between two listed companies in the Middle East. The firm navigated the UK’s new Market Abuse Regulation and Saudi transaction rules to achieve a successful share-for-share merger and set the market standard for future transactions of this kind. 7 9 8 24
HIGHLY COMMENDED Allen & Overy Designed a complex dual structure enabling DWF to be listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The dual structure is designed to accommodate jurisdictions that do not allow non-legal professionals to participate in running a law firm. 7 8 7 22
HIGHLY COMMENDED BonelliErede Advised a consortium of Italian insurance companies and brokers on the structure of a blockchain-based platform designed to improve efficiency in the provision of quotes. Lawyers ensured transparency in the model, which is open to new members, and developed the mechanics to ensure that data shared through the platform would not conflict with antitrust laws. 7 8 7 22
HIGHLY COMMENDED DLA Piper Enabled the takeover of Spanish toll road operator Abertis by Italian transport company Atlantia for $18.2bn. Lawyers gained regulatory clearance in the US, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and France to enable global expansion. 7 8 7 22
HIGHLY COMMENDED Womble Bond Dickinson Advised Newcastle City Council on a project to transfer its parks, allotments and recreation grounds to a newly established charitable trust. A separate trust with a board of directors will facilitate development of greater expertise and scope to explore additional revenue streams such as concerts and other cultural events. 8 7 7 22
COMMENDED Bird & Bird Developed a legal framework for Intergalactic Gaming, a web-based platform designed to support the esports, or competitive videogaming, industry. The firm helped establish a legal framework for the platform, which incorportates a blockchain-based currency that can act as an “in-game currency” and as competition prize money, which can be paid out automatically to a winning team or player. Commended: William Deller. 7 7 7 21
COMMENDED BonelliErede Overcame complex tax considerations to enable the merger of Italian property company Beni Stabili and French real estate investment trust Covivio. The firm established a branch of Covivio in Italy, requiring an unprecedented securities arrangement to enable the merger. 7 7 7 21
COMMENDED Bracewell Advised Neptune Energy Group on the $2bn financing towards its acquisition of Engie E&P’s upstream oil and gas business, which included 319 exploration and production licences in 12 countries. Lawyers structured the financing to provide for long termination periods, enabling greater security and flexibility. The structure has been replicated in similar transactions. 6 7 8 21
COMMENDED Hogan Lovells After the renewal of Uber’s licence to operate in London was declined, the firm helped the ride-hailing company make significant changes to its corporate culture to regain trust. Changes to its board-led governance, communications protocols and the introduction of an independent assurance procedure helped win Uber a 15-month licence from Transport for London. 7 8 6 21
COMMENDED Pinsent Masons The firm established a legal framework to allow the development of an app for Amazon’s Alexa device that provides real-time mortgage and property value quotes. Lawyers established that vocal consent was enough for compliance purposes in order to comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) requirements. Commended: Alexander Bayer. 7 8 6 21
COMMENDED Sayenko Kharenko Established Ukraine online auction platform ProZorro.Sale for the sale of state-owned assets of insolvent banks undergoing liquidation. It developed a corporate governance structure for the state-owned enterprise, with an administrator function that allows the platform to operate independently and transparently. The firm says the platform has facilitated more than 6,600 auctions with a total value of more than €400m. 7 7 7 21
COMMENDED Ecija Developed and implemented an automated whistleblowing reporting system for a client. The system protects potential whistleblowers’ anonymity and privacy under the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) while ensuring their concerns can be effectively investigated by the compliance committee to avert or mitigate corporate liability or reputational damage. 6 8 6 20
COMMENDED Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Advised on the legal framework for Uber’s clean air initiative, in what the lawyers describe as “compliance by design”. They ensured that the scheme, which added up to 15 pence per mile to each ride, was integrated into the business model without cost to drivers. Uber expects to raise more than £200m to help drivers transition to electric vehicles, anticipating the first 20,000 upgrades by 2022. 6 6 8 20
COMMENDED Shearman & Sterling Structured the initial public offering of Slovenia’s largest bank, Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), which had received a state-aid injection in 2013 and was in effect nationalised. To comply with European Commission restrictions on state aid, the Slovenian government had pledged to privatise more than 50 per cent of the bank by year-end 2018. The firm took the lead in analysing risks, including the Slovenian state guarantee covering NLB’s liability risk associated with Croatian foreign deposit litigation. 6 7 7 20
COMMENDED VdA Lawyers designed an expedited cross-border demerger and merger process between Coty Spain and Coty Portugal to enable the efficient transfer of assets in the US-headquartered beauty company’s global reorganisation. 6 7 6 19
COMMENDED White & Case Secured European Commission approval for the acquisition of Tele2 Netherlands by Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, T-Mobile Netherlands. The firm worked closely not just with its own client and its economic advisers, but also with the target company to challenge the EC’s assumption that four or more mobile operators were necessary for competitiveness. 6 6 7 19
Enabling Business Growth and Transformation (In-house)
Rank In-house legal team Description Originality Leadership Impact Total
STANDOUT Aviva Advised the business on the launch of a subscription-based home and motor insurance product that can be changed on a monthly basis depending on the level of cover the customer needs. The legal team advised on data handling to make the product viable and designed an annual contract. 8 8 8 24
STANDOUT FarFetch The legal team, now 18 lawyers operating across the UK, China, Russia, Portugal and the US, have enabled the ecommerce platform’s global expansion. Lawyers guided the company through its $5.8bn initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018 and various acquisitions. 7 8 8 23
HIGHLY COMMENDED BlaBlaCar Developed economic models to demonstrate that French carsharing company BlaBlaCar was not functioning as a public transport company, overcoming claims brought against it by local bus companies in Spain. 7 8 7 22
COMMENDED Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe Developed a successful patent litigation strategy led by the pharmaceutical company’s European litigations team, which enabled lawyers to quantify their commercial impact, helping Teva enter the generics market faster than competitors and boosting profits. 6 7 7 20

Explore the Innovative Lawyers Europe rankings 2019


  • Most Innovative Law Firms in Europe
  • Most Innovative In-house Legal Teams in Europe
  • Rule of law and Access to Justice
  • Collaboration

Business of Law

  • Data, Knowledge and Intelligence
  • Managing and Developing Talent / Diversity and Inclusion
  • New Business and Service Delivery Models
  • New Products and Services
  • Strategy and Changing Behaviours
  • Talent, Strategy and Changing Behaviours
  • Technology

Legal Expertise

  • Accessing New Markets and Capital
  • Creating a New Standard
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Enabling Business Growth and Transformation
  • Managing Complexity and Scale
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