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

Strategy and changing behaviours
Rank Law firm Description Originality Leadership Impact Total
STANDOUT Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer The firm is one year into a three-year digital transformation strategy to change the way it approaches client matters, technology and the lawyer/business professional divide. Coming out of this overall strategy for example is Mattrs, a platform through which clients experience the services and products of the firm. Commended: Charlotte Baldwin. 8 9 8 25
STANDOUT Kennedys Since 2018, the firm has seen a 31 per cent increase in profitability, which it attributes to using technology to remove the need for lawyers for certain tasks across all its client matters, particularly in insurance claims. Commended: Richard West. 7 9 8 24
STANDOUT Pinsent Masons Became one of the first leading international law firms to commit to becoming a purpose-led business, an initiative that involved all its 3,000 people across 24 offices and 2,000 data points. The firm’s purpose, values and required behaviours are articulated, and it is now incorporating this into every business line and client interaction. Commended: Richard Foley. 8 10 6 24
STANDOUT Taylor Vinters A purpose-led strategy has led the firm to make tough decisions on client and talent selection. It launched a #GreaterThings campaign last year to reinforce its employer brand, which made the partners’ contribution to the firm’s culture part of their remuneration. The firm saw a 15 per cent increase in revenues last year. 8 9 7 24
HIGHLY COMMENDED Garrigues The firm set up a legal operations delivery team and seven specific topic hubs through which it delivers services and works with clients. The firm’s new digital strategy is breaking down traditional practice area silos and fostering multidisciplinary teams. 7 8 7 22
HIGHLY COMMENDED Hogan Lovells The firm set out to tackle intolerant attitudes and harassment in the workplace with its Project Respect programme. Every employee must undertake a two-hour workshop, and “respect advocates” provide a new channel for reporting bullying or harassment. 7 8 7 22
COMMENDED Macfarlanes In an attempt to change staff behaviours around using email for non-matter communication, the firm is using HighQ Collaborate to remove “noise” from inboxes. All knowledge management and insights are directed through the platform, with project management resources, business development and marketing information, new feeds, case decision, training updates and social events information. Commended: Damian Crossley.  Note: HighQ is a sponsor of the Innovative Lawyers awards. 7 7 7 21
COMMENDED Sorainen With operations in Belarus, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the firm pursued a strategy of integration and cultural unification that enables it to be the only law firm that operates as a single entity across the Baltics and Belarus. Hiring a new operating officer brought in new management practices, training for lawyers and investments in technology and allowed the managing partner to focus on building practice areas. 7 7 7 21
COMMENDED Aequo The firm’s goal to transition from newcomer to top five law firm in Ukraine in the next five years has been aided by Aequo Academy, a training initiative that helps it focus on brand, innovation and advanced knowledge management. It became the first Ukrainian law firm to join the UN Global Compact. Since 2017, it has had a 30 per cent increase in new clients. 6 7 7 20
COMMENDED CMS Launched the platform #hacks, built on Crowdicity software used to collect and gamify the generation of ideas, to encourage innovation in the firm. So far 1,400 people have joined the platform, and more than 90 ideas have been generated, with more than 1,200 votes cast. Ideas include a new client portal, document automation products and using cryptocurrency as a reward system. 5 7 8 20
COMMENDED Mills & Reeve Implemented a programme to encourage innovation in the firm that includes a hub built on the Crowdicity platform. Multiple ideas have been posted and voted on, nearly 75 per cent of which have been developed. 5 7 8 20
COMMENDED Obelisk Support The firm continues to refine its business model, which focuses on getting women back into the legal workforce. Working for leading financial institutions, it hires alumni who want to work on a flexible or remote basis. 4 9 7 20
COMMENDED PLMJ Undertook a comprehensive and lasting exercise with staff and clients to rebrand the firm and refresh its cultural values and strategy. It looked back over its 50-year history and defined its identity in the Portuguese legal market as lawyers capable of transforming client businesses. 6 7 7 20
COMMENDED Shearman & Sterling The firm’s “client value” team continues to transform efficiencies in the firm. Most recently, it worked with the capital markets group to change working patterns and enhance relationships. In some cases, document automation is 85 per cent faster and contract review is 95 per cent faster. The group uses a collaboration platform to enable better tracking of projects. 7 7 6 20
Strategy and changing behaviours (In-house)
Rank In-house legal team Description Originality Leadership Impact Total
STANDOUT Lloyds Banking Group The bank’s legal team created the “Shaping Our Future” initiative to support its new digital strategy. In the first phase, teams helped to improve talent development, relationship management, automation of legal advice and processes, and collaboration with alternative legal service providers. The primary focus has been on developing new skills within the team. 7 9 8 24
HIGHLY COMMENDED ING Bank Engaged all lawyers at the bank to design a legal departmentfor 2025. The results of the workshops were used to design a global legal change programme that implements new ideas and improves the corporate culture, training, operational processes and technology. 7 9 7 23
HIGHLY COMMENDED Aviva The “Mission: Not Impossible” programme brings together teams of four or five from different roles to work on a challenge over eight weeks. They are taught systems thinking and given mentorship to provide a holistic and hands-on training experience. Solutions developed over eight missions to date have benefited other employees. 7 8 7 22
COMMENDED Accenture Since over 50 per cent of new deals by Accenture now comprise a digital component, the company needed the team to develop their digital skills. Working with coaching company Cognician, the team built a scalable digital platform to deliver their Missions training programme to more than 465 lawyers in 42 countries. The platform uses deal simulations to tie training to real work experiences. 6 8 7 21
COMMENDED Aviva Collaborating with law firm Pinsent Masons and media company Crafty Counsel, the team created 10 short training videos on legal and regulatory developments for both internal and external use. The videos are short and accessible anywhere. 7 7 6 20
COMMENDED ING Bank Developed a legal Obeya room (Japanese for “war room”), used in lean manufacturing to refer to a room set aside for meetings and discussion on particular topics. The room comes with communication tools, and processes and principles for how it is used. 6 7 7 20
COMMENDED Anheuser-Busch InBev The world’s largest brewer teamed up with digital production company GadFly to create interactive training videos, addressing ethics and compliance issues such as harassment and corruption, helping empower employees to raise concerns. 6 6 7 19
COMMENDED Robert Bosch The team defined its purpose and culture to restructure how it operate. It developed a “find your lawyer” tool for internal clients to find quickly the right skill set for a specific task anywhere across its global operations. 6 7 6 19

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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