©Martin O’Neill


In the 10th year of a report that has weighed and ranked a profession in a period of transformation, we spotlight the top 10 game changers of the past decade, and the areas that have seen the greatest shifts.

Shining lights in the dark

illustration for Innovative Lawyers 2015
©Martin O’Neill

A decade defined by crisis has fostered innovation but big challenges lie ahead

Lionel Barber

Foreword by Lionel Barber

Firms have gone from outright scepticism to embracing technology that can deliver much greater value to clients


David Morley, Senior Partner, Allen & Overy
David Morley, senior partner of Allen & Overy and winner of the FT Innovative Lawyers special achievement award for 2015, talks to Lindsay Fortado, FT legal correspondent
Michael Skapinker, Reena SenGupta, and Lindsay Fortado
On the 10th anniversary of the first FT Innovative Lawyers report, Lindsay Fortado talks to Reena SenGupta of RSG Consulting and FT associate editor Michael Skapinker about a decade of innovation
Shireen Irani, founder of iProbono, and Simon Harper, founder of Lawyers On Demand, joint winners of the innovative individual award, tell Lindsay Fortado how they are changing the way that lawyers work

Front runner

David Morley has driven his firm, Allen & Overy, to be the first mover in many fields in recent years

©Martin O’Neill

A new tack for austere times

The willingness of firms to experiment has been strongest in some of Europe’s weaker economies

©Martin O’Neill

Opportunities to add value

Collaborating with in-house legal teams and bringing fresh ideas to corporate projects are two ways firms have enhanced their client relations

©Martin O’Neill

Good works

Engaging with civil society is proving to be a bonus for many firms, whose own businesses are benefiting too

©Martin O’Neill

A full suite

Some of the most creative efficiency improvements have produced substantial savings for firms and their clients

illustration for Innovative Lawyers 2015
©Martin O’Neill

Diverse models

While some firms are taking on the accountancy giants, others are finding more unorthodox ways to boost their bottom line

illustration for Innovative Lawyers 2015
©Martin O’Neill

Digital drivers

The search for efficiency gains that can give firms a competitive advantage has been the prime focus of their investment strategy

Forging links

Two lawyers who have shown how to unleash the power of networks rose to the fore among our 10 finalists

Deal sealers

The revival in mergers and acquisitions has given firms a showcase for their skills

Solutions to the funding puzzle

The complexity of deals, especially those across borders, required some original thinking from companies’ advisers

Action on the global front

The intricacies of cross-border litigation are putting demands on firms to find new ways of achieving settlements

Tactics to level the playing field

The regulatory environment has been a testing one but firms showed invention to ensure positive outcomes for clients

Technically talented

The advance of digitally based and online businesses has put the onus on legal teams to expand their skills

Extreme becomes mainstream

Lawyers’ power of pure legal innovation translates to creating commercial opportunities

The next generation

These individuals have shown that ideas in the profession do not have to come from the top down


Each entry is scored out of 10 points for originality, rationale and impact for a maximum score of 30

Call for submissions and nominations

Submit your European general counsel and in-house legal teams for the rankings and awards

Submission guidelines for 2015

Read the guidelines on how to enter your submission for this year’s ranking and awards


The rise of the one-stop shop

Rebundling services is very new for the legal sector

Foreword, by Lionel Barber

The overwhelming evidence is that models for the delivery of legal services have changed and the in-house section of the profession has grown exponentially

Towards new frontiers

Many of this year’s shortlisted candidates have been instrumental in fostering a spirit of international co-operation

Mould breaker

Rosemary Martin has redefined the role of in-house legal teams, making them integral to the growth of their companies

Healthy options

New legislation is fostering diversification and imagination

To the rescue

Virtual legal teams are giving clients a cheaper, more efficient option

On the data trail

From data privacy issues at banks to intellectual property online, firms have found ways to accelerate legal processes

Buzz of ideas

Deregulation of the legal market is starting to make itself felt in greater efficiencies and value-added services

Building blocks

Changes to the law on infrastructure financing have rekindled law firms’ willingness to experiment in setting up deals

Wheels in deals

Tax inversions have gained in popularity but need skill to execute

Outside the box

Other industries can offer insights for business process improvement

Creative thinkers

The best in-house legal teams are proactive and come up with ideas that generate revenue

Equality from within

Law firms are changing themselves as well as helping others

Research methodology

Each entry is scored out of 10 points each for originality, rationale and impact, for a maximum score of 30.

In-house lawyer guidelines and form

Read the rules and submit your entry for the general counsel and in-house legal team through the online form

Submission guidelines for 2014

Read the guidelines on how to enter your submission

2013 innovative lawyers

Alliances shift up a gear

Changes in the profession are gathering pace but there are already many indications of how lawyers’ mindset has been transformed

Pillars of creativity and vision

Candidates share an ability to turn client needs into groundbreaking initiatives

London faces new legal challengers

A nimbler sector sees competition from US and Asia

Far-reaching effects of legal innovation

Graeme Nuttall, partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse, on employee ownership