2015

North America Innovative Lawyers ranks the top law firms, legal teams and individuals – and highlights the work that won them their rankings

Legal advice has to demonstrate it can drive ahead

Illustration for North America Innovative Lawyers December 2015 special report. Martin O’Neill, illustrator
©Martin O’Neill

Members of the profession are leading, planning and executing original ideas and deals

Rankings

See the top North American law firms and an extensive breakdown of how they scored in each category

Foreword, by Gillian Tett

Lawyers can be innovative, and when they are, they push the legal business into rewarding new heights

Jami McKeon
©Gittings

Jami McKeon — a skilled manager of change

Handling a merger was a tough test

Illustration for North America Innovative Lawyers December 2015 special report. Martin O’Neill, illustrator
©Martin O’Neill

The small steps that encourage big changes in commitment

From a focus on health to partnerships with tech companies, firms want to change the culture

Illustration for North America Innovative Lawyers December 2015 special report. Martin O’Neill, illustrator
©Martin O’Neill

Firms throw off caution and enter the digital arena

Adopting cutting-edge capabilities will cut costs, enhance efficiency and attract and retain more business

Winner catches the mood of an age

A practice focused on sustainability earns a partner the top award

Illustration for North America Innovative Lawyers December 2015 special report. Martin O’Neill, illustrator
©Martin O’Neill

Having the courage to speak out is hallmark of sound counsel

Flexibility and business skills are desirable traits in modern legal advisers

Fresh ideas flourish north of border

Inventive approaches in Canada include guidance through complex system and lower-cost models

Illustration for North America Innovative Lawyers December 2015 special report. Martin O’Neill, illustrator
©Martin O’Neill

Getting on and off a train that is still moving

Telecoms and energy deals in Mexico are harder if rules are in flux

Illustration for North America Innovative Lawyers December 2015 special report. Martin O’Neill, illustrator
©Martin O’Neill

Poison pill proves to be a deal-breaker

Fending off hostile bids requires lawyers to use all manner of arcane delaying tactics

Complex deals from Texas to Arkansas via Greenland

Firms can play an increasingly central role in unlocking investment for projects to materialise

Lawyers give a voice to the silent

Emotions ran high as victims of trafficking celebrated victory

Standing up for a little guy who bet the farm and won

Law firms are thinking creatively to find successful ways to challenge legislation

Methodology

Shortlists cover the US, Canada and Mexico and comprise submissions in each section

2014

Change is extending scope and impact of law firms

Welcome to the Financial Times North America Innovative Lawyers report for 2014

Chance for architects of change to win accolades

Payment simply for hours worked fails to recognise the value created

Business of law: Knowledge is beginning to take wing

Firms have been slow to invest in data analytics and knowledge processing platforms, but some are now moving ahead of the curve

Firms ride crest of a renewed M&A wave

Complexity and revived tactics are delivering for clients

Traditional pricing model abandoned in Canada

Clients are enjoying fees that are sometimes more than a third lower

Smaller deals prove more challenging in Mexico

A reinsurance fund for a remote community and micro loans for artists stand out

Finalists make imposing group

These individuals have inspired in the courtroom and beyond

Tech giants lead charge for change

Many company lawyers are also taking on the role of corporate conscience

Streamlining litigation in the tech age

As new technology outpaces legislation, some of the biggest challenges have been in the field of patent, software and copyright law

Bankruptcy beyond borders

This year has seen legal strategists use the US bankruptcy code to steer foreign businesses through restructuring in fresh ways

Profession takes up social responsibility

Firms are building the legal structures to support new models of enterprise

Methodology

The FT and its research partner RSG Consulting have devised a unique system to rank lawyers on innovation

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