In brief: The Financial Times is pleased to announce the launch of the submission process for the second Innovative Lawyers report in the Asia-Pacific region.

The FT Innovative Lawyers programme was established in Europe in 2006. It was then launched in the US in 2010 and in 2014 extended to Canada and Mexico — the same year as the first report for the Asia-Pacific region. It is a unique programme that assesses commercial lawyers on their innovation both for clients and in their own businesses. The programme consists of rankings and awards, based on independent research and robust editorial investigation, with a published and online report, and an awards event.

The FT programme looks at innovation in private practice in two ways. The first is in the legal solutions lawyers create to deliver transformational value to their clients. The second is the business of running a law firm and delivering those legal solutions to clients. The latter includes how law firms run themselves as businesses and their strategies with regard to growth, client service, talent, operations and technology.

Why innovation? When the FT report was established in Europe almost a decade ago, it sought to break with the usual criteria of measuring lawyers by revenues, profits or deal sizes. Instead, it aimed to uncover the real value that lawyers deliver to business and reward the lawyers consistently furthering the interests of their clients, their own firms and the profession itself.

The second FT Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers report will look at the work of lawyers in private practice and in-house. In the private practice sections, there will be two sets of rankings — one for international firms and one for firms headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region. The jurisdictions that will be covered in this edition are Australia, China and Hong Kong, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.

The rankings will be based primarily on submissions received but will also include fresh research, surveys and other qualitative research methods to uncover legal innovation in the region. Assessment criteria will be based on local norms and benchmarks of innovation rather than what constitutes innovation in the European or North American legal markets.

Timescale: The submission deadline is February 13 2015. The research process will commence in February and be completed at the end of April 2015. Publication of the report will be on June 11 2015 to coincide with the awards event in Hong Kong on the evening of June 10. The launch event will recognise the standout innovators across all categories of the report.

There is no cost for submitting entries but the project will be subject to the terms and conditions outlined in detail below.

The research partner for the FT Innovative Lawyers programme is RSG Consulting, a specialist research and consultingcompany with decades of experience analysing the legal industry.

The programme is supported in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacificregion by Integreon, the global provider of integrated legal, research and business support solutions.

Private practice categories for 2015

1. Legal expertise: corporate & commercial

This is a broad umbrella heading to cover mergers and acquisitions, general corporate and commercial work, antitrust and intellectual property transactional work, and equity capital markets. The section will look at the key role lawyers have played in helping their clients grow and expand into new markets. It will also look at the role of lawyers in emerging jurisdictions. There will be two, separate rankings forinternational law firms and those headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region.

2. Legal expertise: finance

This section will take a broad look at finance law, including project finance, structured and acquisition finance transactions, real estate investment trusts, private equity and funds formation, and debt capital markets work. It will include innovative legal work for the underwriters of major deals and cover leading public-private partnerships. There will be two, separate rankings for international law firms and those headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region.

3. Business of law

This section will cover the innovative strategies of law firms in the region, examining their approaches to any of the following areas of the business of law:

• law firm structure, growth and expansion strategies, new ways of winning clients and building practice or industry area strengths and market presence

• talent management

• operational innovations to resource work more efficiently, and new uses of technology

• social responsibility initiatives and programmes

There will be two, separate rankings for international law firms and those headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region.

4. Innovative individual lawyers

The report will feature the top 10 lawyers who emerge across all categories of the research as the most creative and innovative individuals. These peoplewill have to display a track record of original thinking and successful ideas, and be able to show how they have affected business in the region. The top 10 will include technical lawyers, law firm leaders and strategists. The lead lawyers listed on submissions to all categories of the report are automatically considered, but law firms are also invited to make nominations to this category.

In-house categories for 2015

5. In-house legal teams

In-house lawyers have been the engine of innovation in Europe and North America. In the Asia-Pacific report, we will look for the best enablers of business and those general counsel who are navigating the challenges of the growing raft of regulation facing both international and local organisations. The section will also profile individual general counsel who are making the most impact in empowering their businesses.

The awards event

An awards event on June 10 2015 will be held in Hong Kong to coincide with publication of the rankings. For more details of the event contact Reda Sebbata at

At the awards event, the FT will recognise the top-scoring entries in certain categories.


Awards will include the following:

Innovation in corporate law (Asia-Pacific-headquartered law firms)

Innovation in corporate law (internationally headquartered law firms)

Innovation in finance law (Asia-Pacific-headquartered law firms)

Innovation in finance law (internationally headquartered law firms)

Innovation in the business of law (Asia-Pacific-headquartered law firms)

Innovation in the business of law (internationally headquartered law firms)

Most innovative lawyer

Most innovative in-house legal team

Most innovative law firm (Asia-Pacific-headquartered law firms)

Most innovative law firm (internationally headquartered law firms)

Additional awards will recognise regional and industry sector innovators.


February 13 2014 — deadline for submissions

End April 2015 — awards shortlists revealed.

June10 2014 — awards and report launch event, Hong Kong

June 11 2014 — publication of report

Submission format

All submissions must provide the following details and address the originality, rationale and impact criteria as set out below. Submissions must be no longer than 1,000 words.

1. Description of the innovation: including key dates, parties involved and other relevant background.

2. Originality: Why is the work or initiative innovative? Which elements are most original? What did the lawyers do that was new or unique?

3. Rationale: Why was this specific approach taken? What was the lawyers’ thinking process behind the solution? What market changes does it respond to?

4. Impact: What was the impact of the innovation for the client, firm or key stakeholders? How can its success be measured? Where did the lawyers deliver the most value?

5. References: All submissions must include contact details for an internal and external reference who can be contacted to discuss the details of the innovation on a confidential basis.

Nominations are also invited for the following report categories:

• Innovative individuals

• In-house legal team

• Innovative general counsel

How to submit entries

• All submissions must be made via the online submission forms here: and emailed to Please label documents clearly with the name of the submitting organisation and category to which the submission is being made.

• Individual nominations should be made via the nomination form here: and emailed to

• In-house legal team and general counsel nominations should be made via the nomination form here: and emailed to

• Attachments and additional material (to a maximum 20Mb) should be clearly labelled with the name of the submitting organisation and the category to which the submission relates, or posted to RSG Consulting, Lvl 4 39-41 Parker Street, London WC2B 5PC, UK.

• Video content, images or submissions in other formats are also welcome. Please complete the submissions form for the entry and mark the appropriate box to indicate that additional material is being sent.

Rules for submitting

Time period: the 2015 ranking will assess innovations from January 1 2014.

• Innovations must have taken place in the Asia-Pacific region and been led from an office in that region. For the Asia-Pacific law firms categories, law firms in the following countriesare eligible to submit in 2015: Australia, China and Hong Kong, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the Asean countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. Submissions can cover work anywhere in the Asia-Pacific region.

• There is a limit per firm of three submissions per category. If more than three submissions are made, only the first three in alphabetical order by title will be considered.

• Submissions must be no longer than 1,000 words in total, written in English, and answer each of the questions on the entry form.

Assessment of submissions

• Submissions will be fully researched and will be assessed on their own merits, through extensive interviews with referees. The RSG Consulting research team also uses independent experts in the assessment process. Entries will be judged against other submissions in each category.

• Innovations will be scored for their originality, rationale and impact out of a total of 30 points.

• Client referee interviews are a critical part of the assessment process. Contact details for internal and client or external referees must be included on every submission.

• Submissions, particularly those in the legal expertise categories, should each focus on a specific innovation. The research approach is to examine case studies. Those that are more general and that cover several different pieces of work in one submission will do less well in the scoring process.

• All submissions are assessed by RSG Consulting, a specialist legal-market research company that uses a process of interviews with clients, submitting lawyers and experts. The submissions are then scored against a bespoke ranking methodology, devised for the FT to assess innovation in law firms.

• The three key indicators used are originality, rationale and impact. Each indicator carries a total of 10 points. The submissions in each category are benchmarked against each other in the scoring process. The top ranked innovations therefore represent the best out of all the submissions received.

FT 25: Asia-Pacific and internationally headquartered law firms

• The FT 25 rankings will consist of a sum of all the entries a firm has had ranked in the categories of the report. The report will feature two FT 25 rankings, one for Asia-Pacific-headquartered law firms and one for internationally headquartered law firms.

• Law firms will be ranked by the total score for all ranked entries in the following categories of the report:

1. Legal expertise: corporate/commercial

2. Legal expertise: finance

3. Business of law

Conditions of entry

• There is no fee for entering submissions to FT Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers 2015.

• The researchers reserve the right to move entries from one category to another if they feel it appropriate. The researchers’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

• The FT and RSG Consulting accept no responsibility for the loss or damage of material submitted.

• The FT reserves the right to publish the names of the firm or lawyers contained in the shortlist of outstanding entries, details and description of all entries and details of winners. All entrants grant the FT a perpetual, non-exclusive licence to publish details and descriptions of entries as referred to, and also agree to participate in publicity reasonably requested by the FT regarding their entry. The FT acknowledges that copyright in all entries remains vested with the entrants.

• Please do not include any confidential information in your entry that you do not wish to enter the public domain because the FT is unable to guarantee that such information will not be published as set out above. Any inclusion of confidential information in an entry is at the entrant’s sole risk and responsibility and in knowledge of the FT’s request not to do so.

• The FT reserves the right to cancel, postpone or suspend FT Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers 2015 at any time.

• By submitting an entry, entrants will be deemed to have read, understood and agreed to these terms and conditions on behalf of their firm or organisation.

Contact details

• For research questions please contact RSG Consulting on +44 (0)20 7033 9898,

• For editorial enquiries please contact Rohit Jaggi at the FT on +44 (0)20 7873 3714,

• For advertising opportunities or other research sponsorship opportunities please contact Stephanie Collier, Global Associate Director at the FT, on +44 (0)20 7873 4597,

• For enquires about the launch event please contact Reda Sebbata, FT Conferences and Events,

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