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

Enabling Business Growth and Transformation
RankLaw firmDescriptionOriginalityLeadershipImpactTotal
STANDOUTBaker McKenzieAdvised 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.79824
HIGHLY COMMENDEDAllen & OveryDesigned 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.78722
HIGHLY COMMENDEDBonelliEredeAdvised 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.78722
HIGHLY COMMENDEDDLA PiperEnabled 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.78722
HIGHLY COMMENDEDWomble Bond DickinsonAdvised 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.87722
COMMENDEDBird & BirdDeveloped 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.77721
COMMENDEDBonelliEredeOvercame 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.77721
COMMENDEDBracewellAdvised 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.67821
COMMENDEDHogan LovellsAfter 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.78621
COMMENDEDPinsent MasonsThe 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.78621
COMMENDEDSayenko KharenkoEstablished 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.77721
COMMENDEDEcijaDeveloped 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.68620
COMMENDEDFreshfields Bruckhaus DeringerAdvised 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 2022.66820
COMMENDEDShearman & SterlingStructured 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.67720
COMMENDEDVdALawyers 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.67619
COMMENDEDWhite & CaseSecured 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.66719
Enabling Business Growth and Transformation (In-house)
RankIn-house legal teamDescriptionOriginalityLeadershipImpactTotal
STANDOUTAvivaAdvised 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.88824
STANDOUTFarFetchThe 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.78823
HIGHLY COMMENDEDBlaBlaCarDeveloped 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.78722
COMMENDEDTeva Pharmaceuticals EuropeDeveloped 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.67720

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