China,Hong Kong, tourists admiring the skyline from Victoria peak, at dusk: Bright lights in Hong Kong
Hong Kong: individual bright lights shine out © Getty
Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

The Financial Times is pleased to invite submissions from Asia Pacific-based general counsel and in-house legal teams to the 2017 FT Innovative Lawyers rankings and awards.

In-house lawyers have become an engine of innovation in business and the legal industry across the globe. In the Asia-Pacific report, we will continue to recognise in-house teams that are enabling their businesses to grow and succeed, and the general counsel driving change within business, industry and the profession.

The FT Innovative Lawyers programme was established in Europe in 2006, launched in the US in 2010, and in Asia-Pacific in 2014. Over the 11 years it has covered legal industry innovation in 50 countries from more than 430 law firms and 400-plus company in-house legal departments.

Across all the regions it covers, this unique analysis has sought to recognise market leaders and drivers of change in the legal industry by measuring and rewarding uniqueness and value delivered to the business.

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

The intensive research process includes in-depth interviews with referees, expert commentators and market research surveys. Your submissions will help us to continue this unique analysis of the legal industry.


This year we will feature general counsel and in-house teams that have demonstrated innovation in one or more of the following areas:

As lawyers: have there been any standout transactions, matters or substantive legal advice where the legal department’s contribution has been critical to business growth or survival?

As operational managers: this includes managing the internal legal function, use of technology, knowledge management systems and talent and engagement programmes. It also includes contract management programmes.

As purchasers: this includes managing external legal service providers, costs, service-level agreements, panel arrangements and procurement processes in general.

As strategic advisers: this includes where the function has partnered with the business to give commercial, strategic advice that has significantly enhanced the organisation.

As risk managers: how the legal department has pre-empted problems or secured the business from threat. This includes processes, compliance, governance and proactive collaborations with other functions.

As thought-leaders: this includes where in-house lawyers have taken on a lobbying role and changed or influenced legislation, regulation or industry approaches. It also includes promoting greater diversity in the legal sector and other ethical or socially responsible initiatives.

How to submit

Innovations can cover the whole department or a particular division or initiative.

Submissions should provide contact details for the general counsel and at least one internal commercial reference.

The innovation must be primarily driven out of an Asia-Pacific office of the business.

Submissions and nominations are invited on any innovative process or practice put into place since January 1, 2016.

Submissions and any additional material you wish to include should be emailed to, clearly labelled with the name of the submitting organisation.

How to nominate

Nominate yourself: we are aware that in-house teams are extremely busy and often lack the time to send full submissions. If you do not have time to complete a full submission, you can nominate yourself and the RSG research team will follow up with a telephone assessment of your innovation.

Nominate a peer: you can also nominate a peer or in-house legal team at another organisation.

To do either of the above, please provide details using the online nominations forms at:

Assessment of submissions

Submissions and nominations are assessed according to their originality, business alignment, Value creation and impact.

Each of the four criteria is scored out of 10, to give a total score out of a maximum of 40.

The awards event

The awards event will be held at the Asia Society in Hong Kong on June 1, 2017.

Shortlists for the awards will be announced, and shortlisted nominees contacted in May.

For more details of the event contact Reda Sebbata on

At the award event, the FT will recognise the top scoring entries in each of the categories of the report including the ‘Most innovative in-house legal team’.

Schedule and deadlines

February 24, 2017: Deadline for submissions

June 1, 2017: Awards event at the Asia Society, Hong Kong

June 2, 2107: Publication of the FT Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers Report

Conditions of entry

There is no fee for entering submissions to FT Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers 2017.

The researchers reserve the right to move entries from one category to another if they feel it is more 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 firms, companies 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 2016 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 7831 0300,

For editorial inquiries please contact Harriet Arnold, Special Reports editor at the FT on +44 (0)20 7873 4921, (please put FTILA in the subject field).

For advertising opportunities or other research sponsorship opportunities please contact Robert Grange, global advertising director at the FT at or +44 (0)20 7873 4418

For inquiries about the launch event please contact Reda Sebbata, FT Live Global Conferences and Events, on +44 (0)20 7873 3837,

Get alerts on Legal services when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article