We are pleased to invite submissions from law firms for the 2014 FT Innovative Lawyers Report for the North America region.

For the past four years, this unique analysis has sought to recognise market leaders in the US legal industry by measuring and rewarding value delivered to clients rather than more conventional metrics such as size, revenue and profit.

Indeed, in many legal solutions and management initiatives, how lawyers innovate is often the only way they can differentiate themselves from their peers.

For the first time, we are opening the report up to firms based in the whole of North America. This means that firms from across the region (including Canada and Mexico) will be matched against their US counterparts.

For the purpose of this report, we will consider the North American region to include the US, Canada and Mexico only.

FT Innovative Lawyers is a joint venture with RSG Consulting, a specialist legal research 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. In 2013, the RSG research team conducted more than 500 in-depth interviews to reach the final US rankings. Your submissions will help us to continue this unique analysis of the legal industry.

FT Innovative Lawyers is supported by Integreon, the global provider of integrated legal, research and business support solutions.



1.Legal expertise: corporate and commercial

The section covers innovative legal solutions across any field of corporate or commercial law. What were the most innovative deals of the past year and how have lawyers helped their clients grow, develop new transaction structures or navigate new markets? This section includes equity capital markets work.

2.Legal expertise: finance

This section will continue to look at innovations across the full spectrum of legal work in finance practice areas. This includes legal innovations in public or private financing, debt capital markets, structured finance, financial restructuring, regulatory work, and project finance across any industry.

3.Legal expertise: litigation

US litigators face a number of transformative trends including more sophisticated clients, internationalisation and the potentially disruptive developments in technology. We will continue to look at innovative litigation strategies and the work of lawyers, both defendant and plaintiff, in groundbreaking cases.

4.Business of law

In the current climate, there is even more pressure for law firms to evolve their approaches to management, strategy and sustainability. We seek submissions from firms which are innovating in any area of law firm business including approaches to billing and fees, project management, talent development and international strategies.

5.Social responsibility

Law firms have become increasingly active in the field of corporate social responsibility, becoming agents of change within the legal sector and the broader community. This section covers law firm initiatives with clients, staff, the legal profession, business and the wider community. We are interested in programmes that are creative, effective and sustainable, and which put lawyers and law firms in the vanguard of positive social change.


This section will take a holistic view of company legal functions to profile the most innovative teams. We invite chief legal officers to nominate themselves and their teams, and also encourage private practice law firms to nominate clients which they feel have been particularly innovative as providers, purchasers and managers of legal services.


This section will profile the top 10 individual lawyers who emerge through the research as genuine innovators. We will be looking for individuals who have come up with the big ideas that have helped to change the status quo and drive industry-wide innovation. While lawyers involved in the submissions to the above categories will automatically be considered, firms and in-house teams are welcome to make additional nominations to this category.


1 August 2014 – deadline for submissions

■ 3 December 2014 – evening launch event in New York

■ 4 December 2014 – publication of the report in the FT global publication and online at FT.com

How to submit entries

1. All submissions must be made through the online entry forms. You will be able to access the entry forms through the main page. Once submitted you will be able to access and modify your submissions any time until 1 August 2014.

2. Electronic copies of all submissions must also be emailed to ftresearch@rsgconsulting.com. Please send each submission as a separate file with the name of the submitting organisation and category to which the submission is being made included in the file name.

Any additional material should also be clearly labelled and emailed to the same address (to a maximum 20Mb) or posted to RSG Consulting, 103 Sclater Street, London, E1 6HR, UK.

Video content, images or submissions in other formats are also welcome.

Submission format

3. All submissions must provide the following details and address the originality, rationale and impact criteria as set out below.

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

• Originality: Why is the work or initiative innovative? Which elements are most original?

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

• 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?

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

Nominations: innovative individuals and in-house legal teams

4. Law firms are also invited to make nominations for the following categories via email to ftresearch@rsgconsulting.com or the through the online entry forms:

• Innovative individual

• In-house legal team

Rules for submitting

• Time period: the 2014 ranking will assess innovations that have been implemented or closed since 1 January 2013.

• Geography: Innovations must have taken place in the North American region or have been led from an office in the North American region. All law firms active in North America, regardless of country of origin, are eligible to send submissions to FT Innovative Lawyers 2014.

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

• Word count: Submissions should be no longer than 1,000 words in total, written in English and answer each of the questions on the entry form. The word count excludes references and contact details.

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 circles of 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 according to RSG Consulting’s scoring methodology.

• Client referee interviews are an important 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. Those that are more general and that cover several different pieces of work in one submission will do less well in the scoring process.

FT Law 40

• Ranked scores are the only metric which will be used to compile the final FT Law 40, following the same method used in 2013. Law firms are ranked by the total score for all RANKED entries in the following categories of the report:

1. Legal expertise: corporate and commercial

2. Legal expertise: finance

3. Legal expertise: litigation

4. Business of Law

5. Social responsibility

Conditions of entry

• There is no fee for entering submissions to FT Innovative Lawyers 2014.

• 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 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 Innovative Lawyers 2014 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, ftresearch@rsgconsulting.com

■ For editorial enquiries please contact Rohit Jaggi, commissioning editor at the FT on +44 (0)20 7873 3714, rohit.jaggi@ft.com

■ For advertising opportunities or other research sponsorship opportunities please contact Stephanie Collier, global associate director, professional services and technology at the FT on +44 20 7873 4597 or at stephanie.collier@ft.com

■ For enquiries about the launch event in New York please contact Daniel Rothman, director of commercial marketing & customer insight at the FT on +1 917 551 5048 or at daniel.rothman@ft.com

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