© Martin O'Neill
Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

We are pleased to invite submissions from US law firms for the 2013 FT Innovative Lawyers rankings and awards. For the past three 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.

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 2012, the RSG research team conducted over 300 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/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?

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, 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 want to see submissions from firms who are innovating in any area of law firm business including approaches to billing and fees, project management, talent development or international strategies.

5. Lawyers to the innovators

Entrepreneurial US businesses continue to change the ways in which the world works, plays and communicates. We want to hear from the lawyers and law firms who work with the most innovative and dynamic companies, whether as start-ups, pioneers of new business models, or new market leaders. The section will look at innovative client service offerings as well as transactional or contentious legal work which is supporting the most innovative and creative segments of US and international business.


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 private practice law firms to nominate clients who 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 submissions to this category.


The FT will publish an index of the top US law firms as judged by their innovation performance across all categories of the report. Firms are also welcome to submit background information as to how they operate as businesses to the research team. These statements will be considered for coherent strategy, ethical business practices and forward-thinking policies however they will be used as supporting material only.


■ July 26, 2013 – deadline for submissions

■ November 20, 2013 – evening launch event in New York

■ November 21, 2013 – publication of the report in the FT global publication and online at FT.com


■ This year there will be no online application forms, so firms are only required to submit electronic documents. Electronic copies of all submissions must be emailed to ftresearch@rsgconsulting.com. Please label documents clearly with the name of the submitting organisation, title of submission and category to which the submission is being made.

■ Attachments and additional material should be (to a maximum 20Mb) clearly labelled with the name of the submitting organisation, title of submission and the category to which the submission relates, or posted to RSG Consulting, 103 Sclater Street, London, E1 6HR, 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.

■An overview of the project and an online version of the 2012 report, can be found at www.ft.com/usil

Rules for submitting

Time period: the 2013 ranking will assess innovations from 1 January 2011.

■ Innovations must have taken place in the US or have been led from a US office. All law firms active in the US, regardless of country of origin, are eligible to send submissions to FT Innovative Lawyers 2013.

■ 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.

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

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

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?

3. Rationale: Why was this specific approach taken? What was the 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. Referees: 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

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.

■ Submissions 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.

■ All submissions are assessed by specialist legal research company RSG Consulting, which uses a process of interviews with clients, submitting lawyers and experts. The submissions are then scored against a bespoke ranking methodology, devised 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.

■ The FT Law 25 ranking of the most innovative US law firms will be based on the same methodology used in 2012. All submitting law firms are ranked by the total score for all entries ranked in the 2013 US report.

Conditions of entry

■ There is no fee for entering submissions to FT Innovative Lawyers 2013.

■ 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 2013 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 any member of the RSG Consulting research team on +44 (0)20 7033 9898, ftresearch@rsgconsulting.com

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

■ For advertising opportunities or other research sponsorship opportunities please contact John Toth, Senior Account Director at the FT, on 917 551 5042, john.toth@ft.com

Get alerts on Special Report when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article