Listen to this article
The Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers report enters its second year in 2015. Having long been part of the legal landscape in Europe and North America, this report is now well on the way to establishing itself as a trusted guide to the profession in Asia-Pacific.
The report aims to highlight those law firms, both international and based in the region, that have developed the most original practices to enable them to meet the needs of their clients in this complex and dynamic part of the world.
The report, compiled in collaboration with the FT’s research partner RSG Consulting, presents our unique rankings, based on a robust methodology. This year, as the concept of innovative lawyers becomes more established in the region, nearly every top international and “local” law firm submitted entries.
In all, we received nearly 500 submissions. RSG Consulting conducted interviews and received feedback from more than 300 clients, senior lawyers and executives to help us arrive at our final rankings.
The Asia-Pacific region’s economy is still growing rapidly in spite of the slowdown in China. The prospect of new business, much of it cross-border, continues to draw the attention of law firms from around the world. However, business conditions can be tough. In the region’s emerging markets, clients do not always see the value of sophisticated legal advice. That puts extra pressure on fees.
For other reasons, too, Asia remains a complicated place in which to do business. The various countries have different legal and cultural norms and diverse levels of development. Capital markets still have a way to go and Asian companies often find themselves in relatively unexplored territory.
The rankings of international law firms show considerable volatility, reflecting the still-fluid nature of the Asia-Pacific legal market. US-origin law firms have displaced UK firms in the top three spots, while local law firms show less fluctuation. Still, they are innovating too. Some are exploring link-ups with firms from outside the region.
From China to India and from Australia to Japan, few law firms are prospering by standing still.