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illustration for North America Innovative Lawyers 2014 special report

We started publishing the unique ranking of US law firms four years ago. Now, for the first time, we have broadened the report’s scope to include Canada and Mexico, reflecting the important role these economies play in global business.

The FT series of Innovative Lawyers reports is also extending its global reach. In June we published a first report and rankings for the Asia-Pacific region. And October saw the ninth annual European report.

These reports and rankings are meticulously researched. Law firms and in-house legal teams submit entries highlighting their most innovative work, then our research partner, RSG Consulting, conducts extensive assessments and interviews in order to apply a bespoke methodology that produces the rankings.

This year saw greater engagement than ever before. We received a record 448 submissions and nominations from more than 127 of the leading firms and in-house teams across North America. RSG interviewed and sought feedback from nearly 440 clients, experts and lawyers.

The picture that has emerged is of a profession in transition. The information revolution is changing the world. There are new applications of technology, such as driverless cars, new assaults on data security and privacy, and new forms of partnership. The law has yet to catch up with many of these developments, but lawyers are playing a vital role in bringing clarity to these issues – and at the same time rethinking their own industry to offer wider strategic perspectives.

The 2014 report shows fascinating signs of structural change as firms move to embrace big data, new technology and the potential for radical efficiencies, while engaging in intensive debate about how to add value for clients.

The stakes are high. What is on offer to firms that change through innovation is the chance to be in the vanguard of a transformation in the way we do business.

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