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Herbert Smith Freehills has been recognised in four categories for its innovative approaches to law and business as part of the FT Innovative Lawyers Europe 2019.

The firm rose 22 places in the overall rankings from 37th in 2018 to 14th this year and achieved commendations for five projects.

New Business and Service Delivery Models

  • The firm was highly commended for its work with offshore oil industry contractor Single Buoy Moorings on a massively complex case involving more than 40 insurers and five other law firms. The team successfully deployed a new service – Decision Analysis – to help the client navigate the risks and strategy with greater insights and more confidence. The FT commented that this service helps company boards "make better decisions". 
  • The firm's market-leading Legal Operations team was commended for "helping in-house legal departments to rethink how they work and enhance the value they deliver to business". The feedback from clients and industry contacts showed that Herbert Smith Freehills is one of the first movers among law firms to offer legal operations services and that many are impressed by how small simple changes can have a huge impact on matter efficiency and profitability.

Rule of law and access to justice

  • A Herbert Smith Freehills team, led by partner Rudolph du Plessis and senior associate Rebecca Perlman, was commended for its work with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in relation to the MADE51 global consumer goods platform. The platform provides refugee artisans (producing pottery, art, crafts and clothing) with access to markets in the West where their goods are in demand, enabling refugees to earn a living in the countries in which they find themselves displaced. The FT noted, "In Tanzania alone, one US company has placed an order worth US$50,000."

New products and services

  • With a growing number of cyber-attacks each year, data breaches are one of the biggest concerns facing businesses today. Head of the firm's global cyber security practice, Andrew Moir, and team were commended for developing data breach software to automatically determine what personal information data breaches contain, and whether there are notification requirements. The FT said that using the software could save US$200,000 on a medium-sized breach.

Creating a new standard

  • The firm's pro bono team, led by partner Dan Hudson and senior associates Oliver Elgie and Rebecca Perlman, was commended for its work with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children on the development of its proposals to keep children safe online. According to the FT, the proposal "has been adopted in large parts by the UK government."
This year, the FT received 750 submissions and nominations from 163 law firms, legal service providers and other organisations and 47 in-house legal teams.

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Lydia Lam

Lydia Lam, Head of Communications, UK, US & EMEA