Leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills was crowned winner of two awards at the Financial Times (FT) Innovative Lawyers Awards Europe 2022.
The firm won the "Practice of Law: Managing Complexity" award for its work advising National Grid on its acquisition of Western Power Distribution, the UK's largest electricity network operator, for an equity value of £7.8 billion. The FT highlighted the firm's role in helping to keep the acquisition target separate from the utility group for a period after the deal was struck in 2021, allowing it to proceed without prior regulatory clearance to increase the competitiveness of the bid. The team was led by corporate M&A partners Caroline Rae and Bob Moore, and senior associate Charles Steward.
Disputes partner Alexander Oddy won "Innovative Practitioner" at the awards in recognition of his work to – as cited by the FT – 'unlock valuable insights'. Alexander co-leads HSF's global data strategy and is responsible for the creation and delivery of a host of HSF innovations, including the firm’s English law Legal Privilege app, a free tool to help clients decide if a document is legally privileged by guiding them through a questionnaire, and the firm's Decision Analysis service – described as a ‘standout innovation’ by the FT – to help clients build decision tree models and make strategic choices in disputes.
Herbert Smith Freehills was also awarded ‘Standout’ (runner-up) in the "People Management" category for the firm's employee engagement project that seeks to redefine its employee value proposition, and clearly and compellingly articulate the firm's culture and working experience.
CEO Justin D’Agostino said:
"We are delighted to have won these awards. They speak volumes of our work in approaching clients' most pressing business needs with high levels of creativity, deep knowledge and strong digital literacy and skills. We want to thank all our people who continuously give their best in delivering for our business and our clients."
The firm was also shortlisted for "Most Innovative Law Firm in Europe" and for "Designing the Client Experience" for its work developing and releasing the Legal Privilege app.
The FT Innovative Lawyers Awards Europe 2022 is a rankings report and awards for lawyers based in Europe, which are determined through a unique methodology developed by the FT and its research partner, RSGi, to rank lawyers on innovation. The report and award highlight the firms and in-house teams who are digitally advanced and using innovative approaches to deliver exceptional value to business and society. The report also profiles outstanding leaders and individuals who are bringing innovation to the practice of law.