Gowling WLG has been shortlisted as one of the top 10 most innovative law firms in Europe by the Financial Times in its Innovative Lawyer Awards 2016. As well as this prestigious acknowledgment for the firm as a whole, they have also been shortlisted in a further three distinct categories. These are:
- Innovation in legal expertise: driving value for clients;
- Innovation in legal expertise: restructurings and reorganisations; and
- Innovation in business development and knowledge management.
In driving value for clients, the FT recognised the work the firm has done on global IP enforcement for client Dyson, specifically that relating to their patented bladeless fan. Gowling WLG's international reach made it perfectly placed to run a project across 51 territories through a network of overseas attorneys to identify and close down infringing products. Since 2012, the team has reduced the number of infringements by two thirds. By fixing fees and running the project from the UK, Gowling WLG offered a cost-effective solution that didn't compromise on expertise.
The nomination for restructurings and reorganisations relates to the trustees of the MIRA Retirement Benefits Scheme (MIRA has subsequently been acquired by Japanese firm Horiba). Gowling WLG advised on the £70 million buy out of the scheme to secure the best possible benefits for scheme members, including a voluntary sacrifice of the scheme's eligibility for the statutory lifeboat fund (the Pension Protection Fund) in order to secure the improved benefits, requiring a robust legal analysis and safety net to protect all parties' interests.
The third nomination relates to the firm's work in achieving digital excellence through the optimisation of digital fitness. The rebranded Digital Information and Legal Systematics team has taken knowledge management to new levels of digitisation and excellence, delivering a best in class approach to digitisation to form a model for the rest of the firm. All information is now available digitally and is optimised to be available to people at the point they need it, which has resulted in risk mitigation, wider access, lower cost and more space. Other initiatives include implementing digital productivity tools, leveraging open data and trailing AI and cognitive computing packages. The team is driving the firm's digital agenda and is measuring the digital fitness of each team and group to form a benchmark for future performance improvements.
Derek Southall, head of innovation and digital, said: "To have received three nominations in the FT Innovative Lawyer Awards is a real testament to the hard work our people put into innovation and digital. These areas are at the heart of our strategy and we are committed to making sure we are efficient and solutions-focused - and are at the forefront of meeting our client's needs in an increasingly digitised world."