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Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers 2017: Innovative In-house Legal Teams

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Legal team headquarters
Number of Lawyers (Asia-Pacific)
Total score
StandoutWestpacAustralia15035The in-house legal team’s internal transformation office and its technology and digital team are helping to radically redesign how the group operates and how its lawyers work. They are experimenting with automation tools, artificial intelligence and chatbots, and helping the business to “self-serve” more routine legal requests. Supporting the changes are a range of cultural and human resources initiatives, including hiring and training people skilled in both law and technology.
StandoutING (Asia-Pacific legal team)Singapore3033A re-energised Asia-Pacific legal team has changed its organisational structure, technology and culture to become more open, collaborative and agile. It is launching an offshore legal centre, piloting uses of artificial intelligence, and has created a network to promote innovation in the industry.
StandoutDBS BankSingapore8032With an ambition to make legal and compliance enjoyable, the team has focused on improving customer experience for the bank. It has simplified procedures, contract templates and compliance documents and is experimenting with a natural language processing tool to reduce dramatically the time needed to turn round legal documents.
StandoutLazadaSingapore3032The ecommerce company brings the business’s technology-focused, start-up mentality to its young and lean legal team. It looks at what can be automated, improved with technology or outsourced for greatest efficiency.
Highly CommendedBoralAustralia1131To support the construction company’s transformation over the past five years, the legal team has increased its influence and standing with regulators, and redesigned legal processes. It has led on the introduction of new technologies, which will be shared with other areas of the business.
Highly CommendedGlobal Infrastructure HubAustralia231Lawyers are guiding the organisation established by the G20 to fulfil an ambitious set of mandates to promote greater infrastructure development and private sector investment in projects. They have created new reports and tools, including one to help governments and private investors manage risk allocation.
Highly CommendedJapan Tobacco InternationalJapan2031A cultural change programme has helped lawyers think like entrepreneurs and business professionals. Putting these skills into practice, lawyers designed a product that is scheduled to launch soon. The legal team also ran a two-day summit with outside law firms to help improve relationships, understanding and quality of work.
Highly CommendedSequoia Capital IndiaIndia331A document management system and other technologies introduced by the legal team are changing the way the venture capital firm manages its portfolio companies in India. The systems provide a valuable new stream of data on business trends, issues, regulatory compliance and risks.
Highly CommendedCitibank, IndiaIndia3630Under a new general counsel, the legal team has established a global legal services hub for the bank in India. Lawyers have led initiatives to encourage women into leadership positions and placed a new focus on equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
Highly CommendedIAGAustralia3630Used design thinking workshops to build customer empathy and develop ideas to become more customer-focused as a legal team. Lawyers now help develop business plans and are pursuing a strategy to litigate claims as a plaintiff and recover money for the insurer.
CommendedInpex Corp (Japanese legal team)Japan829A specialised and highly skilled legal team was recruited in Japan, allowing the business to bring most transactional work in-house and save up to 45 per cent on external legal fees a year. Flexible hours and attractive parental leave have helped attract new talent.
CommendedSK Engineering & Construction (international legal team)Korea1229Internationally trained lawyers often play the role of translator and communicator to facilitate foreign projects for the Korean construction company. Their analyses of bilateral international treaties and legal risks are helping the business pursue a new model of making long-term equity investments in projects.
CommendedTakeda Pharmaceuticals Asia PacificSingapore429The Asia-Pacific legal team was restructured to support the business as it focused on oncology products in the region. Developed a new competency framework and a programme of virtual assignments, helping lawyers build broader and more rewarding careers.
CommendedUnileverSingapore1329A 13-lawyer global supply chain and procurement team, led from Singapore, has created a visual contracting approach. Redesigned and standardised templates have improved compliance and reduced contract cycle times, allowing contracts to be managed and created without lawyers.
CommendedBarclays Securities JapanJapan1228Through a new approach to people management, the legal team has been transformed into the most motivated business team within the bank's Japan office. Lawyers are now highly committed and given opportunities to lead and to develop a range of skills.
CommendedBouygues Construction, AsiaHong Kong728Built a team of lawyers whose advice spans infrastructure, construction and entertainment in 17 countries. Corporate culture has changed to ensure lawyers are seen as important strategic advisers to the business.
CommendedTransUnion CibilIndia428The Indian legal team has played an industry-leading role driving local legislative changes. New litigation strategies ensure disputes are resolved more quickly and are removed from the courts to be arbitrated.
CommendedVector LimitedNew Zealand728A new legal team structure has facilitated greater collaboration and broadened lawyers' expertise in this fast changing industry. It is managing a range of regulatory issues to help the energy company move into new business areas including smart metering, communications, and solar and battery technology.
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