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Most innovative law firms in Corporate Strategy 2012

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AxiomStand-outBusiness model89825The first business to offer a real alternative to the law firm model, it is now moving up the value chain. A radically streamlined cost structure means that Axiom can help clients in turn manage their costs by offering lawyers at half the rates of law firms.
EvershedsStand-outPeople strategy78823A robust approach has ensured it top results in the diversity, social responsibility and cultural stakes. It has achieved some market firsts such as Eversheds Unlocked and Trusted Networks.
Portolano Cavallo Studio LegaleStand-outBranding87621A new approach to developing its brand through the use of Lovemarks, which are intended to foster an emotional dimension to client loyalty.
AshurstHighly CommendedThe new Silk Road68620A powerful punch to realise its strategy in emerging markets, the firm invented 'The New Silk Road', a forum which brings together key players in these jurisdictions and gives the firm a voice in their political and economic conversations.
CMSHighly CommendedPeople strategy67720A concerted series of initiatives that ties the firm's approach to talent development into its business strategy with clients.
Freshfields Bruckhaus DeringerHighly CommendedBranding through event sponsorship57820Partnering with London 2012 Olympics, the firm's brand has been significantly enhanced with its staff and with its clients. The sponsorship programme involved the firm in over four years of legal work, which gave it an integral role in the games and the city.
Houthoff BurumaHighly CommendedEngaging talent77620The firm invented 'The Game', which seeks to select the best graduates through getting them to participate in the virtual simulation of a deal. It is a novel approach to engaging and developing talent, and has won awards from gaming sites.
ISFIN: Islamic Finance Lawyers NetworkHighly CommendedInternational network78520The creation of a new network of Islamic Finance Lawyers, ISFIN, exploits the growing demand for Sharia-compliant products worldwide.
Taylor WessingHighly CommendedBranding57820The firm's re-branding exercise empowered the creation of an industry-focused strategy which enabled it to achieve double-digit growth in a slow market.
Tuca Zbarcea & AsociatiiHighly CommendedStrategic alliance77620The firm formed a strategic alliance with Grayling, the public affairs firm, to create a new market for itself and a new offering for clients.
Addleshaw GoddardHighly CommendedNew pricing model66719The firm has devised a new and uniquely comprehensive approach to its pricing, which shows impressive learning from other industries and offers options to suit all clients. There are two prongs to the strategy: the firm has instituted an organisation-wide pricing group, run by its CFO which centralises the decision making and aligns it to the firm's strategy; and it has also entered into a research programme with Cranfield School of Management to ensure its options are original and effective.
AxiomHighly CommendedManaged contract services67619Adding to its offering with an outsourcing vertical to achieve huge efficiencies for clients. The MCS business helps in-house legal teams manage their work better and cut costs.
DLA PiperHighly CommendedBusiness skills training57719The firm's F&P Academy offers an experiential, EMEA-wide programme. Lawyers work in cross-border teams, acting as either borrowers or lenders in a simulated transaction over a period of eight weeks. In a market where lawyers have to be more commercial than the usual legal training allows, the DLA programme is getting them there faster.
Gómez-Acebo & PomboHighly CommendedInternational strategy58619A bold strategy, which takes the firm from a slow start into new markets. It shows evidence of good diagnosis, a guiding policy and coherent actions – the hallmarks of good strategy.
NoerrHighly CommendedCorporate culture67619A systematic and integrative approach to the firm's core values has been designed to develop the firm's culture into the 21st century and to enhance its attraction for young lawyers as a place to work.
AshurstCommendedGender equality66618A series of bold moves to introduce targets for women partners underlines the firm's commitment to tackle the gender inequality in the profession. It has set itself an aspirational target to have 25 per cent of its management positions filled by women by 2014. Currently, 14 per cent are filled by women.
Baker McKenzieCommendedBusiness skills training57618In a response to increased competition in the legal market, the firm has developed a 'Pitching to Win Masterclass' programme which recognises that pitching is increasingly a central business activity for lawyers.
CMSCommendedInternational strategy66618Consolidating its European footprint through achievement of its Swiss Verein approach to expansion, CMS is now reporting its financial results together and has made strides to increase integrative working practices.
Freshfields Bruckhaus DeringerCommendedThought leadership56718A suite of unique global campaigns that address client needs with a mix of insights and tools. They include topics such as the Eurozone crisis, bribery legislation and crisis management.
LinklatersCommendedThought leadership57618The firm's report on how health companies could innovate enhanced the firm's role as a key adviser to the industry. In a sector that is not generally comfortable with innovation, the firm's approach to help its clients innovate is commendable.
Matheson Ormsby PrenticeCommendedDifferentiation strategy56718A genuine differentiation strategy, the firm is positioning itself as the lawyers of choice for international companies and financial institutions doing business in and through Ireland.
Mayer BrownCommendedStrategy tools57618The strategy team at Mayer Brown has devised a series of tools to give the firm's management team frameworks for formulating strategy. Notable is the Prioritising Investment Matrix (PIM), which gives focus to the firm's lateral hiring strategy.
Roxin RechtsanwälteCommendedWhite collar crime network77418The Roxin Alliance is the first to offer cross-border white-collar services to businesses, which is potentially very useful in markets where tracing assets and fraudsters is increasingly more global.
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