The personable Scot helped to make Pinsent Masons into a multidisciplinary firm spanning legal tech and professional services. His revolution was behind the scenes but no less influential in an industry that is still struggling to adopt such changes more widely.
Joint winner Anna Babych has been on a mission to improve corporate governance in Ukraine. She helped draft a new law on limited and additional liability companies, which was adopted by parliament in February 2018. Ms Babych is the only female head of an M&A and corporate and commercial practice in Ukraine, building it from scratch at the newly established Aequo in 2014. She was also the first Ukrainian lawyer to qualify as a non-practising solicitor in England and Wales, and uses her qualifications to bring best practice to the Ukrainian legal and legal education systems.
Ms Babych sits on several law school and charitable boards, and launched the Aequo legal tech challenge, which provides seed funding to start-ups.
Joint winner Charlie Bibby
As a board member, he has advised on investment strategies to improve the firm’s relevance to clients and build long-term sustainability. Mr Morrison has pushed his firm to modernise, by forming innovative collaborations with clients and third-party providers. He has led several large initiatives, including the firm’s pioneering full-service “sole supplier” deals with Balfour Beatty and Eon UK. More recently, Mr Morrison has managed the firm’s push into ancillary advisory services, with the launch of freelance lawyer business Vario and acquisition of diversity and inclusion consultancy Brook Graham, as well as developing SmartDelivery, the firm’s suite of advanced delivery options.
Lastly, he recognises the power of creating an inclusive firm that celebrates diversity. Sharon Daly has led several strategic transformation initiatives at the firm over the past 25 years. As a disputes lawyer, she has set out to change perceptions that the role of litigators is supportive rather than strategic. Intent on revolutionising how the firm provides services, Ms Daly initiated Matheson’s digital transformation strategy, introducing an ediscovery platform for one of the biggest discovery cases at the time in 2009.
With Anthesis, a global sustainability consultancy, Mr Davies helped develop RiskHorizon, a digital artificial intelligence and risk analysis platform to help investors model ESG risks for transactional due diligence. With the US-based non-profit Environmental Law Institute and China’s Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy, Mr Davies launched the China International Business Dialogue on Environmental Governance, as a forum to promote dialogue between multinationals and Chinese policymakers and regulators. He was the first person at his firm to take on the combined role of fee-earner and technology strategy lead. The combined role has been extended to other practice areas.
Mr Kirby also runs the property arm of MDR Lab, the firm’s legal tech start-up incubator, and has built several technology products to automate tasks involved in property transactions. In 2017, Mr Kirby helped build a Land Registry data-feed application called Solaris, and Mischon Maps, which provides a geospatial view of internal and client data on a map. With managing partner Ed Turner, he engaged all staff in defining the firm’s identity and purpose, and put that at the centre of its commercial strategy. Along with radical moves, such as dropping clients that did not align with the firm’s purpose, Mr Meyer has led the development of programmes that focus on innovative and entrepreneurial people.
With that he has helped bring substantial revenue increases to the firm. In 2018, he launched Taylor Vinters’ Zebra Project, which brings together board members of purpose-led businesses to discuss the future of work, ethics, diversity and employment structures. A trained executive coach, Mr Meyer supports lawyers, managing partners and senior in-house lawyers internationally to develop purpose-driven strategies. Mr Meyer is a qualified pilot and lectures on a European MBA course on applying flight-deck safety procedures to the boardroom.
Maeve O’Rourke campaigns for justice for those affected over decades by Ireland’s mother-and-baby homes, including the indefinite detention of girls and women in institutions such as the Magdalene Laundries, and the forced adoption system. In 2010, while taking her master of laws degree at Harvard, Ms O’Rourke began working for advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes. She represented it at the UN Convention against Torture in 2011 and helped establish the facts of the state’s involvement with the Magdalene Laundries. In 2013, the state offered an apology and agreed to a €58m ex gratia redress scheme.
The Clann Project provided survivors with free legal assistance to give them the opportunity to tell their stories. The witness statements can be kept by the survivors as records and made available publicly with witnesses’ consent. As head of the firm’s IT practice since 2012, Mr Touriño has expanded the team fourfold and supported the development of services such as Data Forecast, a data privacy prediction tool for legal proceedings, and Anticitera, a document automation tool. Initiatives led by Mr Touriño include Ecija’s global diversity programme and a partnership with communications consultancy Prodigioso Volcán to produce plain-language contracts for the financial sector.
Having started as a securities lawyer in New York, Tara Waters became a web developer for brands such as Hearst Media and Showtime Networks. She joined Ashurst as a senior associate in 2014 and was made partner in 2018. She is the firm’s expert on distributed ledger technology. Richard West seeks to enable his firm’s clients to “use lawyers less” through several new process and product development initiatives.
In the past five years, a swath of new instructions have helped lift the firm’s profits by more than 30 per cent. As head of the firm’s innovations group, Mr West led on the development and global implementation of KLAiM, an online claims tool that serves as a virtual lawyer for clients. He also established a dedicated research and development group charged with product development. Mr West leads the firm’s liability division, with expertise in catastrophic injury claims, ranging from complex liability to brain and psychiatric injury.
He has acted on numerous multimillion-pound claims for clients, all the while pursuing the goal of making the firm’s service offerings “de-lawyer by design”.
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