(L-R) Awards host Andrew Ryan; Elaine Brett, IT customer services lead, Yvonne Garricks, head of learning and development, Sarah Beeby, partner, Virginia Glastonbury, partner, Dentons; Louise Byron-Sinclair, marketing manager, Forensic Risk Alliance
Finalists: Conyers Dill & Pearman; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (joint highly commended); Litwak & Partners; Magnusson; Paul Hastings; Squire Patton Boggs (joint highly commended).
Dentons attained the international law firm innovation title for its efforts to build the world’s largest free-to-use lawyer referral programme, Nextlaw Global Referral Network.
Dentons’ model disrupts the traditional ‘pay-to-play’ legal referral industry by ditching membership fees and allowing multiple firms from the same jurisdiction to participate, benefiting smaller firms that are typically priced out of other referral networks and increasing the chance of connecting clients with the best lawyers for the job. The network has so far attracted more than 400 member firms in 175 countries, giving clients access to more than 21,000 lawyers.
Dentons’ partners (and soon other members) vet prospective firms based on client feedback, independent rankings, awards and accolades, and practice or sector specialisms. The network has already helped Dentons secure cross-border work for UPS Capital owing to its ability to provide comprehensive, geographically-pertinent expertise through 12 Dentons offices and 14 network firms, all linked together by Dentons’ project management technology.
The firm next plans to launch a separate, cross-functional public affairs network, giving clients access to companies and organisations that help influence government policy.
“An innovative way of approaching building a network, treating firms as collaborative partners in serving clients,” one judge commented.
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