The Most Innovative US Law Firms in 2010

table of leading law firms4 The Most Innovative US Law Firms in 2010

The above table shows the top ten US law firms in the 2010 FT report. The ranking was determined by the overall performance of each law firm in the inaugural US report (rather than it being a formal index of innovative US law firms).

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom was the most innovative law firm in the 2010 report, with work that topped the Financial Services, M&A and Automotive sections. The firm was also featured for its restructuring work and for a responsible business project.  Its excellent performance across all categories of the report was recognised at the launch event in New York on the 30th of November. The firm’s lawyers were praised in our client research for their creativity, relentless drive and for providing strategic business counsel. There was also an appreciation for being able to muster significant resources when needed.

However, size is not a predicator of innovative performance.  Davis Polk, with only a third the number of lawyers and partners as Skadden scored second place with stand-out rankings for its restructuring work with Ford, work to strengthen Citigroup’s capital rations and defending Siemens against an FCPA investigation.  Their ability to seamlessly combine critical business advice with expert legal counsel was common praise from the firm’s clients.

Paul Weiss, Mayer Brown and Latham & Watkins were this year’s most consistent performers, each with seven entries in the report. Paul Weiss was dominant in litigation submitting powerful examples of its work, where the lawyers had gone above and beyond the demands of their clients. Their work included securing a major victory for the Alaskan government, and high profile settlements with the SEC for Citigroup and Bank of America. Mayer Brown was praised for its ability to deploy finance expertise in unusual situations to deliver for clients.

Latham & Watkins’ most innovative work featured a heavily scientific and technological slant, enabling it to score wins in medical patent and pollution cases, as well as crafting new forms of  biotech alliances and project financing. Their ability to bring colour and imagination to the way in which they conducted litigation cases was notable. DLA Piper’s position in the list was down to its novel and far-ranging pro bono work and responsible business projects.

While the focus this year has been on innovative legal advice for clients, we plan to expand the report next year to examine how law firms are innovating as businesses. If you have any questions about this year’s report or how to get involved next year, please contact us.

*The firms are ranked based on the same weighted scores we use for the European FT Law 50 ranking: 4 for stand out entries, 2 for highly commended and 1 for commended. Tied firms are split according to which has the highest score for all entries submitted.