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WINNER: Clifford Chance

The first-ever Law Firm Management Team of the Year award was by definition a hotly contested, and much-debated, category. But it is Clifford Chance that scoops the top prize. While global head of business transformation Oliver Campbell’s team’s achievements may be less immediately eye-catching than some of its rivals’, they are no less critical. And in Clifford Chance’s case, they are on a similar, if not greater, scale. The firm’s continuous improvement team of three process-improvement experts and a lawyer focuses on efficiency, tailoring the techniques of ‘lean’ and ‘six sigma’, which were developed in the manufacturing industry, to analyse each step in a legal process and either simplify or improve it.

So far the team has trained about 500 people, including more than 250 lawyers that have attended a ‘lean matter management’ workshop, challenging them to reflect on the way the firm works and teaching tools to remove inefficiencies on their matters. As a result the firm has seen cumulative savings in the time recorded on relevant matters equivalent to more than £1m over the past year. Clients have also seen transactions complete up to 50 per cent faster and improvements in service quality. Clifford Chance has also collaborated with clients on continuous improvement projects, driving efficiencies across the value chain. For example, it recently worked with a bank to speed up the time it takes to complete certain transactions. Having implemented changes on both sides, the firm has seen a significant reduction in the average duration of these transactions.

About Taylor Root

Taylor Root is a global recruitment company who specialise in recruiting lawyers, paralegals, law firm Partners and compliance professionals. Established 25 years ago we are now widely recognised as the market leader in our sector and work with most UK and US law firms from Magic Circle to niche West End boutique firms. We recruit across the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Offshore as well as talent search for bespoke assignments across the US and beyond. Our reputation is built on the performance of specialist teams of recruiters, most of whom are themselves qualified legal professionals. We deliver bespoke, effective talent solutions.

2ND: Pinsent Masons

The 2012 merger of Pinsent Masons and McGrigors, which brought together more than 2,500 people and generated a turnover in excess of £300m, was announced on 6 February and went live only 12 weeks later. The firm’s business support professionals faced significant challenges to ensure that the newly merged business could operate as a single entity and ensure a seamless transition for clients. The ability to provide one bill to a client serviced by both legacy firms from day one meant close teamwork between finance and IT. Staff from across the business development, facilities, finance, HR, IT, knowledge, legal and risk functions worked together to ensure business-critical systems such as IT, billing, time recording, the Pinsent Masons website and numerous other elements were integrated effectively. The integration committee, led by managing partner David Ryan and independent consultant Beth Wallace, fully deserve their recognition as runner up in this category.

3RD: Norton Rose Fulbright

Few firms have achieved as much in recent years as Norton Rose Fulbright. Over the past three years it has transformed via a series of mergers, creating both a global platform for the provision of legal services and a never-ending series of headaches for its growing army of business support professionals. Ultimately, however, it is the global executive committee, led by chief executive Peter Martyr and comprising representatives from all of Norton Rose’s principal regions including Europe, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East, that has driven this impressive growth. The global executive committee is responsible for the formulation and implementation of Norton Rose’s strategy, the co-ordination and direction of the overall practice, and the governance of its corporate culture.