What makes an innovative law firm? There are perhaps any number of factors that can warrant a firm being so labelled, but for European law firm Garrigues, they have won the title three out of the past four years in the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers awards.
So what exactly are Garrigues, a Spanish law firm, doing that warrants the label?
And how can other law firms emulate their innovative success? The firm has excelled in different areas (see below) and as recognized by the FT awards also.
As The Lawyer reported recently, Garrigues has seen the firm through decades of expansion. In 2012/13 it reported turnover of €331.9m (£284.5m), a 1.7 per cent fall from the previous year. However the revenue figures still make it Europe’s biggest firm, with 1,594 fee-earners including 1,417 lawyers last year.
Last year Garrigues announced it was ditching its Latin American alliance in favour of opening its own offices across the continent. In September it bulked up in Peru with a four-partner hire in Lima.
Together with the award won, Garrigues obtained another four nominations: ‘Most Innovative Firm in Europe’, including UK firms; and another three nominations that recognize the excellence of the firm’s professional services.
In the ‘Dispute Resolution’ category, Garrigues was a finalist for developing a proprietary methodology for legally filing and managing, for the benefit of investment funds and other financial investors not resident in Spain (resident in the EU and even in third countries such as the United States), numerous refunds of taxes that were contrary to EU law, in both the administrative and judicial jurisdictions. Garrigues, in conjunction with the Taxand network, has taken this strategy to other European countries where the same issue is raised.
Under the ‘Finance’ heading, Garrigues was nominated for participating, together with one of Spain’s major financial institutions, in the first issue of contingent convertible bonds known as “CoCos” (Perpetual Preferred Tier 1 Securities), a novel product in the Spanish financial system that complies with the regulations laid down by the European Banking Authority and Basel III.
Lastly, in the area of ‘Social Responsibility’, the Financial Times acknowledged Garrigues’ work, together with Corporate Excellence, in implementing an original tool for identifying and monitoring emerging issues and problems that may constitute a source of risks and opportunities for companies in both the short and long term.