Last night in Hong Kong, MinterEllison won the coveted award for Innovation in Strategy & Changing Behaviours at the Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers Awards 2017, and was joint winner of the award for Innovation in Enabling Business Growth.
The firm was also ranked second in the top 10 most innovative law firms in Australia and third amongst the top 25 Asia-Pacific headquartered firms.
The FT Awards recognise and celebrate innovation from lawyers working in law firms and in-house at companies across the Asia Pacific region – innovation in the business of law and innovation in legal work.
Commenting on the firm's success, Chief Executive Tony Harrington said it was an outstanding achievement in only the second time MinterEllison has entered the FT Awards.
"We're thrilled to have been recognised with two pinnacle innovation awards and to have been ranked second in Australia and third in the Asia Pacific for driving innovation across the firm.
"At MinterEllison we're passionate about embedding innovation into our DNA to ensure we deliver the most innovative solutions to our clients. We have a clear goal – to be our clients’ best partner by putting our clients at the centre of everything we do.
"The FT innovation awards and commendations we have received clearly demonstrate that our innovation agenda is on the right track and working," Mr Harrington said.
The Innovation in Strategy & Changing Behaviours award was won for Empower, a leading-edge program to bring about cultural change by embedding innovation in mindset, behaviour and activity.
MinterEllison's Chief Experience Office, Fiona Glendinning is driving the delivery of the program.
She said Empower is designed to challenge a person's natural inclination to revert to traditional approaches – "this is the way we do it" – and instead drives activity that results in enhanced experiences for both clients and MinterEllison partners and staff.
"Innovation strategies only succeed if accompanied by the mindset and behavioural changes needed to ensure that innovative practices, tools, technologies and solutions are adopted," Ms Glendinning said. "Lawyers will deliver the most value if they seek opportunities to redesign their work practices with the client experience at the core, not just with a focus on the delivery of great technical advice. Empower provides a roadmap to do this."
Mr Harrington said Empower had brought a huge buzz and energy to the firm. “It's an important and critical innovation at all levels and one that will support us in meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing market. It also provides the bedrock for our other innovation programs to be successful."
The Innovation in Expanding Clients' Business award was the firm's “standout” work clearing the Toll Marine Logistics / Sea Swift merger opposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Securing competition clearance for the merger, which raised complex and unique competition issues, required a creative solution. The unusual and innovative process known as ‘merger authorisation’ – a statutory mechanism rarely used to secure competition clearance for a transaction – was pursued and ultimately resulted in a successful and strategically pivotal outcome for both parties in the merger.
A MinterEllison's Regulatory team, led by partner Geoff Carter, advised Toll Marine Logistics in the matter.
MinterEllison also received two commendations:
- Highly Commended in the category Business of Law: Knowledge, Data & Intelligence for the development of ME Taskflow, the innovative matter management product
- Commended for its work representing the ATO on the Chevron transfer pricing case – a matter led by partner Chris Kinsella – in the category Legal Expertise: Dispute Resolution.
Winners at the FT Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers Awards were selected from more than 400 individual submissions from 68 different law firms.