Eight smaller law firms that overtake the biggest rivals in Europe


Sustainable development
The company released its first sustainability report in May, anticipating any regulatory requirements to do so in Ukraine. It includes a recording of how the company operates its own business and contributes to the community through volunteer work, and how it advises its clients on integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards into investments and operations. The firm’s chief innovation officer, Kristina Dziadevych, pushes practitioners to work in new ways. These include the introduction of legal design principles to make due diligence reports more user-friendly and the launch of an alternative legal services team that has developed new solutions, such as a case management tool for disputes.

Antas da Cunha Ecija & Associados

Intelligent know-how

Under the leadership of partner Nuno da Silva Vieira, the firm has created a legal intelligence service that experiments with offering technological solutions to the challenges facing lawyers. Projects include: exploring smart contracts, where blockchain technology automatically fulfills obligations; a legal augmented intelligence program with technology company IBM; and a knowledge management application that standardizes the firm’s knowledge, thus facilitating the training of junior lawyers.


Lean designers
Helsinki is regarded as the global center of the legal design movement, and Dottir is one of the law firms at the forefront of integrating design principles into legal practice. Focus on the user is a central strategic principle of the company. He used Lean Working Principles, whereby lawyers work iteratively with their clients to achieve a legal solution faster than they otherwise would, building and improving as they go. They also work from user-friendly and accessible documents. This model is particularly effective for start-up finance jobs, and the company manages about half of all start-up financing rounds in Finland.


Digital movers
Ellex lawyers have seen the benefits of digital thinking in their practice, from using technology to simplify case management, to communicating with clients through social media for a class action lawsuit. Partner Ants Nõmper led a comprehensive response to the challenges that arose from the pandemic, such as advising the Estonian government on policies to promote vaccination and helping to compile guidelines on the distribution of medical resources. Digital expertise has proven invaluable, with Ellex lawyers drafting terms of use for an occupational health provider’s app, helping a medical center set up a digital clinic to host appointments you remotely and helping health technology start-up Certificates launch an application process for national digital. immunity passports.

Goksu Safi Isik

Construction platforms

As a specialist in large complex projects for clients such as Istanbul Airport, Goksu Safi Isik has identified an advantage in using digital platforms to manage cases. The firm has a separate tech company called Newmind that has worked closely with lawyers to create a tech platform called Mecellum. This uses artificial intelligence and automation to help with project management, due diligence, and document writing. In addition to developing new products, the additional expertise attracted more talent to the firm and helped it find a niche in Turkish-language AI development for legal technologies.

LCA Legal Studio

Design at the heart
Partner and serial innovator Marco Imperiale led the creation of a legal design practice within the firm, providing training to clients as well as advice on projects, such as creating privacy policies and others. more user-friendly documents. LCA’s innovation team is experimenting with technological tools such as natural language processing for document searches and blockchain for intellectual property protection applications.

LGN Legal

Network shops
After launching NGL Legal in 2018, rather than trying to grow the firm in the traditional way – through new hires and acquisitions – Managing Partner Krzysztof Wiater founded NGL Symbio: a partnership between six independent law firms in Europe central and eastern. This alliance spans 50 jurisdictions and communications are shared between firms, allowing clients to go where resources and expertise are, and allowing firms to collaborate when needed. Companies in the network lead joint working groups for practices such as banking and finance and special topics such as cannabis law.


Focus on the market
Under the leadership of Managing Partner Morten Goller, the firm has restructured its practice groups by market sector rather than legal practice expertise. Lawyers are trained in mapping legal processes and using the agile methodology to innovate faster on projects, for example by creating a new contract automation tool in collaboration with media client Schibsted. The business development and client development functions have been extended to help the firm build deeper relationships with its clients.

About Marjorie C. Hudson

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