British Legal Awards 2017 Legal Services Innovation Award: Eversheds Sutherland

(L-R) Eversheds Sutherland principal associate Ben McLeod, partner Charlotte Walker-Osborn and co-CEO Lee Ranson, with Anthony Parker, group director international events at ALM

Finalists: Dentons (highly commended); DLA Piper; Hugh James; Invicta Law; LOD; My Home Move; North East Solicitor Apprenticeships (highly commended).

Eversheds Sutherland took home the legal services innovation award for its startup support initiative Eversheds Disrupt, the concept of London-based trainee Jocey Nelson – part of Evershed’s firm-wide innovation contest aimed at engaging staff who are not usually involved in the innovation process.

The Disrupt project recognises that lawyers need to better adapt their advice to business startups rather than treat them like an established company, by aping their structure and mindset and providing that advice in a style and language that is more appropriate.

Even though she was only part way through her training contract, Nelson was asked to put her vision into practice and lead the project team as the firm developed the idea into a marketable product. The result is a legal companion for startups that offers key contracts and support that startups would likely need in their early stages, and is already being used by clients including Smartify, Motion Nutrition and Mama.Codes.

“We chose ES/Disrupt because of the combination of Eversheds Sutherland’s expertise, global footprint and dedicated attention to understanding the nature of our business. ES/Disrupt provides the right tools, support and agility required by growing startups,” said Thanos Kokkiniotis, Smartify founder and CEO.