While stability is an important characteristic for any law firm, it’s all too easy to let stability turn into stagnation. As the legal sector continues to evolve, innovation has become indispensable to ensuring growth, profitability, and most importantly, client satisfaction.

But what does innovation look like in a profession that dates back centuries? Across Europe, there are firms revolutionising the sector in many different ways. Here are just a few:

VanDoorne: Changing the face of social entrepreneurship

A lot of start-ups are looking past the traditional models in favour of one that centres on social, cultural, or environmental issues. The number of social entrepreneurship initiatives has grown immensely over the past few years, due in part to the increased importance on businesses tackling the problems of society from a professional standpoint.

Dutch law firm, VanDoorne, recognises the importance of this innovative approach to business and has been blazing trails in this area for some time. The firm founded and is an active partner of the Utrecht University Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, a research centre specialising in social entrepreneurship. The VanDoorne Social Entrepreneurship team draws expertise from across sectors, developing inventive constructions and exploring new markets, such as when it recently assisted in setting up Social Impact Ventures, a hands-on impact investment partner, providing Dutch social enterprises with financial resources and active support.

Garrigues: Putting technology at the forefront

Technology is constantly evolving, and the legal sector is no different. Spanish law firm, Garrigues has partnered with Spain Startup, the organiser of South Summit to launch a project to promote new initiatives in the LegalTech field. The project will look at the identification of the main research projects conducted each year at Spanish and international universities, and the promotion of small early-stage start-ups. The unique part about this specific initiative is that all entries will involve combining legal activity with technology and developing automation and robotisation.

Garrigues is a leader in funding LegalTech in Spain. Previously, the firm committed to the development of a project using robots to manage documents relating to legal services provided to companies. In partnership with IIC, the firm is introducing a new platform called Proces@ that enables faster and completely reliable management and analysis of the legal documentation it receives and analyses every day. This is a first for the region, as Proces@ is the first time that such a system has been implemented in Spain in the Spanish language.

Shepherd and Wedderburn: The future of funded litigation

Funded disputes, or litigation funding, have become a prominent feature of the litigation landscape. Recently, Shepherd and Wedderburn announced that it has secured an innovative portfolio-based litigation finance arrangement from Burford Capital. The funded disputes portfolio is the first of its kind to be offered by a top 100 UK law firm and major funder.

This multi-million pound undertaking provides flexible capital that Shepherd and Wedderburn can use to expand its ability to offer alternative fee arrangements to clients and grow the firm’s reach in commercial litigation and arbitration. Similar portfolio arrangements have proved increasingly attractive to US law firms, including those practising in the UK. They enable clients to reduce their risk exposure or bring disputes where they might not otherwise have had the cash flow to do so, effectively turning litigation into an asset. This provides a competitive advantage in attracting new business and Shepherd and Wedderburn now leads the way for UK law firms in embracing the advantages of litigation funding.

Wardyński & Partners: Moving public procurement law forward in Poland

Public procurement serves an important purpose, regulating the purchasing by public sector bodies and certain utility sector bodies of contracts for goods, works or services.

As the sector evolves it becomes more important to ensure that the foundation of knowledge in any given are is strong. That’s why Wardyński & Partners, a leading Polish law firm, co-founded the Public Procurement Law Association. The purpose of the association is to drive innovation in procurement law, sharing and spreading knowledge about the entire field, including public-private partnerships and public concessions. The association allows its members to draw from the best international practices, promoting principles of professional ethics among those involved in this field of law. The association will also serve as a platform for active participation by the legal community in public debate on the public procurement system and how procurement regulations are applied in practice. The experience of its members will allow the association to develop solutions advantageous for everyone involved in the public procurement market in Poland.