The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business, financial, economic and political dailies, has named Sorainen, the only pan-Baltic and Nordic law firm, among the 30 most innovative law firms in Europe. This is the first time that a pan-Baltic firm has received such a high accolade for innovation in the legal services sector.

Ranked alongside global market leaders

According to Sorainen’s Chief Operating Officer, Leda Iržikevičienė, being included in the list shows recognition for all the Baltic states, which continue to promote our region as a world leader in innovation. It also disproves the stereotype that the legal services market is rather conservative and perhaps less receptive to innovation than other sectors of the economy.

A total of 493 law firms were shortlisted for the FT Innovative Lawyers Europe 2021 ranking and were ranked based on criteria such as use of legal practice, business and operational management, data, technology and innovation. Nominees were also assesed on the extent to which they deliver exceptional value to business and the general public. RSGi, the FT’s research partner, looked at the performance of law firms between July and September, interviewing their clients, senior lawyers, managers and experts.

Audrius Milukas, partner at Open Circle Capital, a venture capital fund investing in ICT, robotics and high-tech companies, believes that innovation is an important criterion for companies when choosing their legal and tax advisors.

“It is important for us that our legal and tax advisors have expertise in these innovative business sectors and are also receptive to innovation at the cultural level of the organisation. This allows to ensure that they have a good understanding of our business and our target companies and can accordingly come up with flexible legal and tax solutions that can help Lithuanian start-ups grow even faster,” Milukas says.

From modern technology to employee well-being

The Financial Times picked us for our cutting-edge legal technology and automation solutions such as the Green Meadow Document Drafter, a contract automation tool – what was probably the first automated complex share purchase agreement in the region was drawn up with its help; xLaw, a knowledge management system; Nuix, a data analysis tool; Jarvis, an in-house practice management system; and other tools. We also run initiatives to support employee well-being, such as offering access to psychological counselling, helping to set up or improve home offices, and reducing working hours on Fridays during the summer just gone.

“Our analysis of the start-up market shows it is quite common for an idea for a start-up to be about automating or streamlining a certain process in order to make it more efficient. The legal market is also targeted by start-ups. They come up with solutions to make the work of lawyers more efficient, which could change the agenda, in the future and give them a competitive edge, as they would no longer need to do time-consuming manual work, and the resources saved can be used to provide high value-added advice to clients. Looking at the trends, we can expect to see an increasing number of innovations in this industry in Lithuania, both from start-ups and law firms committed to innovation,” Milukas says.

He points out that start-ups developing legal solutions have raised more than €1 billion in venture capital investment this year, surpassing the record set the previous year. In Lithuania, Amberlo, a start-up developing software for law firms, received a million-dollar investment.

Shortlisted for two awards

We were also shortlisted for the “Most Innovative Law Firm in Europe (outside the UK)”, which is also a first for the Baltics, and the “Innovation in Social Justice” awards in the FT Innovative Lawyers Europe 2021 ranking.

In the latter category, we were nominated for our Shared Mission programme which aims to help companies developing innovative projects and thus facilitate the recovery from the health and economic crisis caused by Covid-19 in the region. It is estimated that more than 40 projects were supported and over €100,000 worth of free legal and tax advice was provided in the first year alone.

Within the framework of the Shared Mission programme, an analysis of food donation regulation in Estonia has been carried out. In addition, legal and tax advice has been provided to Mindletic, a company developing a mobile app for emotional support; Uvireso, a company developing antiviral respirators and other engineering solutions using ultraviolet rays for air purification; and Mano Daktaras, a platform allowing users to seach for a doctor; and proposals for the regulation of telemedicine services and other initiatives have been also developed.