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  • Corporate news
  • 08-10-2020

The Financial Times has ranked NautaDutilh as one of Europe's most innovative law firms in the 2020 FT Innovative Lawyers Europe report. Managing partner Petra Zijp was featured as an Innovative Leader and Harm Kerstholt as Innovative Practitioner. 

NautaDutilh was credited for its efforts on diversity and inclusion as well as sustainability. NautaDutilh's soft law practice, which advises clients on sustainable business and climate change, and CSR sabbatical, which grants selected staff members paid time-off to work on a socially responsible project, were specifically lauded.

This year, the FT Innovative Lawyer Awards were slightly different from previous years. In several categories, there were no winners. Instead, a small group of standout individuals was honoured in each category. Our managing partner Petra Zijp was recognised as an Innovative Leader. This category acknowledges leaders with a proven track record of innovation and an impact within their organisation, be it through improving growth and financial performance, diversity and inclusion or driving digital transformation.

Petra was shortlisted for her leadership of our firm since 2017. In that time she has led several initiatives that have considerably enhanced collaboration at NautaDutilh. To encourage more collaboration, she expanded the firm’s talent development programme to improve the training of lawyers and other professionals in “soft” as well as professional skills. Her campaign to break down barriers between lawyers and other professionals has seen several lawyers take on leading roles in business development and IT. Petra has also established a board of 16 young professionals from across the firm who consult with the management board on how the business’s strategic approach is backed by younger staff. Petra has expanded the firm’s corporate social responsibility remit and launched a new practice area that specialises in environmental, social and governance work. Read the whole article: Six law firm leaders with an ambitious agenda on the FT website.

In addition, Harm Kerstholt was recognised as an Innovative Practitioner for his pioneering work with NautaDutilh’s “soft law” practice to advise clients on environmental, social and corporate governance practices that  may not be legally binding but help companies manage risks and protect their reputations. Harm encourages voluntary adoption of responsible business conduct among clients, urging those in the energy and natural resources sectors in particular to scrutinise their supply chains. For example, when advising on a tender for a wind farm project in the Netherlands, he raised supply-chain concerns about human rights abuses in South Africa linked to mining for manganese used in turbine production. The client indicated that bringing up this issue was a key factor to select NautaDutilh as project counsel. Harm is featured in the FT article: 10 Legal practitioners prepare for constant updates of roles.

The FT Innovative Lawyer Awards are the legal profession’s most highly regarded accolades, recognising the most innovative, creative and strategic work by law firms and individual practitioners throughout Europe. 

Established in 2006 by the Financial Times and RSG Consulting, the FT Innovative Lawyers programme assesses innovation by law firms for clients and in their own business. The goal of the programme is "to uncover the real value that lawyers deliver to business and reward the lawyers consistently furthering the interests of their clients, their own firms or companies and the profession itself". 

The rankings and awards are based on submissions and independent research by the FT and RSG Consulting. 


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