The IILPM Awards 2023 Winners

The IILPM Annual Awards celebrate the great work being done around the globe in the fields of Legal Project Management and Legal Process Improvement.

This year we had a record number of submissions with applications from Europe, the Middle East, India and the United States of America.

The number and high quality of the submissions made judging difficult. All of the submissions showed that improvements to legal service delivery is happening world wide and at pace. Congratulations to everyone who entered, and keep up the great work you are doing.

Award Winners – A Quick Summary

LPM Project of The Year in a Large Law Firm or Alternative Legal Service Provider

Winner: Clifford Chance, United Kingdom

Special Recognition: BDO Abogados, Spain

LPM Project of the Year in a Small to Mid-Sized Law Firm

Winner: Sackers, United Kingdom

Special Recognition: AlMaghthawi & Partners, Saudia Arabia

LPM Project of the Year in an In-House Legal Department

Winner: Banco Santander, Spain

Special Recognition: Addicus LLC, United States of America

Legal Process Improvement (LPI) Project of The Year

Winner: Burges Salmon, United Kingdom

Special Recognition: Uría Menéndez, Spain

LPM Project of The Year in a Large Law Firm or Alternative Legal Service Provider

Winner: Clifford Chance, United Kingdom

For its work on the Hai Long Offshore Wind Farm Project, Taiwan.

Legal Project Manager: Debby Ratnasari

The project was the largest non-recourse financing of an offshore wind project financing to date in the region – the 1,022MW Hai Long offshore wind farm in Taiwan.  A cross-border team across Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and London advised the 7 export credit agencies (ECAs) and more than 15 commercial banks on the financing of the project.

To help deliver the project in a smooth and cost-effective manner, the Firm appointed a Legal Project Manager (LPM) to help with managing the team and multiple workstreams over the 26-month timeframe.  Successful delivery against very challenging timelines required excellent stakeholder management and communication, efficient scope management and the application of appropriate technology to handle the large suite of documentation and a very long conditions precedent (CP) checklist.

The LPM’s work was called out by our Partners and Clients as crucial to the successful closing of the transaction:

Debby Ratnasari is what I would call “a star” LPM.  Her contribution to the project was outstanding and I truly believe the deal team would not have been able to deliver the project without Debby’s involvement. Debby deserves special recognition for the service, quality and commitment she has delivered. This is the best support and service I have ever experienced in almost 20 years as a lawyer. Amazing.

Dr. Florian Mahler, Partner

Special Recognition: BDO Abogados, Spain.

For its work on managing recurring legal services for a Spanish University.

Head of Legal Operations and Innovation: Javier Gómez-Ferrer Senent

Efficacy, efficiency, and innovation drives our goal of achieving high quality and competitive legal services delivery. Our vision took shape through a robust digital and organizational transformation programme, exhaustively articulated to align with our client’s business objectives, legal market, and legal industry dynamics.

At its core, one of the main targets of the project is to increase the maturity of BDO Legal’s internal operations and service model. By enhancing our internal capabilities, implementing cutting-edge technologies, Legal Project Management and Process Improvement methodologies, optimizing resources, and embracing a culture of innovation, we are paving the way for a transformative journey.

An outstanding achievement emerged with the creation of a Legal Operations Consulting Service, which proves our commitment to industry best practices. This service, aimed to transform legal functions, optimize services, embrace technological advancements, and elevate knowledge and data management, has initiated a new phase of efficiency and managed services.

The multiple outcomes are tangible and impactful. A dedicated team, the Legal Operations and Innovation unit, emerged, directing its capacities towards both internal operations and corporate legal function transformation. Our suite of services expanded exponentially, featuring several of Legal Operations Consulting Services for Legal Departments, Legal Managed Services, and Legal Operations Consulting Technology Solutions. In essence, the project not only reshaped our firm but also represent a paradigm shift in the legal landscape in which we stand as a reference of innovation, efficiency, and a relentless pursuit of delivering best legal services to our clients.

LPM Project of The Year in a Small / Mid-Sized Law Firm (up to 200 lawyers)

Winner: Sackers, United Kingdom.

For its work for its work with a large pension fund trustee.

Senior Legal Project Manager: Elizabeth Nolan.

Legal Project Manager: Nadia Krasteva.

Project Summary:

Sackers’ legal project management team supported a multi-billion-pound pension scheme Trustee client on outsourcing part of its investment function to an asset manager. Keys to success were ensuring continuity of service for the Trustee and plan members, and a smooth transition for the staff whose employment was being transferred.

Lawyers from Sackers general pensions advisory and investment teams advised the Trustee and its executive team, helping them to navigate the complex regulatory, legal and governance hurdles involved.

Due to the size and complexity of the project, two of Sackers’ legal project management team supported the project; Elizabeth Nolan, senior legal project manager, as deputy programme manager alongside the independent programme manager appointed by the Trustee (a consultant); and Nadia Krasteva, legal project manager, as project lead for two of the six project workstreams which ran through the project.

The project challenges included: maintaining focus and oversight across multiple workstreams, ensuring clear communication among numerous stakeholders, providing regular reporting to a working group and the Trustee Board, managing a tight and changing timeline, and retaining confidentiality.

The project was completed successfully. Success was measured through client satisfaction and feedback from stakeholders. The LPM team received extremely positive feedback and testimonials from the CEO of the Trustee as well as the lead partners for their support across this complex legal project.

Special Recognition: AlMaghthawi & Partners, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

For the roll-out of new LPM practices across the firm.

Business Development Manager: Abdulaziz Almeshri.

AP Legal has successfully implemented the standards of Legal Project Management (LPM) across all departments. The primary objective was to efficiently manage client expectations and ensure smooth workflow within the organization. The implementation process involved a step-by-step plan, including trial tests within each department and gradual introduction to new clients. Challenges were addressed, such as senior employee engagement and incorporating LPM into ongoing projects.

The outcomes of LPM implementation have been highly positive. A comprehensive Lessons Learnt Report was completed, capturing valuable insights and best practices from past projects. Client satisfaction has significantly increased due to clearer communication channels, defined project scopes, and enhanced understanding of responsibilities. The firm has become more organized, with standardized processes and procedures, leading to improved internal collaboration and streamlined workflows.

The success of the LPM strategy was measured by monitoring progress and achieving set goals at each stage. Factors such as reduced follow-up requirements and clarity among team members were used to assess implementation effectiveness. The implementation of LPM has showcased AP Legal’s commitment to continuous improvement and exceptional client service.

Overall, the implementation of LPM has brought about significant improvements, benefiting both the firm and its clients. By adopting a structured and organized approach, AP Legal has enhanced project management capabilities, increased client satisfaction, and established a foundation for continuous improvement in its practices.

LPM Project of The Year in an In-House Legal Department

Winner: Banco Santander, Spain.

For its work on its ‘One Legal Team’ Project.

Countries Coordination & Legal COO (Corporate Center Legal Department):

Andrea Parada Perez.

The Corporate Legal Team of Banco Santander has created a model of collaboration between the legal teams in the different Santander countries, in order to promote the spirit of belonging to a one global legal team, and to streamline the global legal function.

The project is called “One Legal Team” and involves all the lawyers of the Group (more than 1,000 professionals), with the aim of sharing knowledge, information, and strategies, as well as promoting the interaction and collaboration among all the legal departments of the Group.

The initiatives included in this Project are:

  1. A global website where all the lawyers can share and look for relevant information.
  2. A global directory of all in-house counsels.
  3. The “Thematic Legal Channels”, which are digital channels on different areas of legal practice, created to exchange knowledge and share information.
  4. The promotion of internal and international mobility programs for lawyers.
  5. The creation of Simplification & Transformation workshops.
  6. An annual convention, called Global Legal Days, that brings together all the lawyers of the Group.
  7. The “Global Legal Awards” in which any lawyer may submit either a written paper on a topic of legal interest, or a project that improves the efficiency of the legal teams. The prizes consist of the attendance to a legal seminar in Harvard, or to a center o innovation in London, respectively.
  8. Talent and knowledge management through “The Legal Academy”, which is an internal school that organizes trainings with both law firms and internal professionals of the Group every alternate Friday at the Training Center of Santander (Madrid).
  9. The annual General Counsel Summit, in which the Heads of Legal of every Santander country/unit design and share strategic initiatives for the global team and talent programs that will be implemented throughout the year.

Special Recognition: Addicus, LLC, United States of America.

For its continuous improvement work focusing on After Action Reviews (AARs)

Senior Manager Legal Operations: Lanair Baker

Addicus is a boutique wealth management company that seeks to foster a culture of continuous improvement supported accountability throughout the company. This approach improves profitability while enhancing internal and external relationships. By fostering regular After Action Reviews (“AARs”), management gave power to a company of professionals so they could take charge of their own change management in processes, projects, and internal and external relations.

The legal operations department launched the company-wide AAR standard practice with leadership support. Legal operations sought to establish best practices, areas of improvement and benchmarks for improvement in routine and special projects. After conducting extensive educational workshops and training sessions, the legal operations team provided resources, documentation, and a best practices roadmap.

To ensure that AARs translate into actionable improvements, Each AAR concludes with creating actionable plans. Establishing clear responsibilities (RACI charts), deadlines, and key performance indicators (KPIs), necessary changes are implemented promptly. This documentation is part of the line of business meeting agendas for progress reporting, giving more visibility and transparency to the action plan and accountable parties. This practice has proven to advance buy-in of changes and support AAR practice overall.

Recognition and Feedback: The legal department, operations, and HR recognized and celebrated successes resulting from AAR-driven changes. Positive feedback and tangible improvements served as motivation for continued participation.

A year after implementing and adopting After Action Reviews, the organization routinely mentions the AARs and plans for them at the end of each project. No matter the size of the review, they are conducted, documented, and communicated across the company for collaborative improvements. The founding partners participate in the AAR to support their positive impact. Operational and business line leaders take the learnings back to ensure that successful processes are established and that change processes are implemented and adopted. AARs, a basic legal project management technique, support Addicus’ culture as a learning and growing organization.

Legal Process Improvement (LPI) Project of The Year

Winner: Burges Salmon, United Kingdom.

For its Regulatory Compliance Project for Affinity Water

Innovation Manager: Emma Sorrell

Legal Innovation Specialist: Alice Ratcliffe

Independent UK law firm Burges Salmon worked with key client and the UK’s largest water-only supplier, Affinity Water, to help identify its compliance obligations, streamline compliance management, and support embedding a culture of compliance within the organisation. Combining deep expertise in utilities – particularly in the water sector – and strong innovation capabilities, Burges Salmon was equipped to guide Affinity Water through this process improvement project.

The Burges Salmon legal team advising Affinity Water had identified ways in which the firm’s Innovation team could support the client. Innovation is a critical part of Burges Salmon’s strategy to deliver exceptional service to clients. Listening to its clients, the firm devises and delivers solutions aimed at enhancing the client experience, unlocking value and generating new opportunities. With a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to driving innovation, the Innovation team works collaboratively with colleagues and clients to bring fresh perspectives to problem solving whether this is through the effective use of technology, implementing process improvements or outside-of-the-box-thinking.

The Innovation team worked closely with Affinity Water to understand their current processes, pain points, and to think creatively about solutions while utilising the firm’s extensive water sector expertise. Leveraging this collective knowledge, together with active engagement by members of the compliance and legal teams at Affinity, the team developed a proof of concept using Burges Salmon’s collaboration platform – clientspace. Through a cycle of listening, iterating, and refining, the project resulted in an improved process supported by a solution designed in an intuitive manner, enabling users to confirm and evidence compliance consistently.

Launched in April 2023, the client has successfully completed its first compliance cycle using the new process and solution. The power of collaboration, together with utilising technology and harnessing the skills of the right people, was fundamental to ensuring the resulting process improvement and solution provided real value.

Special Recognition: Uría Menéndez, Spain

For its work creating the MomentUM platform for managing large scale litigation.

Legal Innovation Director: Eva García Morales.


MomentUM is an innovative solution to improve the quality and efficiency of the services we provide our clients, in particular for large-scale litigation work. These proceedings involve a substantial number of claimants, meaning that hundreds of cases need to be managed by our dispute resolution lawyers in close collaboration, and this requires a streamlined approach.

To meet the complicated demands of these proceedings, Uría Menéndez has developed a flexible tool, tailored for each client based on lawsuit type and volume. The initial phase of the project involved aligning our IT, legal innovation and dispute resolution teams to refine daily processes and identify areas for improvement.

Four key objectives based on the Legal Project Management principles were established for MomentUM:

• Offer all parties a real-time overview of each proceeding through a centralised information entry point.
• Provide lawyers with a tool to accurately manage teams, risks, and case information.
• Improve internal and client reporting.
• Reduce email volume by establishing a shared space and calendar to monitor deadlines.

The challenges we faced in developing MomentUM prompted us to create an in-house solution due to the lack of existing tools meeting our specific needs. The urgent need for the tool led us to repurpose an internal technology solution, providing flexibility in functionality and outcomes. MomentUM’s outcomes include direct client access to information on proceedings, real-time dashboards, unique data entry points, personalised home pages, automated workflows, and secure document sharing.

What sets MomentUM apart is its customisation, in that it is tailored to the specific workflows of our dispute resolution teams, while maintaining adaptability to other matters and teams. The tool’s implementation has significantly reduced lawyers’ administrative workload, improving client communication within confidentiality guidelines. The ongoing operation of MomentUM involves continuous collaboration by our lawyers and IT professionals to address new requirements, adapt it to client needs, and further enhance its capabilities.

The success of this project lies in its fusion of technology and legal expertise, showcasing the synergy between our lawyers and IT professionals.