Latham Again Ranks as a Top Innovator

December 18, 2017
The Financial Times
The Financial Times recognizes landmark legal work, creative business strategies, and the visionary efforts of Chief Operating Officer LeeAnn Black.

Latham & Watkins has again ranked among the Top 10 law firms in the Financial Times’ 2017 North America Innovative Lawyers index, earning recognition across a variety of categories for landmark legal work, creative business strategies, and individual leadership. The firm’s coverage in the annual report reflects Latham’s pioneering approaches to the practice and business of law, as well as the visionary efforts of Chief Operating Officer LeeAnn Black — who was named this year as a Top 10 legal innovator for North America.

The Financial Times recognized Latham’s key role in several precedent-setting legal matters and innovative initiatives. The firm’s rankings included:

  • “Highly Commended” for crafting first-of-their-kind agreements on behalf of NextVR “at the cutting edge of defining aspects of virtual reality (VR) technology and associated rights.” The FT cited the firm’s advice in critical areas such as licensing, distribution, and intellectual property rights “in helping NextVR forge partnerships with the NBA, NFL, Fox Sports and Live Nation to bring its technology to sports and music fans.” Chris Brearton, who serves as Managing Partner of the firm’s Century City office, was also “commended” for his role in the legal work.
  • “Highly Commended” for successfully defending Pandora Music and iHeartMedia in claims involving pre-1972 sound recording digital performance royalties. The FT noted that Latham “used constitutional law mechanisms to fast-track Pandora’s case, saving the company millions of dollars.” The publication further detailed Latham’s cutting-edge work in a feature article in which partner Andrew Gass was cited for leading "a revolution in the way the law deals with music copyright and royalties."
  • “Commended” for representing Vista Oil & Gas in Latin America’s first initial public offering of a special purpose acquisition company and Mexico’s first IPO of an oil and gas exploration and production-focused company.
  • “Commended” for organizing and launching the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Bar Association in collaboration with other peer firms, marking the first new US bar association created in the past 30 years. According to the FT, the organization aims to “promote high professional standards in lawyers appearing before the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board, a popular forum set up to litigate patent viability.”

The FT also credited the firm with developing a forward-thinking approach to professional development, saying, “Latham & Watkins, which regularly appears in the top 10 of the FT25, has long focused on the future generations that will work at the firm.” The report particularly honored a recent talent management initiative in which Latham developed and launched “an open-plan, tech-enabled new working environment on a floor of its New York office” that “includes nursing and treadmill rooms.”

In addition, LeeAnn Black earned recognition among a select group of 10 innovators in the legal industry. The FT highlighted her achievements since becoming the firm’s Chief Operating Officer in 1999, particularly her lead role in “maintaining cultural consistency across the firm, as well as building an integrated and scalable infrastructure.”