NEW YORK, October 7, 2013 —Mark Harris, Founder and CEO of Axiom, the world’s largest and fastest growing non-traditional provider of legal services, was the recipient of the Financial Times Special Achievement Award. The award which “recognizes the abilities and exceptional contributions of an individual to the legal profession, business and society,” was given to Harris during the annual FT Innovative Lawyers Awards Dinner, which took place in London on October 3rd.
Harris delivered the keynote speech at the awards dinner where he said, “I believe the FT has paid attention to us, at this moment, because Axiom represents something on the horizon. We are a symbol both for industry innovation and for a broader story about all of us within the legal industry. About how all of us, together, will change one of the world’s largest and most important service economies.”
In honoring Harris, the FT said of the industry’s appetite for change, “Legal advice and innovation is often reactive, with lawyers creating solutions in response to client needs. This year, the winner of the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Special Achievement Award is Mark Harris for anticipating market changes and creating a business model that has challenged expectations of how legal services can be delivered.”
In addition, the FT noted that in its research for this year’s Innovative Lawyers report, “Axiom was the most often cited example of a business that was providing a challenge to the law firm structural model.”
In his speech, Harris implored the entirety of the industry to embrace the transformation that is taking place in the industry and to change the narrative arc from something that is being “done to” the industry to an agenda that industry leaders are actively advancing.
As such, he challenged those in attendance to ask of themselves – and their broader industry peers – two questions:
• Can we fundamentally rethink the aims of what it is we do? “As a group,” Harris said of lawyers, “we’re the best in the world at giving advice. But, we are barely mediocre when it comes to delivering value.”
• Are we willing to fail? “As lawyers, we have a fairly unhealthy relationship with failure. But,” he continued, “failure is the sibling of innovation. We must innovate, and while we don’t need to fail, we have to be willing to fail some of the time.”
Harris is the fifth recipient of the award and joins prestigious company including Nigel Boardman, a
partner with Slaughter and May; Rodge Cohen, Chairman, Sullivan and Cromwell; Stuart Popham, Senior
Partner, Clifford Chance; and Peter Solmssen, General Counsel of Siemens AG. This was the first
time the FT recognized an executive outside of “Big Law.”
It was also only one among a number of Axiom recognitions at the awards dinner and in the annual Innovative Lawyers report. Axiom was listed among the top of the FT50, an overall ranking of the most innovative law (and alternative model) firms; was ranked as the most innovative firm in the Value Resourcing category; and also received standout and commendable submission honors in the Corporate Strategy and Client Service categories, respectively.
Harris said of the recognitions, “I believe Axiom is doing great, groundbreaking and important work, but relative to our mission, we have a long way to go.”
Axiom, a recognized leader in the business of law, is the world’s largest and fastest growing non-traditional provider of legal services. Combining deep legal and business expertise with operational prowess, Axiom works closely with leading law departments to improve their risk profiles, lower cost, and create more value for their corporations. The new model firm serves nearly half of the Fortune 100 across 11 offices and 4 delivery centers globally. www.AxiomLaw.com
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Carrie Kalish, 917-657-3155