THE IDEAS AND INITIATIVES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD OF BIG LAW
OVER THE PAST 50 YEARS, AND THE PEOPLE BEHIND THEM.
BIG LAW IS NOTORIOUS FOR ITS HIDEBOUND HABITS, but over the last 50 years a few dozen men and women
have had an outsize impact on the profession. Our research and reporting teams spent six months looking for
the people whose ideas, policies, and practices have left an indelible mark on the legal industry over the last
five decades. These lawyers, academics, clients, and business executives range from the familiar (Thomas Sager and the DuPont Legal model are to the legal industry what Derek Jeter is to the Yankees) to the obscure
(Quick: Who invented the poison pill? The answer is on page 42). The innovators are a varied group. Some,
such as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s long-serving managing director Earle Yaffa, blazed a trail for
other c-suite executives. While others, like Slater & Gordon’s managing director, Andrew Grech, who led the
first law firm IPO, appear to be ahead of their time. Most importantly, all of these people promoted ideas that
were embraced in some form by an industry not known for its innovation. Sometimes it’s not enough just to
have a great idea—convincing others to adopt it is also worthy of respect. —RObIn SPARkMAn
THE INNOVATOR PROFILES WERE WRITTEN BY:
Susan Beck, Tom Brennan, Drew Combs, Mary Ellen Egan, Chris Johnson, Victor Li, Anthony Lin, Jessica Seah,
Robin Sparkman, Grace Tatter, Ross Todd, Julie Triedman, and Claire Zillman.
INSIDE PORTRAIT ILLUSTRATIONS BY IAN LANGEHOUGH