How The Global Legal Awards Came To Life
The American Lawyer's editor in chief explains why the publication created the inaugural Global Legal Awards.
Law firms have their rainmakers. At The American Lawyer we have idea-generators. Whether it's an editor, senior writer, or even a junior reporter, we value colleagues who come up with big-picture ideas for stories or projects that other writers can leverage. Senior international correspondent Michael D. Goldhaber is one of those rare people. A 15-year-veteran of ALM who has covered everything from associate life to human rights, Michael is an altruistic idea machine. Whether he's suggesting that a reporter look into unfunded law firm pensions ("A Heavy Burden," March 2012) or that we track pro bono hours overseas (consider yourself warned), we appreciate Michael's wide-ranging interests and generosity.
His latest brainchild is the inaugural Global Legal Awards. These new awards honor the best cross-border legal work in M&A, finance, disputes, and citizenship. Most importantly—and this was Michael's insight from covering international legal issues for so long—they honor the teams involved on both sides of a matter (where appropriate). We're not just celebrating one jet-setting practitioner, but everyone who was involved in completing a transaction or righting a social wrong, from the general counsel to the local firms.
Michael is intimately familiar with our annual awards for Dealmakers of the Year and our biennial Litigation Department of the Year contest (which we are in the throes of judging right now). He wanted to make sure that in a world that increasingly sees M&A, finance, and disputes work performed on multiple continents, we were honoring the lawyers who reflected this growing trend.
He also suggested that the global citizenship award look beyond single pro bono cases to honor pro bono deals, programs, and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Michael worked closely with Aric Press, my predecessor and now ALM's editor in chief, to bring this idea to fruition. They invited law firms from around the world to submit their best work. More than 300 nominations were received. Working with our chief European correspondent Chris Johnson, London-based freelance legal journalist Tom Blass, and TheDeal.com senior writer and American Lawyer "Big Deals" columnist David Marcus, they reviewed and vetted the entries over several months.
Twenty-nine entries across the four categories were chosen as winners. Four of those entries were also named Grand Prize honorees. The awards were handed out at a gala in New York City on September 23. For a complete list of all the honorees, visit our site.
The Global Legal Awards project has far exceeded our expectations. It's been fascinating to learn more about the matters that capture the headlines, and those that don't but are just as worthy of recognition. We hope to make the contest an annual event with next year's gala in London. I look forward to seeing you there.