Moore & Van Allen Earns Prominent Practice and Attorney Distinctions in Financial Times North America Innovative Lawyers Report


Moore & Van Allen PLLC (MVA) is pleased to announce that the firm’s Human Trafficking Prevention & Compliance practice, Member Valecia M. McDowell, and Senior Counsel Sarah Dohoney Byrne were recognized for industry contributions and innovations in the 2023 Financial Times North America Innovative Lawyers Report. The newly released report, which is compiled based on months of intensive third party research, highlights “people, strategies and breakthroughs that will sustain law firms amid the upheavals facing the profession.”

MVA’s distinctions, which stem from being shortlisted in two Innovative Lawyers Award categories earlier this year, include:

  • Trafficking Prevention practice ranked as “standout”; Byrne recognized as a “commended individual”
    In the report’s “Practice of law: best examples of legal work” editorial, MVA was ranked as a “standout” firm in the Access to Justice and Civil Rights category, and Byrne was named a “commended individual,” based on robust efforts to help banks improve their detection of financial activity related to human trafficking. Firms were scored and ranked based on originality, leadership, and impact of their work. Byrne, who leads the firm’s Human Trafficking Prevention & Compliance practice group, advises banks on how they can support trafficking victims, including granting access to bank accounts, and in 2022 she successfully proposed a new rule to update remedies available under the 2021 Debt Bondage Repair Act.
  • McDowell named a top North America legal practitioner
    McDowell, who is co-head of White Collar, Regulatory Defense & Investigations and head of Civil Rights & Racial Equity Assessments, was featured as a top legal practitioner for 2023. The list honors just 10 practitioners from across North America based on their notable leadership and for having an impact on the future practice of law. Financial Times selected McDowell based on her work in civil rights and racial equity and specifically, for establishing MVA’s Civil Rights & Racial Equity Assessments team, which reviews the performance of companies and public services on a range of race, gender and other diversity criteria and compliance with civil rights.

    Financial Times also tapped into McDowell’s lauded understanding of this space for a supplementary report article about the Supreme Court’s June 2023 ruling against affirmative action. In the article, “Law firms feel chill from affirmative action ruling,” McDowell discusses the increased demand in legal counsel related to civil rights and racial equity as a result of the decision: “There’s been a lot of activity on [the] lawsuit side of this,” she said. “For those professionals who practise in that space — and there’s not many of us — our phones are ringing off the hook.”

We are very proud of the notable achievements of Valecia, Sarah, and the Human Trafficking Prevention & Compliance team,” said MVA Managing Partner and Chair Thomas L. Mitchell. “It is an honor for Moore & Van Allen to be recognized by Financial Times and for Valecia, Sarah and our Human Trafficking Prevention & Compliance practice to earn such well-deserved recognition for their impactful,and in many cases, life-changing work.”

The annual Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report is a rankings report and awards program for lawyers. It highlights the firms and in-house teams who are digitally advanced and using innovative approaches to deliver exceptional value to business and society. It also highlights outstanding leaders and individuals bringing innovation to the practice of law.

Financial Times and its research partner RSGI have devised a unique methodology to rank lawyers on innovation. Law firms and company in-house legal teams are invited to submit their innovations. These are then thoroughly researched through telephone interviews, questionnaires and reviews. Market experts are also called in to assess the submissions and the research. Each entry is scored for originality, leadership and impact. They are then benchmarked against one another to arrive at the final rankings and shortlists. 



Jump to Page

By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.