2020 winner

University of Oxford & Meridian West

The judges were won over with how the project identified a major gap and started with a truly strategic question: Learning & Development is not handled strategically in law firms; with the talent agenda becoming vital, how to put L&D at the center of strategy, notably in legal firms?

The question was approached in developing a deep research project combining academic, practitioner and advisory knowledge. Four chapters were published focusing on the ‘How’ aspects of the issue.

The study provides a novel and differentiated access to career pathways for professional service people. It moves professionals from a single knowledge focus on law to multi-skills – enhancing attractiveness to younger generations, professional mobility and helping to diversify offers to clients. Evidence was clear from the case and conversations that practical applications, on line consultations and various forms of impact are already very meaningful.

The panel was convinced with how the case already makes and can make a further difference to how knowledge is provided to clients.

Danny Wallace, Nigel Spencer and Stephen Newton (University of Oxford & Meridian West) and Julia Mirkina (FT)

Nigel Spencer, Senior Client Director at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School “We are delighted to be recognised by a sector-leading body such as the Managing Partners’ Forum for sharing valuable knowledge with clients. The aim of the White Paper series was to bring together academic and practitioner insights, giving tips on how to use learning strategically in firms and offering ideas for approaches which can really help firms to move forwards effectively. We consulted widely, across our teams, networks and clients throughout the sector, and all those ideas and experience are gathered together in the series. We are really grateful to the professional service firm leaders and development experts who contributed.

Alastair Beddow, Meridian West Managing Director  “I am delighted that Meridian West’s hard work and cutting-edge thinking has been recognised by our industry peers. Our intention was to provide leaders within the sector with access to new thinking that would have a practical impact on their talent development and operational performance strategies both for the short and long-term. It’s pleasing to see that ambition acknowledged by the judges.


2nd place


CEOs who engage with Xinfu’s consulting services also gain from the impressive information resources, research and proprietary model that the firm has developed and refined over many years. Xinfu can point to compelling results that validate their approach. The panel welcomed this combination of strong theoretical understanding and determined practical application of knowledge.




Royds Withy King