Gowling WLG was created on 22nd February through the combination of UK headquartered Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co with Gowlings, one of Canada's leading law firms.
Derek was previously partner and head of strategic development at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co. Derek has a strong pedigree in innovation and digital. In the FT's first ever study into innovation in the UK legal market, Derek was ranked as one of the top 3 most innovative lawyers and has played a key role in helping the firm to win many awards in the technology space.
Innovation has been identified as a strategic imperative at the firm as it seeks to leverage its already excellent track record in innovative legal solutions to help win business across its global network.
Derek will be responsible for developing and driving the strategy relating to all things innovative and digital and will continue to be involved in a range of other related areas - including cognitive computing and AI, knowledge management, input to business information systems strategy and supporting client delivery, new delivery models, client consultancy and strategies in relation to market changes.
Derek Southall said: "Innovation and digital are hugely important in today's world and law firms are no exception. Every year clients quite rightly expect us to work smarter and more efficiently every year and to develop proactive, creative solutions. We are listening and are working hard to be their most trusted "go to" firm in this area."
David Fennell, chief executive, Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, said: "Innovation and digital have always been at the core of what we do but are now becoming even more important to how we operate and to our clients. No firm can just play at these areas; they have to be integrated into strategy and culture. This is why we have made a senior appointment. Derek has a strong track record in this area and a skill set made for these fast moving and challenging times."
Gowling WLG is involved in a number of innovative projects around the world including the UK driverless cars consortium and helped to set up Argos with its collaboration with eBay to allow in-store collection for its customers. Its client work has also involved establishing creative approaches to product recalls (which have been complimented in judgments), and saving £1bn on a large infrastructure project by harmonising over 70 providers.