Gowling WLG reinvents its approach to innovation

05 May 2017

Gowling WLG is reinventing its approach to innovation to support clients in a different way and to drive through change in the legal market.

Head of Innovation and Digital, Derek Southall stepped down as partner of the firm on 30 April 2017 to devote time to Hyperscale Group Limited ("Hyperscale Group") - a new innovation venture founded by Southall. The new arrangement enables Gowling WLG to use Hyperscale Group as a vehicle to drive forward strategic projects for the firm - with Southall remaining integrated into aspects of the Gowling WLG business for several days each week, while also leveraging wider experiences from multiple facets of the market. Importantly, it provides the firm with a new and better way of supporting clients who are increasingly using new technologies by sharing skills, experience and different models.

Hyperscale Group, which will deliver a range of services to in house legal teams, software companies, venture capitalists, start-ups and other professional services firms in relation to Innovation, Digital, Futures, Strategy, Technology and more, will give Southall the opportunity to support other businesses as they look to maximize their potential in an increasingly digitized and complex world.

David Fennell, Chief Executive of Gowling WLG UK says: "We place great emphasis on continuous innovation to best meet the needs of our clients. Taking a more agile approach to how we get the best out of our innovation team and to build our connections in the market is the next step in our own innovation journey. We've been discussing different models with Derek for some time - and supporting the launch of Hyperscale Group will help us develop our offering to clients even further.

Derek has huge amounts of energy and is constantly re-examining how things are done in an ever-changing legal market-place. We thank Derek for the huge contribution he has made as a partner and we're really looking forward to working with him via Hyperscale Group and bringing a new approach to the market."

Southall says: "We are living in a fast moving dynamic market undergoing unprecedented change. We have debated long and hard how to best tackle the new challenges we see emerging. We came to the conclusion that launching a new type of company was the right way to support our clients and to act as an active agent of change, with multiple influences. A company which could help people navigate through the challenges of the next few years, especially clients in a way which helps the market evolve in the way it needs to.

Having spent 20 years operating in this space (technology, efficiency, KM/data, innovation, digital, systems and operating models for in house legal teams), and as a former private equity lawyer, I have seen the legal market from many different angles. I have a real hunger and enthusiasm to help Gowling WLG and the industry succeed. I also feel it is my chance to give something back after 25 years operating in a great market-place and firm."