Reed Smith appoints inaugural chief innovation officer

The firm says that the new exec is regarded among the leading innovators in the legal industry

Reed Smith appoints inaugural chief innovation officer

Reed Smith has appointed legal services strategist and innovator David Cunningham as its first-ever chief innovation officer (CIO).

In a career spanning three decades, Cunningham has developed a strong reputation in the legal industry. He is regarded among the profession’s principal innovators and disruptors, Reed Smith said.

Cunningham’s hire comes at a crucial time, with Reed Smith looking to overhaul operations in order to speed up legal service delivery and performance for its clients and to “unlock new levels of client value,” the firm said.

“Working with senior leadership, David will bring together the breadth of the firm’s current innovation activities and direct the future focus of the firm’s innovation strategy to advance the firm’s RS 2024 business strategy,” COO Nick Bagiatis said. “Integrating our technology-related offerings will help the firm better serve clients and establish the firm’s innovation vision for the future. We want to ensure the firm’s brand is synonymous with innovation.”

Cunningham has long advised on historic law firm integrations as a consultant. He leads tech consortium Legal Metrics as CEO, and also helped to develop the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium.

He has worked with the senior management teams of over 200 law firms worldwide, advising on strategy, M&A, IT, process improvement and risk management issues. He signed on to serve as the CIO of international firm Winston & Strawn in 2012.

During his nine-year run with the firm, Cunningham managed all of Winston & Strawn’s innovation initiatives, such as its IT, risk management, data analytics, knowledge services, practice and client services, project management, tech learning and change management and eDiscovery.

“Technology, efficiency, data analytics, AI, and metrics are key aspects of the equation that drives client value. When you combine them with exceptional lawyering, you create the ultimate value for clients,” Cunningham said. “Reed Smith is known as a progressive innovative leader,

embracing technology and other tools to provide the best client service opportunity possible. I’m excited to be joining a team that is ready to move to the next level in leading that effort.”

At Reed Smith, Cunningham will develop the firm’s existing innovation offerings, such as its data-driven legal technology and solutions subsidiary Gravity Stack. He will integrate these initiatives under a tech solutions and shared services umbrella, in addition to advising on Gravity Stack’s strategic direction.

He will also guide the journey of new innovation products to market release and help direct the firm’s enterprise data and analytics strategy, as well as assist in boosting client service by determining initiatives to bolster performance and efficiency.

“We must continue to create new service offerings and products that deliver more agile and  customized client support – all with the purpose of helping our clients drive their businesses forward,” Reed Smith global managing partner Sandy Thomas said. “David brings the ultimate  entrepreneurial approach to the delivery of legal services. He is a champion of innovation, and we are thrilled to have him lead us into the next iteration of Reed Smith’s commitment to innovation and client value.”

Cunningham started with the firm on 1 July, operating from the Houston office.


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