DLA Piper has poached a 10-strong data analytics team from Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, led by Bennett Borden, a qualified lawyer who joins as partner and chief data scientist of DLA’s newly-created artificial intelligence and data analytics practice.
Borden will help DLA’s clients to monetise and productise their data, develop algorithmic models, and conduct discovery and internal investigations, including the verification of AI systems (and detection of bias.)
Danny Tobey, chair of DLA Piper’s AI practice said: “As companies around the world deploy a variety of AI and machine learning technologies to automate their business processes, Bennett and his team provide a much-needed technical component unique to the legal industry.”
Working within a law firm environment is often not easy for data scientists, given that technology is very much still secondary to what law firms do. Clifford Chance’s first head of data science Mirko Bernardoni created the Data Science Lab alongside fellow data scientist Michael Seddon, however the pair left after two years to form their own AI boutique company. Andrew Dunkley – who is legally qualified – founded BLM’s predictive analytics offering and worked at Herbert Smith Freehills as technology solutions lead, left to join technology and operations consultancy Syke in August 2022.
However, the hybrid quasi-tech, quasi-legal nature offering of this team to an extent stands it apart.
“AI development and adoption is crucial as companies look to grow their businesses and compete successfully,” said Frank Ryan, DLA Piper’s Americas chair. “The addition of Bennett and his team as part of the firm’s overall AI offering provides clients with a comprehensive compliance and government affairs strategy important to their success.”
Borden started out life at the Central Intelligence Agency, using data analytics and machine learning to predict human behaviour. He became an associate at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in 2004, practising in the firm’s litigation department, primarily in white collar investigations. At Williams Mullen he became a partner and chaired the firm’s eDiscovery and information governance team. It was a Drink Biddle & Reath – which was to become Faegre Drinker thanks to a merger at the end of 2019 – that he formally took on a data scientist role, working in the firm’s government and regulatory affairs group. You can see his LinkedIn profile here.