Latham appoints John Scrudato as director of AI and innovation

Latham & Watkins has appointed John Scrudato as director of AI and innovation, in a return to the fold for the qualified attorney, whose first tech solutions role was with the global US law firm. This follows the appointment in February by the US Department of Justice of its first chief AI officer, with one Am Law top 20 head of knowledge telling Legal IT Insider at the time: “I’m not sure if it will be chief or director of AI, but all will follow.” 

Scrudato was previously senior legal engineering and data strategy manager at Silicon Valley-headquartered law firm Gunderson Dettmer. His career in law started out at Gunderson in 2016 as an M&A lawyer. He joined Latham in 2019 as innovation and technology solutions attorney before returning to Gunderson to work as a legal engineering and data strategy manager.

The rise of the chief or director of AI is being closely watched by law firms. Last year US national law firm Michael Best & Friedrich became one of the first to have an AI focussed C-Suite role with the appointment of Sarah Alt as chief process and AI officer. 

Commenting at the time of the DOJ announcement, Derek Southall, head of the UK Legal IT Innovators Group and founder and CEO of Hyperscale Group told Legal IT Insider: “We see many firms both developing and implementing their AI strategies but to date most of this is being driven by IT directors, heads of innovation, data scientists, or functional heads. The day may come when some firms hire chief AI officers but at the moment this work is taking place largely within existing functions. At the moment this model seems to be working assuming firms have got all bases covered and everyone is clear who is responsible for what.” 

See also:

DOJ appoints first-ever chief AI officer – Will law firms follow?