A well-known figure in the legal IT sector, Derek Southall has been appointed as UK head of innovation and digital at newly-merged Gowling WLG, which formally launched on 22 February from the combination of Wragge Lawrence Graham (WLG) and Gowlings in Canada.

Southall was previously a partner and head of strategic development at WLG. In his new role at the expanded firm, he will be responsible for developing and driving the strategy relating to “all things innovative and digital” and will continue to be involved in 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. 

According to Gowling WLG’s chief executive David Fennell, Southall’s appointment reflects the growing importance of innovation and digital to the UK top 30 law firm.

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.”  

Gowling WLG is involved in a number of innovative projects around the world, including the UK driverless cars consortium and helping to set up Argos with its collaboration with eBay to allow in-store collection for its customers.