Former Taylor Wessing chief information officer Kevin Harris has taken over as CIO for Europe, Middle East and Asia at Norton Rose Fulbright, where he is responsible for over 30 offices spread across the EMEA region.
Harris started at the beginning of March and will be based in London. In the UK he also heads NRF’s “legal process hub” in Newcastle, which is the centre for much of its legal technology and innovation efforts and where it has links with Newcastle University. The hub opened in 2017 and last year NRF announced that it would be doubling its team from 70 to 140.
In London Harris will head a circa 100-strong team, as well as IT support across NRF’s regional offices, and he told Legal IT Insider: “Creating seamless IT support across the whole of the EMEA region is key.”
Harris replaces Claire Hamon, who in September last year joined rail and bus company Arriva as group CIO. His appointment also follows the departure in October last year of global CIO Edie Dillon, who was based in Houston, Texas: that role has yet to be filled.
Harris said: “I’ll be looking at everything, from how to attract clients with our use of innovative technology to how we service clients, and will be taking a more holistic view of technology. We’re doing an awful lot with clients and now is the time to look at how we get more value from that.”
NRF has largely stayed under the radar when it comes to its use of technology, but partners such as Nick Abrahams have been working in a semi-outsourced legal operations manner, providing corporate counsel with advice, guidance and training on their use of process and technology.
Harris added: “Instead of running around making a song and dance of the work we’re doing with technology and clients we have quietly got on with it.”
NRF is among the first UK clients to roll out SAP Fulcrum and is an iManage client. It is working with a number of different AI providers, including RAVN Systems (part of iManage) and Kira Systems for contract review.
Harris said: “Most people seem to be focussing on ‘innovation’ but we’re focusing heavily on the client and their specific needs.”