Eversheds Sutherland names first head of global AI

TMT sector head Nasser Ali Khasawneh to lead newly-formed global AI leadership team

Nasser Ali Khasawneh Image courtesy of Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland has appointed partner Nasser Ali Khasawneh as its first global head of AI. 

Dubai-based Khasawneh, who has served as Eversheds’ global TMT sector head since 2021, will lead a newly-formed global AI leadership team.

The appointments form part of a wider AI push at Eversheds that has also seen it create a global AI task force to ensure consistency between its client-facing and internal applications of AI. The firm will also roll out global gen AI skills training for all its employees and partners. 

“AI is without a doubt the most significant development in the technology space for a generation,” Khasawneh said. “This technology doesn’t belong to one geography, sector or practice group – my appointment will ensure that the firm takes a global approach in helping our clients consider the rapidly developing potential offered by generative AI.

 “Our team of lawyers around the world is already advising our clients on this fast evolving area of law and, working with the global AI leadership team, I look forward to helping to develop this, in particular around regulatory, privacy and intellectual property issues.”

Reporting to co-CEOs Lee Ranson and Mark Wasserman, Khasawneh will lead the firm’s external, client-facing AI strategy with a particular focus on generative AI. He is also charged with ensuring alignment between the firm’s AI client advisory practice and the firm’s use of AI and generative AI in its own operations.

The global AI leadership team will work with Khasawneh to ensure consistency in the rollout of the AI strategy across the firm. It includes head of commercial (international) Simon Gamlin, cybersecurity and privacy partner (US) Rachel Reid, Babar Hayat, head of technology and transformation for Konexo, Eversheds’ ALSP business, and Marie McGinley, head of technology (international).

The new global AI task force has been launched to help shape the firm’s external AI and generative AI strategy and ensure consistency between that strategy and the firm’s own use of the technology, as led by Rachel Broquard (service excellence partner, international) and Katrina Dittmer (head of legal technology, US).

Eversheds said the task force would consist of lawyers and business professionals from across the global firm and would be charged with assessing the potential development and use of AI and generative AI products, engaging with “relevant internal and external stakeholders and considering the associated legal, ethical and regulatory compliance issues”.

The firm is also rolling out a generative AI skills development programme for all its legal teams and business professionals, with the first stage to be delivered through the new ‘Generative AI Fundamentals for Law Firms’ training developed by US e-learning company SkillBurst. 

Eversheds is part of a consortium of 11 global law firms that has worked with SkillBurst to develop the training programme, which the firm described as “first-of-its-kind legal industry training”. Other firms in the consortium include Norton Rose Fulbright, Perkins Coie, Thompson Coburn and Womble Bond Dickinson. 

Co-CEO Ranson commented: “Generative AI is almost certainly the gamechanger, a technology that will act as the catalyst for a fundamental shift in the legal profession. We want to be able to both navigate the impact of the challenges and opportunities this will create, but also to be able to work with our people and our clients with a ‘people plus technology’ approach. 

“Nasser is ideally placed to lead our AI client advisory work given his decades of experience in the TMT sector, and his equally long-standing relationships with many of our key clients in this exciting and fast-evolving space.”

Last month, Macfarlanes became the latest law firm to announce a partnership with HarveyAI, an artificial intelligence startup backed by an OpenAI-managed investment fund. It joined the likes of Allen & Overy (A&O) and PwC in partnering with Harvey, creator of a generative AI tool designed specifically for legal work. 

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