Sullivan & Cromwell eyes artificial intelligence growth with new practice launch

New AI practice will be co-led by partners Nader Mousavi, Mehdi Ansari and Presley Warner

Sullivan & Cromwell AI practice co-head Nader Mousavi Photo courtesy of Sullivan & Cromwell

Top 25 US firm Sullivan & Cromwell has opened a specialist artificial intelligence practice to tap into the boom in generative AI technology and growing client demand for AI-related advice.

The firm has appointed a trio of lawyers to co-head the new practice area, including New York and Palo Alto-based co-head of the firm’s intellectual property and technology group Nader Mousavi, fellow IP and tech co-head Mehdi Ansari in New York, and London-based head of the European credit and leveraged finance practice Presley Warner.

Mousavi’s AI credentials include advising OpenAI on its multi-billion dollar partnership with Microsoft, while Ansari teaches a course at Columbia Law School on IP transactions, including AI. Warner, meantime, is a regular author and lecturer on AI issues and sits on the City of London Law Society’s AI committee.

Robert J. Giuffra Jr. and Scott Miller, Sullivan & Cromwell’s co-chairs, said: “Our lawyers have been advising clients on AI-related legal issues for years, but the rapid development, adoption and commercialisation of generative AI has expanded the need for advice from clients across all industries, and our practice has grown with it.”

They added: “Building on our technology and corporate transactional expertise, formalising our AI practice enables us to better support clients looking for counsel in this area.”

The practice will offer advice on a wide-range of AI issues related to using and commercialising AI tools. The AI team brings technological expertise and understanding of the complex legal, policy and ethical considerations that adopting AI presents for organisations. As well as advising ChatGPT creator OpenAI, it has also advised Andreessen Horowitz-backed conversational AI platform on its partnership with Google Cloud.

Mousavi said: “AI presents tremendous opportunities for companies, but also significant uncertainty around how to responsibly integrate this powerful technology. Our integrated global approach and the cross-practice collaboration that we bring to every matter, coupled with our deep understanding of the various technology, legal, policy and ethical considerations, allows S&C to provide clients with practical advice for navigating this high-stakes environment.”

The group will also work closely with Sullivan & Cromwell’s AI Task Force, which is exploring the the use of AI to improve the firm’s legal service delivery, such as AIDA (AI Discovery Assistant) – a tool that supports first-level document review.

Other firms have also been building up their AI benches. Last October, Eversheds Sutherland appointed its first global AI head Nasser Ali Khasawneh to lead its newly-formed global AI leadership team.

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