Ashurst to develop tech-driven smart solutions for clients through Ashurst Digital Ventures

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    ADV will expand Ashurst's capability to include an in-house development and investment arm, which will provide innovative technology-led solutions to clients. Initially, ADV will have an "intrapreneurial" focus to capture, evaluate and deploy new digital products designed by Ashurst employees and clients, before being extended to enhance the firm's engagement with third-party technology companies.

    The new global team will be led by partners Tara Waters and Jamie Ng.

    Based in the London office, Tara began her career in the tech industry in New York, spending seven years architecting and developing digital solutions prior to becoming a lawyer. Her legal practice is focused on new technology innovations such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, advising high growth companies and venture and growth capital investors - and her team will help support ADV on potential partnerships and investment opportunities. Tara is active in the London tech community and mentors high growth companies, including through her participation in the Barclays Techstars Fintech Accelerator programme.

    Sydney-based partner Jamie Ng is global head of finance, funds and restructuring and has over 15 years' experience in complex structured finance and derivatives transactions. Jamie has played a lead role in driving the firm's innovation agenda having introduced initiatives such as the Ashurst's continuous legal process improvement framework, 5-step automated transaction bible systems amongst others. Jamie has advised on some of the most complex, innovative and first-to-market transactions including the launch of Australia's first "blockchain bond" by a supranational organisation. Jamie also actively advises a number of major financial institutions on DLT and artificial intelligence projects.

    Also joining the ADV team is Sarah Chambers, who joins from Simmons & Simmons, where she headed up the firm's Navigator team. Sarah has extensive experience in leveraging technology to deliver innovative legal solutions to clients.

    The launch of ADV coincides with the elevation of Ashurst Advance into a separate division of the firm, alongside the firm's four existing divisions, with Chris Georgiou appointed as division head from 1 May 2019, reflecting the firm's commitment to the transformation agenda.

    Tara Waters commented: 

    "Ashurst Digital Ventures is an essential extension of our global legal services business as we continue on our transformation journey. At its core it is about embracing change, evolution and revolution not only in the legal services market but each and every sector in which our clients operate.

    "As the digitalisation of our industries continue, we must find new and better solutions for the problems that we and our clients face, and deliver those solutions using 21st century technology. Becoming genuine partners and collaborators with clients, as well as technology providers, to create value and drive new business must become our new norm. These are the challenges to which Ashurst Digital Ventures intends to rise."

    Chris Georgiou commented:

    "Ashurst Digital Ventures is the next exciting step in the expansion of our Ashurst Advance offering to clients, and is one of the many ways we are embracing the changes our industry is facing and helping to transform how we deliver value to our clients. Clients’ demand for digital products offering real utility is accelerating, and ADV encourages lawyers, project managers, process experts and clients to collaborate in order to solve business problems. This collaborative approach in solution development and testing will enable us to deliver innovations that best serve the needs of our clients.

    "Establishing this new dedicated business reflects our commitment to building innovation into the core of our legal offering, and will complement the rapidly growing Ashurst Advance 'Delivery' business headed by Mike Polson offering legal excellence with efficient delivery."

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