Reed Smith taps Winston’s Cunningham for new innovation chief role

The law firm Reed Smith LLP in Manhattan, New York City. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

  • David Cunningham served as Winston & Strawn chief information officer
  • Reed Smith says firm seeks to “transform” operations

(Reuters) – Reed Smith has hired legal innovation and operations veteran David Cunningham as its first chief innovation officer, joining a growing list of law firms with such a c-suite role.

Cunningham joins Reed Smith in Houston from Winston & Strawn, where he served as chief information officer since 2012. He will continue to lead Legal Metrics, a consortium he founded that automates performance and diversity analytics between law firms and legal departments, Reed Smith said in a statement announcing his hire Thursday.

The Pittsburgh-based firm said Cunningham’s arrival “comes at a significant time for Reed Smith, as the global firm seeks to transform its operations to accelerate the delivery and performance of legal services for clients and unlock new levels of client value.”

Reed Smith in 2018 launched Gravity Stack, a legal tech and solutions subsidiary. The firm also cited as examples of its innovation efforts Reed Smith Global Solutions, a shared-services provider, and the firm’s recent partnership with no-code service automation platform BRYTER.

The goal of the role is to bring together the firm’s various efforts into a “unified and focused” strategy, Cunningham said.

Cunningham has a lot on his agenda. Reed Smith said he will build on those offerings and put them “into an umbrella of technology solutions and shared services.” He will also bring new products and services to market and set the strategy for Reed Smith’s data and analytics efforts, the firm said.

Cunningham said his first few months will involve working with the firm to establish strategic goals and metrics on what the firm hopes to accomplish each year. “Part of the role like this is to determine what is going to happen,” he said. “Which is part of the fun and the challenge.”

He said he was attracted by the commitment to innovation shown by the firm’s leadership.

“We must continue to create new service offerings and products that deliver more agile and customized client support – all with the purpose of helping our clients drive their businesses forward,” Reed Smith global managing partner Sandy Thomas said in a statement. “David brings the ultimate entrepreneurial approach to the delivery of legal services.”

As Winston & Strawn’s CIO, Cunningham led innovation efforts, including in areas such as information technology, data analytics, risk management and knowledge services, Reed Smith said.

“We thank Dave for his many years of service at Winston & Strawn, and wish him well in his new endeavor,” a firm representative said in an email statement.

Prior to joining the law firm, Cunningham spent 20 years at what is now HBR Consulting. He also played a role in supporting the early growth of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), Reed Smith said.

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Sara Merken

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at

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Sara Merken