Reed Smith Launches Innovation Lab, Hires Anthropologist Boss from KPMG

Global law firm Reed Smith has launched an Innovation Lab, ‘a virtual space for discovering, incubating and accelerating creative ideas at the firm and alongside clients’. Leading the new venture will be anthropologist Madeline Boyer (pictured) who previously managed KPMG’s own innovation lab project.

The Lab is the brainchild of David Cunningham, Reed Smith’s chief innovation officer, who joined the firm in 2021 and began building it after a review of the firm’s tech resources and innovation projects, the firm said.

The idea is that the Lab will ‘foster team-building, provide comprehensive client service analysis, and accelerate professional growth and legal tech acumen at the firm’.

It will work in conjunction with Gravity Stack, the firm’s legal technology subsidiary; Reed Smith Global Solutions, the firm’s platform for delivering next-generation legal services; and the firm’s Practice Innovation, Client Value and Knowledge Management teams.

It will also focus on a pipeline of custom data solutions created for individual clients across various practices, they added.

Commenting on the move, Cunningham said: ‘Our new Innovation Lab will serve as both a business consulting unit and diagnostic testing ground. Under Madeline’s direction, the lab will help us thoughtfully reconsider how we deliver our legal services and what tech and alternative services complement our methods and playbooks.

‘Through her creative research and use of data, we will conduct cross-functional team analysis and facilitate collaborations in a positive employee-client experience that encourages innovation, productivity and flexibility.’

Boyer holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and business administration from the University of Notre Dame. At Penn, Boyer designed and conducted original, grant-funded ethnographic research on coworking spaces, virtual and hybrid communities, and the history and future of work. She is also the co-author of ‘Committed Teams: Three Steps to Inspiring Passion and Performance’.

Boyer concluded: ‘I am thrilled to join Reed Smith, which is known for its culture of innovation and collaboration. The firm has many existing resources working to develop legal tech and shape the law firm of tomorrow. The Lab is an incredible opportunity to build a new way of collaborating across these teams to accelerate change.’

Overall, a very positive development by Reed Smith, a firm that already has a strong reputation for innovation. Having a leader of the project who is well-versed in anthropology and human behaviour is an interesting move and no doubt Boyer’s skills will prove to be extremely useful for a project of this type inside a law firm. Good luck to them.