Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, has named John Fernandez its first Global Chief Innovation Officer to drive the Firm’s innovation initiatives.
Fernandez has served as Dentons’ US Chief Innovation Officer and is also the global chair of Nextlaw Labs, an autonomous legal technology business accelerator wholly owned by Dentons. Nextlaw Labs works closely with the Firm’s lawyers, professionals and clients to identify investment and co-development opportunities for new technologies that will transform the legal industry to deliver greater client value.
John is the steward behind Dentons’ award-winning Nextlaw Labs and the affiliate companies in the Nextlaw portfolio. He collaborated with leadership on the founding of Nextlaw Labs and the unveiling of the suite of Nextlaw companies, including Nextlaw Referral Network, Nextlaw Public Affairs Network and more recently Nextlaw In-House Solutions.
In his new role, John will drive Dentons’ Project Innovation and will oversee the Nextlaw portfolio initiatives.
“I am thrilled and honored to be appointed to this new position at a firm that has already made great strides towards innovation in delivering client services,” Fernandez said. “Already, Dentons is on its way to becoming synonymous with innovation in the legal profession.”
Fernandez has been widely recognized as an innovator. In August, he was appointed to a one-year term on the governing council of the American Bar Association Center for Innovation. The 14-member governing council, in conjunction with its advisory council, direct the activities of the ABA Center for Innovation.
Prior to joining Dentons, Fernandez was Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development under President Obama. In that role, he transformed the Economic Development Administration into a 21st Century organization and launched the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. John was one of the chief architects of President Obama’s regional innovation strategies.
Fernandez also previously served as Mayor of Bloomington, Indiana, where he worked with the private sector to develop a vibrant business climate that fostered more than $243 million in private investments and creating more than 3,700 jobs. He also developed an aggressive downtown revitalization plan resulting in more than $100 million in new investments.
“Even before this appointment, in his role as chairman of Nextlaw Labs, John has helped Dentons become world-renowned as an innovator in the legal profession,” said Elliot Portnoy, Global CEO of Dentons. “Now we will unleash him to help us drive innovation in the Firm across the entire globe.”
“This is yet another step in our effort to challenge the status quo of the legal profession through innovation,” said Joe Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons.
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