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Derek Southall

Founder and CEO, Head of Innovation and Digital

Hyperscale Group Ltd, Gowling WLG


Derek Southall, is a high profile and very well connected figure in the legal technology, innovation and digital marketplaces and was recently described as the “Doyen of legal IT and Innovation”.

Derek has spent nearly 25 years in a range of leading strategic roles for GowlingWLG for most of this time as a Partner and Head of Strategic Development. Derek started his professional life as a corporate lawyer but since 1999 he has immersed himself in the world of Technology and Productivity, Digital, Innovation, Strategy and Knowledge Management as well as organisational and market change. During this time Derek has delivered a range of strategic projects both for the firm and its global clients (the latter ranging from some of the biggest legal teams in the world to the very smallest).

Derek has spent over 17 years working both within the business and with major global clients in developing strategies and implementing a range of business improvement projects relating to technology, digital, compliance, risk, and productivity. The firm has grown from £27mil when Derek joined to over £400mil at today’s date. Derek has played a key role in supporting this growth through the dotcom era, multiple recessions, internationalisation, head quarter moves and several waves of technological changes.

Derek has led the firm’s innovation strategy and in 2016 the firm was named by the FT as the second most innovative law firm in Europe. Derek has also been the driving force behind winning a range of other awards.

The Financial Times ranked Derek as one of the top three most innovative lawyers in the UK in their first study into the UK market and he was recognised in 2017’s prestigious Acritas Stars database as a one of few Star Lawyers delivering outstanding service. Derek has also been relationship partner for a long list of major household name clients in a range of sectors including Automotive, FMCG, Financial Services, Food and Drink, Fashion and Construction.

In April 2017 Derek stepped down from the GowlingWLG partnership to set up www.hyperscalegroup.com of which he is Chief Executive. Hyperscale Group delivers a range of services in relation to Innovation, Digital, Futures, Strategy, Operational Excellence and more. The company works for corporates, in house legal teams, software companies, venture capitalists, SMEs, start-ups, law firms and other professional services businesses.

The purpose of the company is to help businesses to maximise their potential in an increasingly digitised and complex world.

Derek also chairs and was one of the founders of the Legal IT Innovators Group which plays a key role in driving ahead technological thinking and change for the good of the legal profession. In this role he has worked alongside the United Nations and a range of other large organisations.