Nixon Peabody has named Aaron Yowell as its next Chief Innovation Officer. Through his forward-looking leadership, Aaron will guide the firm in leveraging technology and new methods to provide greater value to clients, identifying new lines of business and providing high-quality and timely advice and counsel.
Nixon Peabody has an established commitment to innovation by being one of the first major law firms to appoint a “Chief Innovation Officer.” Aaron succeeds Herb Stevens, who served in the role since 2011.
“Innovation is key to our culture as we inspire attorneys to think beyond the ordinary to serve our clients,” said Andrew Glincher, CEO and managing partner of Nixon Peabody. “Aaron is an entrepreneur at heart and has a long track record of anticipating new and different ways we can provide value to our clients.”
Aaron, who is a partner in Nixon Peabody’s Affordable Housing practice, represents private, public and nonprofit developers, investors and real estate owners, with a focus on affordable and supportive housing developers. “I am constantly piloting new ways we can reduce friction for our clients, creating more and better opportunities to leverage existing assets and unlock new lines of business,” said Aaron.
Aaron approaches his transactions using an analytic collaborative paradigm that is heavily drawn on in the tech sector but rarely seen in the legal space. From project management software to capturing trends in tracked data, Aaron can deploy the strengths of each attorney and professional where needed to maximize his deal teams’ efficiencies and provide the best client service. Aaron will devote a significant portion of the innovation initiative to better stitch together and operationalize Nixon Peabody’s data, sharing it with his colleagues in actionable ways.
In the early dot-com era, Aaron was a programmer and startup consultant. He has built on that experience during his legal career. While at Nixon Peabody, Aaron spearheaded a “Code the Deal” hackathon, bringing together stakeholders in legal tech—engineers, technologists and lawyers—to develop solutions around transactional legal practice.
“I’ve known Aaron for years as an exceptionally innovation-focused law firm partner, including through our collaboration on the Code the Deal legal hackathon,” said Noah Waisberg, CEO of Kira Systems, a leading provider of artificial intelligence in legal tech. “In selecting Aaron, Nixon Peabody has picked an entrepreneurial attorney who really cares about the impact innovation can have on the legal industry.”
As CIO, Aaron will create an innovation task force to steer forward the firm’s initiatives and collaborations in cutting-edge industries including autonomous vehicles and their impact on real estate, land use and infrastructure; esports and its increasing omnipresence across legal matters involving intellectual property, trademark, commercial litigation and M&A, among others; and the rapidly evolving use of blockchain technology in all areas of business.
Aaron’s task force will also build upon the many innovation initiatives already in place at Nixon Peabody such as IDEALab, a collaborative initiative that helps Nixon Peabody lawyers source new ideas to solve clients’ business problems, and Imagination Summer, a program that allows summer associates to envision new products or services.
Aaron’s early initiatives will focus on ways to expand the firm’s use of project management to understand how best to deploy firm resources and knowledge to deal teams, increase collaborative working relationships with clients and encourage Nixon Peabody professionals to incorporate innovation into their daily routine. “I’m excited to take a look at what we are already doing and help my colleagues and our clients do new and more valuable work,” said Aaron Yowell, CIO.