CMS partners with GlaxoSmithKline to create digital academy

CMS has teamed up with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to establish a digital academy for the pharmaceutical giant’s in-house lawyers.

The academy will aim to help GSK lawyers gain a better understanding of new and emerging digital trends and their impact on the business.

The initiative has been pioneered by Peter Currie, global legal digital lead for GSK consumer healthcare, working in conjunction with CMS partner and head of digital and data, Elle Todd.

CMS is helping to curate and prepare the content for the academy’s course which, annually, consists of six bi-monthly webinars and one face-to-face seminar.

The firm will also provide speakers from its team of digital specialist lawyers, and line up external contributors.

Currie said: “The idea came from the need to have a thorough understanding of the tech space and how our clients are seeking to leverage those technologies, as well as generally becoming much more knowledgeable about the digital ecosystem and how to effectively advise within it.”

Todd added: “Often, lawyers may feel that they do not know enough about technology. The digital academy breaks it down and explains what these new technologies mean for lawyers in the context of business. This might include what kind of contracts they might see, or what kind of questions they might need to ask the business or be ready to respond to.”

Although the course has initially been aimed at GSK’s in-house lawyers, it is open to all functions. Currie noted: “The response thus far has been very positive – we’ve had several hundred participants, mostly from legal but also other functions.”

He added that groups such as compliance, marketing and regulatory are interested in replicating the programme, albeit with slightly different slants.

GSK consumer healthcare GC Sean Roberts said he wants to ensure the business gets “the right return on this significant investment”. To achieve this, he said the company will measure the legal team’s understanding of evolving digital trends. “This can be achieved in many ways, including through the use of gamification as a measurement tool.”