David Wakeling


David is Global Head of Markets Innovation Group (MIG), a group of lawyers and developers who are focused on the creation of innovative solutions for clients to meet large-scale legal and regulatory challenges.

David advises some of the largest companies in the world on the safe deployment of AI in their businesses and is regarded as one of the leading AI lawyers in the world. 

He is also leading A&O Shearman in the development of its AI strategy and chairs the firm’s AI SteerCo, playing a pivotal role in the firm's deployment of generative AI.
Under David’s leadership ContractMatrix was developed by the firm, a system that uses AI to enhance contract drafting, review and analysis. This involved the first ever collaboration to develop a software product between a law firm and Microsoft. This system is used extensively within A&O Shearman and also by clients. The firm became the first law firm in the world to deploy generative AI via Harvey.

These innovations received widescale coverage in press, including the Financial Times and other leading international publications.

David has previously served as co-chair of the Race and Ethnicity Committee.


Representative matters

David’s key AI advisory credentials include:

Member of the Policy Steerco for, and legal advisory to, Partnership on AI, the global AI organisation that sets standards around responsible AI deployment by businesses around the world and informs the standards for regulation of AI.

Established and leads A&O Shearman’s AI Working Group, through which a syndicate of more than 70 global clients (including numerous G-SIFIs) receives syndicated advice on substantive legal questions and issues affecting businesses deploying generative AI (see further below).

Advising a UK-based G-SIFI on their generative AI strategy, with advice spanning the design and build of an AI risk assessment tool for triaging AI use cases, AI use policies, AI vendor risk assessment tools, and a range of generative AI license agreements.

Pro bono

David is a founder and trustee of Alice’s Arc, a children’s cancer charity and has advised on its incorporation, its governance and on certain areas of EU law relating to drug trials.

Published Work

  •  “Generative AI and Legal Risk” as a chapter of “Cyber Security: Law and Guidance (2nd Edition)”, London: Bloomsbury, publication end 2024

Speaking Engagements

  • Media interview, The Economist, Don't fear an AI-induced jobs apocalypse just yet, March 2023
  • Media interview, The Wall Street Journal, How Can Companies Use Generative AI? Here’s an Early Adopter, May 2023
  • Media interview, Politico, How Lawyers Use AI, May 2023
  • Media interview, Wired magazine, Generative AI is coming for the lawyers, February 2023
David was shortlisted as one of the most Innovative Lawyers in Europe by the Financial Times.
He was picked as a "Rising Star" of up-and-coming executives under 40 in finance by Financial News, a Dow Jones publication.



Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 2003


Oxford University AI Artificial Intelligence Programme, 2023
BA (Hons), Law, University of Southampton, 1999
A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.