Long-time Womble Bond Dickinson client Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) has honored the firm with the 2019 RAI Leadership Award for Innovation. Womble Bond Dickinson is the first law firm to be honored with this award.

In particular, the award recognizes the work done by Womble Bond Dickinson’s Case Management Facility (led by Ellen Gregg), Regulatory Affairs (led by Will Latham), Medical & Scientific Solutions (led by Chris Douglas) and Graphic Solutions (led by Alecia Moore) practices on behalf of RAI and its operating. Some of the firm’s innovations that directly benefitted RAI include:

  • Adapting service to address vendor changes—In 2019, an important long-term vendor contract relied on by RAI Services Company for FDA regulatory submissions was unexpectedly canceled. Womble filled that void by creating a new ancillary service focused on FDA behavioral research and backed by the experience of newly-hired experts, which directly addressed RAI’s unexpected unmet need.
  • Supporting Reynolds in a developing regulatory environment—Womble’s FDA regulatory team created significant value for RAI by providing scientific, legal, and drafting support for regulatory submissions. Obtaining marketing authorization for innovative new tobacco products, including those in the vapor and oral nicotine categories, is a business priority for RAI. Womble’s FDA regulatory team offers day-to-day support to RAI and its operating companies as the company positions itself to compete effectively and maintain leadership in those markets. 
  • Creating innovative new work products—The Medical & Scientific Solutions (MSS) Team invested in the development of an interactive, web-based system to improve the team’s ability to automate work product development, enhance features such as optical character recognition (OCR), streamline workflow, and reduce complexity. The development included the consolidation of multiple databases into one state-of-the-art system called “L2 Express,” which has allowed the MSS Team to not only manage the workload from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s personal injury litigation, but also allows for greater responsiveness to other clients. 
  • Providing talent and resources to improve litigation outcomes—Womble’s Graphic Solutions Team supported R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in a series of high-stakes arbitrations. The Womble team provided creative cutting-edge onsite support to keep the witnesses, attorneys, and arbitrators on track with key evidence with comprehensive educational demonstratives for the panel, visually enhanced basic textual demonstratives, and animated demonstratives to help explain presenting points.
  • Generating cost-savings through innovation—Womble’s Expert Witness Development Team drafted a programmatic method to capture key data around medical defense options early in the life of a smoking-and-health case. By reducing litigation expert witness and travel expenses, these innovations saved R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company six figures in 2019.

Each year, Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) and its operating companies—R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, American Snuff Company, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, RAI Services Company, RAI Trade Marketing Services Company, RAI Innovations Company, Kentucky BioProcessing, Inc., and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company—recognize partners from their supply base with their annual Supplier Diversity, Sustainability, and Innovation Leadership Awards.  These three areas represent core values of RAI and its operating companies, and the awards are designed to recognize excellence and drive continuous improvement in these areas.

The awards originally were to be presented in early 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement, and ultimately, the cancellation, of the banquet.