“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Nathan-Ross Adams


Legal Services

Organisation / Company



Nathan-Ross Adams, 30, is the founder and managing director of ITLawCo. The best way to describe what he does is to use his own words: “I help the world’s most innovative organisations to safely, lawfully and profitably leverage frontier technologies, such as artificial intelligence.” Nathan-Ross is developing an artificial intelligence safety programme to train African leaders on the intersection of AI safety, grand strategy and geopolitics. The programme aims to equip leaders with the skills to navigate the complexities of AI while ensuring its safe use. The programme has provided input to the African Union’s draft AI white paper and South Africa’s national AI strategy. One of Nathan-Ross’s most challenging jobs was working on a multinational company’s data privacy programme and having to understand the complex regulations in the Middle East and Africa. By building solid relationships with stakeholders and regulatory bodies, his team overcame these difficulties. He says the advancements in AI, cybersecurity and data privacy will reshape industries, economies and how we live and work.


Bachelor of Laws, University of the Western Cape
Master of Laws, University of the Western Cape
Doctor of Laws (candidate), University of Johannesburg


Being selected as a 2024 Fellow of Schmidt Futures (International Strategy Forum) is one of my proudest achievements. This fellowship recognises individuals poised to tackle critical global problems through innovative thinking and strategic leadership. Being chosen for this fellowship speaks to my commitment to driving meaningful change in law and technology.
Throughout the fellowship, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of leaders from around the world, each bringing unique perspectives and expertise. This experience has taught me the value of interdisciplinary collaboration and the importance of diverse viewpoints in solving complex problems. It has reinforced my belief that innovation thrives in environments where ideas are freely exchanged and challenged.
Additionally, the fellowship has provided invaluable insights into global strategic issues and enhanced my ability to think critically and act decisively in high-stakes situations. It has also underscored the importance of resilience and adaptability as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of international relations and technological advancements.


Haroon Meer, chief executive of Thinkst Applied Research, has significantly influenced me. His innovative approach to cybersecurity and relentless pursuit of excellence have taught me the importance of staying ahead of industry trends and constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Lillian Barnard, the president of Microsoft Africa, has inspired me with her leadership and commitment to empowering others in the tech industry. Her trailblazing career and dedication to diversity and inclusion have been a guiding light in my professional path.
Lance Michalson, vice-president of Group Legal at NTT DATA, Inc, has also played a pivotal role in my career development. His strategic vision and comprehensive understanding of legal frameworks in the tech industry have provided me with invaluable insights. His guidance has taught me the importance of combining legal acumen with business strategy to drive effective outcomes.
David Tollen, founder of Tech Contracts Academy, has shaped my understanding and approach to technology contracts. His expertise and insights have honed my skills and ensured I can navigate tech law’s complexities with confidence and precision.
These role models have collectively reinforced the value of continuous learning, innovation and leadership with integrity. Their examples inspire me to strive for excellence.