Inmarsat’s senior legal counsel Richard Oliphant has become electronic signature service DocuSign’s first EMEA general counsel, as the company looks to grow its market share in the region. 

The hire has been made ahead of the EU’s 2016 electronic identification legislation, which is intended to facilitate cross-border ecommerce enabling more contracts to be signed electronically. 

DocuSign already has a market share in US, with around 25 lawyers acting under former Zynga GC Reggie Davis. However, there has so far been a limited take-up of electronic signatures in the European market, with businesses opting for traditional manuscript methods instead. 

Oliphant joined the company on Monday (19 October) and is currently its only lawyer in the UK. However, he expects the country’s legal team to rapidly increase in the next few months, as DocuSign looks to grow following the legislation and through acquisitions. 

As well as recruiting new lawyers to the team, Oliphant expects to review which law firms are used by DocuSign in the EMEA area. 

He told The Lawyer: “The new legislation will be applicable in all 27 states, so we will need to find a firm that can advise on aspects of the Cloud in each of these regions.” 

Oliphant has worked as Inmarsat’s senior legal counsel for the past nine years, acting on the FTSE 100 company’s M&A transactions, regulatory issues and commercial agreements. 

In that time, he has served under a number of GCs at the satellite operator, including its now-CEO Rupert Pearce and current group GC Miriam Murphy. 

Before moving in-house, he was a senior associate at CMS Cameron McKenna.