Kennedys IQ – Tech co head Mike Gilpin says ‘we want to be first’

This article first broke on the front page of the February Orange Rag.

Kennedys has launched a technology company called Kennedys IQ to house and deliver its tech-led client products, which it refers to as ‘Kennedys, without the lawyers.”

Kennedys IQ will be headed by former director of IT Mike Gilpin, who going forward will be Kennedys IQ’s commercial director. Gilpin’s role is being filled by Matthew Haynes, who joined the firm in 2015.

The global UK-headquartered law firm has set up Kennedys IQ to focus on client product development rather than on the firm’s internal efficiency, saying it “recognises that the future of legal services is not just about legal advice.”

The new platform will help clients manage insurance claims in less time and immediately house six tools that Kennedys has launched over the past few years to automate much of the claims process. Those tools are Incident Manager; Fraud Detector (formerly Ki); Portal Manager; Defence Lawyer  (powered by KLAiM); Settlement Negotiator (formerly Cybersettle); and Recovery Manager. It is worth noting that the UK is one of the most advanced jurisdictions for online courts with a fully functioning MoJ Portal for personal injury claims of up to £25,000.

The new company and platform has been launched partly in order help to better leverage Kennedys’ tech offerings and data and partly to help clients to understand what that offering is.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider ahead of the launch, Gilpin said: “In 2012 we started to promote our ‘less law’ approach and launched a set of products to support insurance claims in our target markets. Client feedback on those products was outstanding and we quickly found ourselves talking to the most senior people within our client. We have continued to grow the proposition and have added new solutions and grown the team, as well as securing government funding for investment in novel technology.

“We began to realise that the client was looking at us and saying, ‘What are you’? You’re offering these services, but you don’t’ typically get that from a law firm.’ We saw an opportunity to create a new business – Kennedys IQ – which is a software and services company that is completely separate from the law firm. It demonstrates our commitment to our clients in that we are creating a solution that will live for a long time and continue to evolve, which hour clients find reassuring.”

Much like when Clifford Chance launched Applied Solutions, which houses solutions such as its white labelled contract automation service CC Dr@ft, partners within Kennedys have struggled to sell and price its software offering and Gilpin said: “One thing that holds innovation back is that lawyers don’t understand how to sell technology and don’t know how to value it. They can attribute value to the legal process but not the technology and for the longevity of the sector it’s important that we can realise the value of the products.”

Kennedys IQ is made up of 30 people split between the UK and Kerala, India. The platform will be used to develop further products as well as lead bespoke work with select clients across different jurisdictions. It is envisaged that the solutions will be either subscription-based or, more commonly, pay per use.

Kennedys will continue to have an internal R&D team as part of its IT function, but IQ will be the client facing entity.

Gilpin was instrumental in the creation of Linklaters online advisory service Blue Flag, which was launched 20 years ago. He said: “What I find interesting here is that Kennedys thinks differently and recognises the need to cannibalise their own business because somebody is going to do that, and we want to be there first.”