UK top 200 law firm Kemp Little is set to launch an IP company called Dupe Killer, which focuses on creative brand protection to help its clients protect their designs and prevent copycats stealing their ideas. The launch, which is part of a plan to create a series of separate tech entities, follows the hire of chief digital officer Gerard Frith, who previously helped large corporates to create startups and digitally transform their businesses.

The plan is to leverage Frith’s experience to launch the companies in which Kemp Little will seek external investment as well as partner with other entities. Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Frith said:

“We’re creating not a lab but a way of creating new technology that will be spun out and that Kemp Little will retain a share of.”

We asked COO Siddartha Mankad if this is the right role for a law firm and he told us:

“That’s not the right question – it suggests that law firms are vocations and professionals that should just be doing law. A law firm is a business serving its client and where there is an idea and a construct that is right for the market you should do it.”

Kemp Little has already launched one subsidiary: in September it won the Innovation in the business of law: Technology award at the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards for its development of 4Corners; a database designed to convert complicated contracts into useable business data.

We spoke to Frith about his new role and the launch of Dupe Killer.

Can you tell us who you are and what your role is?

I’m Gerard Frith, chief digital officer at Kemp Little, which is a newly created role. I report to the managing partner and my role is to transform the organisation digitally, lead innovation and create new ideas for services and products to transform the way we relate to our clients.

When did you start at Kemp Little?

In April this year.

Where were you before that?

I have run various startups but immediately before I was helping large corporates to create startups. I’ve worked with companies like Experian and British Gas and prior to that I developed software using AI and machine learning.

Since April what changes have you introduced at Kemp Little?

There is now a different tone to a lot of the conversations, which none of us would have had without a framework for innovation internally. We are just bringing to market a new AI startup that we’ve created in the IP area. We’ve created it from scratch and already have three clients on board and its patent is pending. It will be a separate entity when we launch.

Is the ambition to create more than one company?

Yes, we’ll create a series of entities and the law firm will own part of them and we’ll have external investors in some and will partners with other entities. We’re creating not a lab but a way of creating new technology that will be spun out and that Kemp Little will retain a share of.

Is that the right role for a law firm to take?

The role of a law firm is to deliver great service to its clients and for that you need great AI and technology and firm need to understand their clients better and deliver what they need.