Kennedys announced this month that it has rolled out its online litigation platform KLAiM in Latin America to coincide with the creation of a research and development (R&D) function in Mexico City that will serve the UK top 100 law firm’s Latin American, Caribbean and US clients.
Innovation manager Tom Gummer has relocated to the Mexico City office and, while still reporting into head of research and development, Karim Derrick, is working closely with Alex Guillamont, head of Kennedy’s Latin America and Caribbean practice.
Kennedys said that the new R&D function is supporting the roll-out of KLAiM – which allows clients to deal with litigation and other processes without a lawyer – and the development of other online products in Latin America.
KLAiM launched in the UK in 2012 and this year the firm announced that it had been adapted to work across Kennedys’ international network including the USA, Bermuda, Hong Kong and Australia. Kennedys says that clients already using the platform are settling in excess of 80% of their claims inside the system without the need for a lawyer at all. Projected savings in indemnity spend and legal fees, for UK clients using KLAiM, over the next 12 months is £5 million ($6.4m).
We asked Kennedys what it will take in practice to achieve its plans for LatAm – is it market ready and how much work is involved within what time frame? Here is what Gummer had to tell us.
What will it take to get KLAiM up and running in LatAm – presumably a lot of local law involvement?
We follow the same model as we have successfully in US, Australia and Europe – with product adaptation taking a matter of weeks rather than months. I work with our local lawyers & experts in the jurisdictions (I speak Spanish) to map out the relevant workflows/documents, and then closely with our development teams to ensure quick deployment. What we have found so far is that there are workflows (particularly pre-litigation) that might follow similar patterns across the region and so should scale with minimal individual country adaptation. However there is always work to be done ensuring local law/jurisdiction is adhered to (after all that is what we do as a law firm).
Is it still early stages and what has to happen for KLAiM to be available to clients?
We have products market ready now and working in Spanish, with more in the development pipeline. This is in response to consistent interest from, and meetings with, key clients in the region, who have seen how the platform can be adapted to function in Spanish/Portuguese. LatAm is advanced beyond what many are lead to believe – the key global players have strong presence in the market and regional hubs may often mirror innovation trends set by HQ hubs in Europe and/or the US.
What does the R&D centre mean in practice – is it just you or is it going to be built into something bigger?
I am based out of Mexico City, suitably located in between US and LatAm and I’m our ‘Indiana Jones’ for now, spearheading market exploration. I report into Karim and Richard West on developments and progress, and work closely with the head of the region Alex Guillamont plus the regional office heads to respond to client demand for product. It is all part of our expansion plan – putting innovation structures in place to serve our global client base. Watch this space.