The future of legal services

Author: Richard West


Blending human expertise and machine learning

I first wrote about the need for law firms to rethink what they do and how they do it in 2009.
Since then, Kennedys has been at the forefront of this revolution. We have moved from being a law firm to a legal services provider. This might sound like semantics, but actually reflects a sharp change in approach that seeks to understand the problems clients have and come up with ways to solve them.

For many lawyers, the answer is usually simple – spend more money on us. But at Kennedys, we recognise that clients don’t want that. It is why we have made using lawyers less a core part of our message to the market for several years. We want to work in partnership, not be simply a legal technician who shuts the file and sends a bill at the end.

The fact that businesspeople roll their eyes at the thought of having to instruct lawyers is our fault, not theirs. But when they see that we want to be advisers who inform their strategy, and who offer the legal, industry and political know-how to add value to their operations, then the relationship suddenly becomes much more positive.

This is what Kennedys has done in recent years and it has been a success – for our clients and for us. We are not afraid to give clients the technological tools to handle legal work best kept in-house. It is what they expect and want. Innovation for many law firms means improving their own internal processes. To us, it means improving our clients’ processes.

Of course, there are certain tasks that cannot be substituted with technology and our global reach and expertise is at the heart of everything we do. But we also have an expert corporate and public affairs team constantly scanning the horizon for the next big challenges, and an R&D department that is developing the cutting-edge products that set us apart from the competition.

It is this blend of human expertise and machine learning that is at the core of Kennedys IQ, the next step in the evolution of our business.

We are aggregating the tens of thousands of years of collective experience in our global ranks and then enhancing it with data and machine learning to produce legal services products that are revolutionary.

This is our unique proposition.

By applying machine learning to multiple data points, we can uncover claims trends and best practice, as well as insight into how the client’s business is performing, what its competitors are doing, and what trends are emerging in the industry. The ‘baked-in’ expertise of our lawyers then helps create the tools clients need.

Kennedys IQ is a separate company built to ride the waves of a fast-moving world and that opens up the exciting possibility of forming joint ventures with our clients to develop tools together.

Collaboration is a key part of our long-term vision. For example, we are working with AXA Insurance UK, LeapBeyond and the University of Manchester to create a solution to automate the claims liability decision point and augment the processing workflow end-to-end. Last year, Innovate UK awarded us government funding for the project, which will ultimately lower the cost of insurance premiums for consumers and improve the customer experience through increased transparency and a quicker settlement.

To me, this is the future of legal services. Our aims have not changed since 2009, but Kennedys IQ marks a step change in the way we will achieve them.

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