Staff at law firm Kennedys could become CEOs of their own legal start-ups after it shortlisted six of the more than 100 proposals generated through its Ideas Lab.
The six shortlisted proposals will now be turned into prototypes with the help of the firm’s offshore development team.
The six successful ideas focus on clients’ pinch points, such as helping them to make quicker and better decisions on liability and settlement offers, to dealing with litigants in person, and to respond to major incidents.
Their creators range from a senior Kennedys partner in London to a paralegal in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Staff in the Melbourne and Hong Kong offices are behind two of the other ideas.
The Kennedys Ideas Lab, which was launched last summer as part of the firm’s drive to continue to develop and deliver 21st century legal services for clients, is a platform through which any member of the firm can come forward with innovative ideas about how to create future products. All ideas must align with the firm’s core principle of helping clients to use lawyers only when they really need one.
It received more than 100 ideas from across the firm’s global network of offices, of which 50 went through to a second stage. Thirty of these ideas were chosen to present detailed business cases, which have now been boiled down by the firm’s research and development (R&D) board to the six most promising.
Ultimately, the R&D board will decide whether the ideas meet the criteria to be built into full products and added to the firm’s Innovations Toolkit. The members of staff behind the ideas could become CEO of their own start-up.
Richard West, partner and head of innovations at Kennedys, said: “What’s most pleasing about the response to the Ideas Lab is that it shows how we have genuinely instilled a culture of innovation across our global network. It was extremely difficult to reduce the many great ideas to the final six.
“What marked the successful out, was their potential to make life easier for our clients around the globe and lessen their reliance on external legal support. While this might seem a counterintuitive move for a law firm, we believe it will ultimately be in the best interests of both Kennedys and our clients.”
The Kennedys toolkit, a suite of products anchored to the firm’s core principle, consists of virtual defence lawyer KLAiM, risk management app @scene, live fraud detection tool Ki, social media tool Geofencing, and Cybersettle, an online settlement tool for disputes. Last year, the number of clients using the firm’s Toolkit products trebled.
In June, Kennedys recruited two leading data scientists for its data science team in the latest chapter of its plans for technology innovation.