Kennedys boosts innovation focus with arrival of data scientists


Law firm Kennedys has recruited to scientists to boost its data science team and expand its plans for technology innovation.

Dr Xi Liu has joined Kennedys as part of its Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Manchester to develop next-generation fraud prevention software, which the firm announced at the end of last year.

Joining alongside Xi is Dr Harvey Maddocks, who has a broader remit to develop the use of data across all of the law firm’s technology products for its insurance clients.

Liu has PhDs in applied statistics and computer science with business. She is a specialist in quantitative research methods and machine learning techniques.

Maddocks has a PhD in particle physics and brings both academic and tech sector experience in data analysis, data mining, statistics and software development, and machine learning.

The appointments will allow Kennedys to employ modern machine learning and text analytics techniques to develop its Ki fraud detection and intelligence tool into a widely used product.

Karim Derrick, head of research and development at Kennedys, said: “This is a very significant development for Kennedys which has the potential not only to take our intelligence capabilities to a new level, but to allow us to explore how we can use the same techniques and data in other areas for our broad cross-section of global insurer clients.”

Since Derrick’s appointment in 2016, the law firm has developed its capabilities in this area and now has an offshore prototyping development team, alongside an onshore development team and its Ideas Lab, an in-house internal incubation programme to encourage the generation of new, client-focused ideas.

Products include KLAiM, a virtual lawyer and online claims litigation tool, and Cybersettle, an online alternative to claims negotiations.

Kennedys partner Richard West oversees the firm’s innovation capabilities in conjunction with his fee-earning role as head of the firm’s liability division. He said: “We’ve achieved a great deal for clients with our Innovations Toolkit, but if we are to take it to the next level and create significant, business-changing outcomes for our clients, we need to develop our use of statistics, data and modern machine learning under Xi and Harvey’s guidance. As always, our aim remains to continually use technology to challenge existing practice and to help clients use lawyers only when they really need one.”

Pictured, left to right: Dr Xi Liu and Dr Harvey Maddocks

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via