For someone who leads a technology group, Jonathan Kewley of Clifford’s Chance is remarkably wary of the negative impact technology can have on the world.
The co-head of the operation, which includes Hitting 600 lawyers and every practice position in the global firm, he limits his kids’ screen time, just like most parents.
“Technology can have a negative impact,” he said. We’ve seen the impact of online bullying, abuse, on mental health, especially in children.
But it was these threats that helped propel the group. Revenue from the company’s technology group grew by more than 16 percent in the latest financial year..
Threats of data theft, cybercrime and racial bias are important factors for companies to consider as the role and scope of technology grows. The opposite of the meta, while gaining new growth opportunities, also needs special attention “learning how to play safely in that position”.
It was these more concrete, real concerns that were at the forefront of Kewley’s practice.
“The concept of the Internet harming you or your children, or harming minorities or vulnerable groups… This was not something 20 years ago, and now it’s a whole new area of law.
Since starting his legal career 15 years ago, Kewley has seen technological advances continue at a rapid pace. As a result, new opportunities have arisen in law—people in the industry like Kewley have been at the forefront to take advantage and connect with older areas of law.
“We have seen a new area of law develop, driven by innovation. Huge companies and huge value are created from technology. We’ve seen the creation of products that push the boundaries of the law, and to some extent that law never existed before.
As opportunities increased, earnings followed. It leads to a recent increase in income.
Alongside revenue growth, the team has made several legal hires in recent months, including Kornbacher, whose appointment marks the start of further US technology expansion and two London-based technology partners Zaid Al Jameel from Norton Rose Fulbright and IP Partner. Don McComb From Ashurst.
Practice, cross the border
Launched in 2017, The Technology Group provides legal professionals from all practices within the firm. Accordingly, the group can provide clients with a multi-faceted approach to any technology-related issues they may have, Kewley explained.
He explained: “Law firms have historically been very busy with practice areas. But really, the product is what our customers think. They don’t care what practice we sit in, they care about getting the best advice. And for technology, this advice often comes from a mixed group of people.
And given Technology itself covers geographical boundaries, and the management reflects that. Kewley will lead the technology team in Europe in partnership with Paul Landless in Singapore and US partner Desislava Savova.
“If you think about cyber-attacks, it’s not limited to one country. You can’t rely on one corridor in a London law firm to help you, you need many different specialists from around the world,” he added.
That concept could translate into a virtual office for Clifford’s opportunity at some point. “I’m sure we’ll have a virtual office at some point. The world of NFTS, blockchain, online payments, virtual communications is all a huge, exciting area of opportunity.–But again you have to play it safe in that position,” he warned.
The group aims to grow from the grass-roots level with a particular focus on diversification. In the year In 2018, Kewley helped launch it. Ignition, a training contract open to legal and non-legal candidates, focused on legal technology that, in its own words, creates a “diverse flow of talent” for trainees. He said that the non-traditional approach has the advantage of attracting candidates from different backgrounds.
Recently, Kewley partnered with his former alma mater, Hertford College, to help launch a scholarship program to support underrepresented youth studying computer science. He believes that it is very important from the beginning to fight against algorithmic bias and other technological prejudices.
“A lot of the groups that develop the technology are white middle-class men, and then their attitudes and biases and prejudices can be built into the algorithms and then we start to see those prejudices increase in society.
“If we get people from different backgrounds to develop and face the technology, we can fix this from the ground up,” he added.
Kewley hopes that eventually every member of the organization will be a part of the technology team, and recognizes that it is critical to Clifford’s future.
“Every client we work with is on a journey of technology change and everyone needs to be involved. It’s about future-proofing the business.”