A conversation between Donna Scully, co-owner at Carpenters Group & Bradley Collins, CEO of LegalTechTalk


In this interview with Donna Scully, co-owner at Carpenters Group, we gain insights into Carpenters Group’s role as a leading provider of insurance and legal services in the UK. Donna also shares valuable lessons from their in-house tech development journey, highlighting the benefits, challenges, and key projects that have shaped their technological approach. Lastly, she explores her excitement for emerging technologies and the role of AI in the legal sector while emphasising the importance of upholding trust, confidentiality, and human judgment.

Bradley Collins: Hi Donna, thanks again for your time – for those outside of the UK, do you mind offering a brief intro to yourself and to Carpenters Group?

Donna Scully: Carpenters Group is one of the UK’s leading providers of insurance and legal services. We work in partnership with an array of insurers and brokers to deliver a variety of fully outsourced claims solutions and have circa 1,300 colleagues across five offices throughout the UK.

Bradley Collins: As a technology-driven organisation, I’d love it if you could share some of the learnings of developing tech in-house. It would be good to hear the positives and the pitfalls.

Donna Scully: At Carpenters Group, we’ve taken on the challenge of developing our technology in-house, which has been an enlightening and fruitful journey. This strategic choice enables us to adapt Swiftly and flexibly to the changing landscape, tailoring our services to meet our unique business needs and those of our clients.

A crucial benefit of in-house tech development is agility. In a dynamic sector like ours, the ability to pivot and adapt promptly is key. Our rapid and effective integration with OIC’s API is a testament to this capability. This approach allows us to undertake long-term projects with an immediate feedback loop, enabling us to improve continually and stay ready for new challenges.

Some our notable projects have been the successful transformation of our MyClaim application, completely redeveloped, placing focus on the customer experience. For us, it was about ensuring our clients had a smooth, intuitive journey when interacting with us. Following on from this, we’re launching a new secure portal for sharing personal details, with data privacy and protection at the forefront.

This approach underpins our commitment to putting our clients first, ensuring we not only meet but exceed their expectations. However, in-house development does come with its own set of challenges. It requires substantial investment, not only in terms of resources but also in time and talent. Assembling a team that can bridge the gap between law and technology is no small feat, and the need to keep our systems updated, secure, and cutting-edge is an ongoing commitment.

Bradley Collins: Finally, what emerging technologies and innovations excite you the most, and why? 

Donna Scully: Looking ahead, AI promises to revolutionise how we handle, process, and draw insights from extensive volumes of data, especially as the legal profession is heavily information-centric. However, it’s crucial to approach the integration of AI into our operations with caution and there are risks to consider. The legal sector is built on trust, confidentiality, and human judgement.

As we adopt AI, it’s essential to ensure that these core tenets are upheld, that our clients’ data is protected and that the technology we use adheres to our industry’s ethical standards. It’s important to clarify that we don’t see AI as a pure decision-maker but as a tool that augments our capabilities. The human element is invaluable and irreplaceable in our profession and for Carpenters Group, the empathy you get from the personal interaction is a core value. AI will be there to assist and enhance what we do, driving us to deliver an even higher level of service.

I am incredibly proud to lead a team that continually pushes the boundaries of innovation and we’re excited about the integral role technology has in the future of the legal sector. It’s an essential part of our ongoing mission to deliver the best outcomes for every client and lead the way in our industry. We believe that when technology is harnessed correctly, it enables us to work smarter, serve our clients better and pioneer the way forward. The future of the legal sector is here and we are ready and eager to shape it.

Key Takeaways:

Key Takeaway 1: In-House tech development for agility Developing technology in-house offers agility and adaptability, enabling law firms to pivot and tailor services swiftly to meet evolving business needs. However, it requires substantial investment in resources, talent, and ongoing maintenance to stay cutting-edge. Law firms should consider the agility of in-house tech development to respond to dynamic sector changes.

Key Takeaway 2: Approach AI integration with caution and ethical considerations While AI holds promise for revolutionising data handling, legal professionals should approach AI integration cautiously. Upholding trust, confidentiality, and human judgment remains paramount. AI should be seen as a tool to augment capabilities rather than replace human involvement. Ethical standards and data protection are essential considerations when adopting AI.

Key Takeaway 3: Embrace technology for smarter work and enhanced client service Technology plays an integral role in the legal sector’s future. When harnessed correctly, it enables law firms to work smarter, deliver better client service, and pioneer advancements. Law firms should focus on leveraging technology to improve processes, enhance client experiences, and remain at the forefront of legal innovation.

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