Kennedys expands new Leeds office with dual hire

Kennedys has boosted its new office in Leeds with the hire of industrial disease partners Darren Goldthorpe and Gary Brankin.

Both join from BC Legal, bringing with them Harjinder Gill, senior associate, Liam Bedford, senior associate and Rachel Durant, litigation executive.

In January Kennedys acquired a 36-strong insurance team from Langleys which saw them open an office in Leeds, the firm’s 12th in the UK and 42nd globally.

We continue to grow as we look to focus on the areas that are important to our clients. We are very pleased to be expanding so rapidly in the North, following the opening of our new office in Leeds and alongside our offices in Sheffield, and Manchester.

Darren, who previously worked at DAC Beachcroft, and Beresfords, is an expert in noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) claims and has a special interest in all aspects of medical causation. His practice covers claims of higher/lower frequency losses and those which involve exposure from non-traditional sources, alongside a wide variety of disease claims. He has managed a mixed portfolio of disease claims for major corporations.

Gary worked with Darren at BCL and DAC Beachcroft. He is primarily focussed on managing a team running high value asbestos litigation in the High Court, with a primary focus on the Local Authority sector.

Darren and Gary share a keen interest in tech innovation having worked together to develop IT tools which helped to deliver the lowest average case cost, lowest total claimants costs paid and the highest number of nil settlements, together with the highest repudiation rate of 77% across a portfolio of over 22,000 NIHL claims.

Last year Kennedys launched its own technology company, Kennedys IQ, that provides machine learning tools and data-powered analytics to insurer claims functions and large corporates. It is a limited company and is wholly owned by Kennedys Law LLP.

Richard West, partner, Kennedys said: “We’ve known Gary and Darren for a number of years. Both are liked and highly respected within this field, and their recruitment marks our intention to grow our disease practice further. I’m particularly pleased that they share our passion for utilising technology to advance the claims process.”

Nick Thomas, senior partner, Kennedys commented: “We continue to grow as we look to focus on the areas that are important to our clients. We are very pleased to be expanding so rapidly in the North, following the opening of our new office in Leeds and alongside our offices in Sheffield, and Manchester. Those offices, in addition to those in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Chelmsford are now at the heart of our thriving and growing disease practice”.

Darren Goldthorpe said: “Kennedys is going to be a natural home for us. A combination of their innovation and reputation in this sector, matched with Kennedys depth of knowledge in the general insurance sector will help us to build our practise and support our clients.”

Gary Brankin added, “I am looking forward to joining Kennedys and particularly having the opportunity to work with their disease team and the Kennedys IQ team. Given the interest and experience Darren and I have in creating innovative products for our clients, we are excited to build on this.”