As CEO of JND Legal Administration, Jennifer Keough makes a case for litigation to be handled efficiently.
Her company is hired by law firms, corporate entities and government agencies to handle tasks such as consultations, notifications, website development and communications. JND Legal Administration handles these tasks for class action lawsuits, corporate restructurings, mass tort litigation and other legal matters.
“We help companies implement complicated legal settlements and remediation programs,” Keough told FierceCEO.
Before being part of the formation of JND Legal in 2016, Keough was COO and EVP at another legal administration firm, Garden City Group. She and two colleagues left that company to start JND Legal.
Standing at a crossroads
“We were at a crossroads,” Keough said. “We had five-year contracts coming up and we decided we could make a lot of money for someone else or put our money where our mouths were and start our own company.”
Keough was chosen to lead the firm “based on my background and what I am contributing to the company,” she said. “I have a tenacious spirit and passion about what we are doing at JND.”
The company is financially backed by the three partners and with venture capital funding from Stone Point Capital. Keough said the amount of backing by Stone Point is in the millions of dollars, but she is not allowed to give an exact figure under terms of the VC firm’s agreement with JND.
While it does not practice law, JND Legal is structured to handle massive administrative processes that complex legal proceedings require. For law firms, it is more cost-effective to outsource these services to a legal administration services provider, Keough said.
An example is the corporate restructuring and Chapter 11 sector, in which a firm like JND Legal is retained by the corporate debtor as a “claims and noticing agent,” providing the administrative infrastructure for large-scale cases by handling all of the claims, balloting and other communication with the creditors in the case. Within the class action space, one example of the role of a company like JND is notifying people of possibly being a claimant in a class action settlement for goods or services purchased.
Many large cases
JND Legal has participated in more than 350 cases. They include the largest remediation ever done in Canada involving alleged price fixing, Keough said. Everyone in that country over the age of 18 or 19 that bought bread in the last 15 years is a potential claimant.
She has also testified before the U.S. Senate Committee for Indian Affairs for a case that involved allegations the U.S. didn’t manage Indian affairs properly.
Keough went to law school, and she says she prefers legal administration over working at a law firm because “it marries the best of both worlds for me. There is the business finance side and the legal aspect. And as a company, we are involved in the solution, not the litigation.”
The work can be challenging. “We’re handling very complicated projects at a very high level that involve 15,000 moving parts,” Keough said. “The challenge is getting it right.”
Fast Five with Jennifer Keough
What's the key to finding new opportunities for revenue?
Being in touch with your market and using tenacious effort to capitalize on the opportunity.
When have you had to adapt and what did you learn?
Every day and each time I learned something different.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 lowest and 10 highest) how much of a priority do you place on the following things at your company: people, process and technology?
What's one tip for motivating employees?
Providing genuine appreciation and real opportunity.
What do you wish you had known 5 years ago that you know now?
It’s as important to find ways to work smarter as it is to work hard.