lawpilots – Interview with Dr. Dieter Kerkfeld


LTB: What does lawpilots do?

Kerkfeld: We are an e-learning provider focused on enabling employees in the legal aspects of digitization. The new EU-wide general data protection regulation GDPR that needs to be applied in May this year represents a big challenge for companies across the continent: They need to make sure all employees comply with the new, stricter data protection rules. Hence, they need to train staff, and on all levels, from the storage worker to human resources managers, as data protection affects nearly every job in our digitalized world. lawpilots offers short, fun and engaging online courses that are easy to understand and can be applied immediately in real working life.

LTB: What stage is your business currently at?

Kerkfeld: We launched with our first online course in data protection in Germany in September 2017 and are now preparing our EU-wide launch. We will first expand into key European markets such as France, Italy and Great Britain and ultimately plan to also venture into some non-EU countries.

LTB: Who are the founders and key-team-members of lawpilots?

Dr. Dieter Kerkfeld

Kerkfeld: lawpilots was founded in close partnership with Berlin-based law firm Schürmann Rosenthal Dreyer Rechtsanwälte and data protection consultancy ISiCO Datenschutz. Our founding partners bring along extensive experience in all questions and problems surrounding data protection and privacy. I myself have several years of experience in the creation of e-learning platforms.

LTB: How do you plan to scale the team in the next 12 months?

Kerkfeld: We are currently expanding our team at great speed to get ready for our international expansion. We already hired country managers to lead our launches in France and Italy and we plan to hire a few more for launches in the other main European markets.

LTB: What is the story behind lawpilots?

Kerkfeld: Our founding date, May 2017, is no coincidence: exactly one year before the GDPR ultimately comes into effect. The idea for lawpilots arose from a group of lawyers and data protection consultants who realized that many companies were ill-prepared for the upcoming change in rules on data protection. We decided to help them by offering innovative and engaging online trainings for their staff that not only explain the most essential rules in data protection but also what this means concretely for their jobs.

LTB: What are the key features of lawpilots? What is unique about it?

Kerkfeld: Our courses raise awareness and engage clients, which is why we ruled out power-point style or classical multiple-choice tests. For example, in our course on IT-security, the trainee becomes a hacker and by exploring the type of techniques often used in cyberattacks, he or she learns how to be more vigilant with data at work. We don’t quote articles of the law or speak “legalese” in our courses. Instead, we answer questions from real working life, such as: what data need to be handled with particular caution, what do I need to take care of before I make an analysis, when data must be deleted, etc.

LTB: What gives lawpilots a competitive advantage?

Kerkfeld: First of all, our courses create lasting awareness while being really fun to do. They are rich in video, images and gamification. We also have the big advantage that we can draw on the long-term experience of our partners to provide courses that are legally sound and constantly updated according to the latest legislation and legal practice. Our courses are available in a growing number of languages and can be accessed by simply logging in on our website with any device. Plus, we offer great reporting so that companies can proof that they have fulfilled legal training obligations.

LTB: What is the pricing model?

Kerkfeld: We usually charge per user, per course, with discounts for multiple bookings. Larger clients can get a flat rate to use all courses on offer in all languages for employees across Europe. This is especially useful for companies with branches in many different markets and employees that speak different languages.

LTB: What have you learned from early versions of lawpilots?

Kerkfeld: Since our launch, we have listened carefully to client feedback to improve our courses. We constantly work on simplifying the navigation experience and making our trainings more to the point. At the end of the day, what most companies want is a simple solution that doesn’t take up too much time in a workday.

LTB: What do you see are the principal risks to the business?

Kerkfeld: E-learning sometimes suffers from a bad reputation, of being dry, inefficient or not fun. With lawpilots, we prove the contrary! So far, our model works: 92% of our participants say they would recommend our courses to others.

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