John Kelly - Spear's Magazine

John Kelly

Harbottle & Lewis

John Kelly
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When Spear’s catches up with John Kelly, he exhibits a boyish enthusiasm: ‘There’s always lots of stuff going on. We’re finding now that reputation protection is about managing multiple issues in multiple jurisdictions rapidly. There’s not a lot we haven’t seen.’ Kelly outlines three issues he’s particularly busy with: prevention (‘Ninety per cent of what we’re doing is preventative’); digital work (‘Someone might say something mean on Twitter, but if they’re not influential you don’t want to overreact’); and, perhaps most intriguingly, big data. ‘For Spear’s readership their data is extremely valuable,’ he says. ‘You have valuable information sitting in servers, it’s centrally located in back-up servers or it’s in the cloud, and there are multiple attempts to hack that data.’ Kelly has deployed his skills in some meaty and high-profile work. In April he won a settlement described as one of the largest to go through the UK courts – for Melania Trump, over the Mail’s false claims about her past. Has his work changed over the years? ‘Time has shifted. There isn’t the luxury of waiting for half a day but we pride ourselves on being available.’ Kelly is also well regarded for his work with Premier League and overseas football clubs.