With digital transformation taking shape in different industries, big data and analytics are gaining substantial attention due to their innovative and strategic insights, which can help with decision making. Over the years, HR has widely embraced data-analytics processes to help collect and analyze employee data so they can monitor performance, assign resources, and improve operations.
Similarly, law firms are now adopting legal analytics to develop insights relevant to their matters. For instance, they can use data analytics to examine publicly available records to know the conduct of judges and the opposing counsels. Before we look at the benefits of data analytics in solving legal disputes, let’s first understand how big data and analytics disrupt the legal industry.
Big Data and Law
Every industry has its own data, which have been collected over time, stored, and probably never used until they are either destroyed or locked somewhere and forgotten. Like any other business out there, the legal industry can make good use of the data it generates. For instance, there is quite a lot of data on how certain high-profile judges ruled over sensitive litigation cases, how they reached the final decision, and what kind of settlement they offered. While this data may seem insignificant in the future, competent lawyers often understand why it’s crucial to keep track of such information.
The fact that anyone can access electronic case files through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) services makes it ideally possible to sample and analyze particular cases of interest and draw far-reaching conclusions. While such information won’t give you a clear picture of how the judgment will go, it will shed light on how a particular judge is likely to reach a decision, as well as provide an estimated cost and length of specific proceedings.
That said, drawing these conclusions from mere data and court records requires sophisticated tools designed to interpret even the most complicated variables into easy-to-digest pieces of information. Using legal analytics tools such as Lex Machina, lawyers and parties can strategically make decisions, including when to pursue a specific case or litigation strategy.
Benefits of Legal Data Analytics
Now that you know how data analytics work in the legal industry, it’s easy to see why forward-looking law firms invest a lot of time and money in customizing the already available legal analytics tools to suit their specific needs:
- To make researching cases faster and easier
- To guide strategic decisions during the litigation process
- To better understand what cases are worth taking
- To get estimates of case outcomes and verdicts
- To research witnesses
Besides excellent communication skills, the best lawyers have proper judgment and analytical thinking capabilities. Having access to insightful data will increase the chances of success as it opens a world of fresh ideas and new opportunities. Below are the benefits of using data analytics in law.
It Helps Secure Good Outcomes for Clients
As a lawyer, having access to meaningful information about the involved parties and individual arbitrators, such as details about their prior experience, views on particular issues, procedural practice, overall caseload, etc., are of great importance.
Taking your time to focus on past data to uncover patterns in how some judges or courts have ruled certain cases can increase the chances of winning a case. The idea is that you’ll have simulated and exhausted all the probable outcomes and have prepared to play offense and defense from all the possible angles.
At times, knowing as much information about your opposing counsel(s), such as their years of experience representing similar cases or the number of cases they have at the moment, will help polish your litigation or negotiation strategies. All these have the potential to secure good outcomes for your clients.
It Helps Attract and Keep Clients
Every client wants to work with a lawyer who’s smart enough to stop them from losing their property, job, money, or serving long jail terms. The truth is, clients will only work with a lawyer or law firm they trust. Having a legal analytics system in place will put your legal practice ahead of the rest, and clients will see why you are the best to solve their problems. According to the 2020 Legal Analytics Study by ALM Intelligence and LexisNexis, 81% of respondents said that legal analytics are encouraged or looked upon favorably by clients.
Additionally, legal firms can use analytic tools to quantify their performance and experience relative to their competitors in specific cases, courts, or before certain judges. These tools can also inform clients what they should expect from their case – from the expected settlement, time to conclusion, or the judgment amount. This information can be extremely valuable when deciding whether or not a case is worth taking on.
One area of law where analytics can play a critical role is in employment matters, where several acts and regulations govern employees’ rights and the employer’s obligations. Here, the best employment lawyers will always have some in-house legal analytics tools to help them choose the right litigation strategies and avoid messing up their clients.
It Gives a Better Understanding of Your Services
Running a large law firm can be hectic considering all the typical processes involved, from negotiation, litigation to settlements. Data analytics can help ease some of these operations; for instance, cost controls and deployment of resources can easily be modeled using data analytics tools, which, in turn, can help in quicker and more accurate decision making. Some examples include:
- Personalizing the client experience with targeted marketing campaigns, such as personal injury at those who may have been in a car accident and are researching car repair services
- Changing pricing based on the demand shown by data
- Researching what type of cases are the riskiest using propensity modeling and AI-based recommendations
From what we’ve seen above, data analytics is a vital tool that enhances operational efficiencies and promotes the delivery of quality legal services. From a digital transformation perspective, one can say that the legal industry is quickly following suit in embracing digital processes. Those firms that have already adopted these technologies will enjoy significant benefits as data and information continue to shape the service industry.