January 21, 2018 business of law

Data Analytics: A New Arrow in Your Legal Quiver

By Daniel S. Wittenberg

The business and practice of law requires attorneys to interact with and make sense of significant amounts of data. Data analytics, or “big data,” plays a pivotal role in enabling lawyers to work with and transform this information into useful, practical, strategic knowledge. From developing a case strategy to refining business pitches for prospective clients, data analytics is evolving into an integral part of a successful legal service and business model, and is considered the “wave of the future,” according to Mark A. Lemley, Stanford Law School professor.

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“The entire process . . . from determining whether to take on a case and analysing any of the (court) documents related to it through to researching, contracting, and even billing, can be significantly improved with big data analytics,” says Mark van Rijmenam, founder of Datafloq. According to Van Rijmenam, a lawyer’s ability to harness the significant amounts of data available today using predictive, prescriptive, or descriptive analytics will help him or her remain competitive in today’s data-driven landscape. Also known as legal analytics, for the litigator, this process involves mining data contained in case documents and court dockets, and then aggregating that data to provide previously unknowable insight into the behavior of individuals, organizations, and the subjects of lawsuits, according to Owen Byrd, chief evangelist and general counsel of Lex Machina.

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