Traditionally, lawyers have won cases with only two weapons in their arsenal- Research and Reasoning. However, with legal data analytics, lawyers are gaining a critical advantage in their practice.
What is Legal Data Analytics?
Data analytics is the process of analyzing data collected over a long period of time to discover useful information. It can help gain insights on how the variables behave under different circumstances. Legal analytics serves as a supplement that boosts legal research. it can provide lawyers with the margin necessary for victory.
Legal analytics, with the help of data processing technologies, helps lawyers clean up, collate, and structurally analyze data. This data is collected from various cases, instances, law books, or online legal directories.
For example, through legal analytics, a lawyer can analyze past data to find out how long will a case run for, what were the previous outcomes of similar cases, how the judge behaved in similar scenarios, and so on.
With data analytics, lawyers can find out answers within minutes, which would have taken hours or weeks of manual efforts otherwise. Additionally, analytics software can catch simple variations in data that the human mind might not comprehend.
Advantage of legal data analytics:
90% of legal professionals agree that using legal analytics makes them a better, more efficient, and effective legal practitioner.
1. Edge over Competitors:
With data analytics, you get insights on judges’ behavior, arguments made in the past, plea deals that have worked and so on. This data can help you predict the shape of the present case you are dealing with.
In short, lawyers can build strong litigation strategies that succeed by deriving information from real-life scenarios. With data analytics, lawyers do not need to go over pages of previous case material and law book texts. Legal data analytics can strengthen the overall legal research methodology and help come at a conclusion.
2. Predict Results and Update Case Strategy:
Data analytics can aid lawyers in getting answers to client queries backed with instances and information. However, it is wrong to assume that legal analytics can only help lawyers in solving cases or doing research. It can also assist in making important business decisions related to the expansion or future planning of law firms. Other professionals in the legal domain can also use legal analytics. They can identify industry trends, run competitor analysis, study litigation history of opposition counsel, and so on.
3. Exploring Strategies:
Lawyers can augment the ways of legal analytics to experiment with various legal strategies and scenarios. This way lawyers can predict case outcomes easily. Think of it as a science experiment where you play with the variables to come up with different results.
Implementing Data Analytics to your Law Practice:
Data in the law industry can be broadly classified into individual data, law firm data, and industry data. Individual data is the data that you have in your personal repository. The other two are broad-based data available in your law firm, on the internet, or in legal research libraries. With the advent of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and natural language processors, SaaS & service providers can make legal data analytics easy. They can do so by training computers to process a large amount of information at unmatchable speed and accuracy.
However, with the human element attached to each case, it is foolish to entirely depend on data analytics. We suggest considering legal analytics as a tool rather than a replacement or a solution for all your case and client needs.
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From being better to being best
While it is true that data analytics is the next step to modernize the legal profession, there are some limitations to it. Lawyers might find difficulty in adapting to technology or to develop the basic computer knowledge required to handle analytics. It is also challenging to get access to a verified database where you can access past cases, court proceedings, records, and briefs. But, these few hiccups are easy to overcome. On the other hand, it is wrong to assume that legal analytics will make traditional legal research or lawyers obsolete. Legal analytics assumes more of the role of a healthy supporter of the old system strengthening the old school methodology.