data analytics

Data Analytics and Your Law Firm

Businesses use data to monitor their marketing efforts and learn more about their customers, using some of the top tools available to gather and make sense of buying behaviors. Service-oriented firms have learned they can utilize the information to refine their offerings and improve customer relations.

Attorneys now use data analytics to inform the cases they try for clients. With the power of technology, they can gather the facts they need to win a case in court. Here are a few ways law firms use analytics to win over clients, judges, and juries.

Demonstrate Expertise

Thought leadership is important for law firms building reputations within the legal community. With so much data available from a variety of places, it can be easy for attorneys to access the information they need to put together presentations for webinars and seminars, articles for top industry publications, and posts for their own blogs. Tulsa attorney Patrick Wandres demonstrates how publicly-available government statistics can be used to caution others about legal risks, providing information that is likely to be picked up by other sites.

Determine Profitability of a Case Type

One issue that has always plagued law firms is profitability. Some cases cost more than others, requiring more hours for research and consultation than others. St. Louis law firm Bryan Cave LLP has its own analytics professional, whose job involves determining the profitability of each case type. While many law firms now invest in pricing analysts, this law firm utilizes science in price setting, ensuring greater accuracy. As data analytics becomes more sophisticated, firms will likely find tools emerging that are specific to case cost management.

More Efficient Discovery

Law firms can spend weeks sifting through documents to find the information they need to build a case. This is especially true in today’s electronic discovery age, where a defendant may be forced to turn over years of emails and files. New York City law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz has taken analytics to the next level, using machine learning to increase its ability to identify documents that fit the current case. With the right software in place, law firms can eventually create a system that identifies the needed information in a repository of documents in a matter of minutes.

Prove Intellectual Property Violations

Science is especially powerful in intellectual property law, helping prove that a protected item has been stolen. Without science, legal teams are forced to rely on jurors’ perceptions to match lyrics, text, or musical selections and make a judgment. Data analytics now allows attorneys to clearly show the similarities in a creative work, making it more likely they’ll win. Leading intellectual property expert Bob Zeidman points to cases where analytics are being used to determine whether two pieces of software are similar in design. Where most people in the legal field would lack the expertise to decipher code and demonstrate similarities, software forensics can step in and do the work for them.

Show Trends

Predictive analytics are often used by businesses for marketing, helping them identify trends that impact consumer buying. However, as Owen Byrd, general counsel for Lex Machina, points out, firms now use analytics to predict the behavior of judges, juries, and venues based on past cases tried in those environments. By having access to this data early on, law firms can prepare accordingly and have an edge before the trial even begins.

Predict Legal System

The industry as a whole stands to gain from predictive analytics. Drew Winship, founder and CEO of data analytics tool Juristat, believes that software can not only help law firms individually, but the legal field as a whole. By analyzing case outcomes and the legal system on a regular basis, big data can level the playing field, offering small firms the same advantage that big firms have. As the information is used to strengthen solutions and provide advice to attorneys, courtrooms will also benefit from more informed, better prepared legal teams.

For law firms, investing in legal analytics can make a big difference in their success rates. They’ll not only be able to save the hours they would normally spend researching, but they’ll have the facts they need to present a case in a courtroom.

About Dan Steiner

Dan Steiner
Dan Steiner is an author and legal marketing expert from Austin, Texas. He is the owner and marketing director at Vintage Legal Marketing, an award-winning law firm marketing agency serving lawyers in both the USA and Canada. His work has been featured in a number of publications, including Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc. Have worked with numerous law firms over the years and have brought in millions of dollars’ worth of cases.

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