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Lawyers and analytics – a love hate relationship

Its almost 2022, and analytical tools are used in all business sectors. Businesses use data analysis to analyze their performance, advertisers use it to test the effectiveness of their adds and even hospitals use it to get a better idea of their different professions.

So why are things different when it comes to lawyers? Why do lawyers refuse to adapt to new technological changes? And maybe the legal sector is right by not using data analysis as much as other sectors?

If you are part of the legal sector, try and think if you really know what data analysis is. In a nutshell, Data analysis is the process of gathering, inspecting, and modeling data to gain relevant insights and to make business decisions based on them accordingly. Many sectors nowadays use data analysis on a daily basis, and researchers show that businesses who use it correctly end up being a lot more efficient and profitable.

Yet, the legal industry is having difficulties adapting to the idea, and law firms are slower in adapting to new technology – among others, the use of data analysis.

The reasons for that? we all know most attorneys are risk averse due to the nature of their work – legal work usually requires being careful and cautious. But other than that, it is the nature of the legal data. Rather than relying on data analysis and insights, lawyers usually rely on their individual legal experience, or their firms. Regardless of all their experience, even if talking about a 20-year experienced lawyer, intuitions and hunches while being very useful are also very subjective and limited compared to all the legal data available out there.

So why not use data analysis? What are the benefits that come along with adapting to new technologies? Foremost – law firms can use legal data analysis to win cases and secure good outcomes. More cases lead to more success which leads to more clients. Who would say no to that?

Data analysis – which by the way is another implementation of legal tech (Legal Technology) tools – can also give a precise look on how long a case will last, how many billable hours it will require and how many similar cases your firms has had in the past.

More than that, and just as important- analytics can give information about the opposing counsel, and important one. For example:

  • How much experience the opposing side have
  • What are their chances compared to their previous cases
  • Analyze of cases in which they lost, and why
  • And of course, the addition analytics of the specific judge and practice field

In other words, data analysis will give a more informative look over the case and the sides involved, which will eventually lead to better outcomes as well as more efficient work habits.

If the data is well analyzed and represented, it can also help in attracting new clients – another huge benefit for the firm. Firms can use analytics to quantify their experience in specific fields compared to competitors, to present their performance in courts (including in specific courts or judges) and to present their success rates and bandwidth available. Providing your potential clients with that relevant information would make them choose you over your competitors. More cases and more clients are two main goals of all firms.

Nevertheless, analyzing your firm’s data can help you see what you need to remain in your firm and what exactly you need to improve, to change or to work on. Having the ability to record and analyze operational data helps decision makers be way more efficient as their decisions are based on data rather than on personal experience and observations.

Law firms need to let go of old habits and consider using data analysis as a main function in their firm. The right use of legal data analysis will not help just efficiency, but as discussed will eventually increase the firm’s profits. We need to understand that even as lawyers, we cannot do everything, and some jobs are better done by computers. The first few steps adapting to new technologies may not be easy, but in the near future it will definitely be worth the effort.

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