Don’t be deceived. Many of our conference goers casually refer to our 2Civility annually hosted conference as the Futures Conference. But one must pay particular attention to the actual name itself: The Future is Now: Legal Services 2.018
The profession is already changing. How we practice law is already changing. #TheFutureIsNow
While tomorrow’s lawyers working in our algorithmic economy will benefit from continued advancements in technologies, we need not wait. The tools, the processes, the ideas – they are available and at our disposal today to serve our clients, increase productivity, and grow our revenue streams. Data analytics in the practice of law is one such opportunity.
Move Over Cash, Data Is King
The data is already there for the taking, all too often overlooked or ignored. Data analytics is offering real utility for the lawyers with the foresight to collect it and extract its value. Even solo practitioners and small firms can collect data about their operations for better decision-making in direct service to the clients as well as practice management behind the scenes.
To get a feel for how data can be harnessed on the national scale, look to the annual Clio Legal Trends Report. In the legal industry, we have relied on inconsistent and unreliable peer reporting surveys with small sample sizes and bias reporting risks to explore the state of the profession. Conversely, this Report uses aggregated and anonymized data from more than 60,000 Clio users across the U.S. to examine essential questions such as:
- What takes lawyers away from doing billable work?
- What makes clients hire one lawyer over another?
- What goals should firms set for their practice?
Now, deconstruct such an analysis to how your organization is using its resources to generate certain outputs. How might you collect data – from your daily operations, from clients, from online or third parties, etc. – and leverage it to gain a competitive edge?
Customize How You Use Data – Inside and Out
As more information becomes available online (much at no cost), and computing power and memory grows in ability while shrinking in cost, the application of data analytics will be the norm. In turn, our clients will better understand its importance and demand it of us.
Think of the ways you might interrogate your available data, especially on the local level from case dockets and opinions to client marketing. In his forthcoming book, Data-Driven Law: Data Analytics and the New Legal Services, Ed Walters compiles a collection of essays basing data as the precondition for delivering good legal services in the future, instead of hunch-driven law. You, too, can elicit data-backed predictions about opposing counsel, judges, litigation parties, settlements, and other trends to reveal insights that were not previously accessible.
In addition to the externally facing applications, legal analytics helps firms improve the ways they approach the business of law. We mustn’t rely on hunches and gut feelings to steer our strategic planning, business development, and marketing. Compile the data, analyze it, and apply it!
Go Forth and Compute
The future is now to steer a change in our mindset of giving legal advice that is built on a foundation of data. Do not wait for the demand of our clients for qualitative and quantitative analysis. Have that significant competitive advantage – become a data-driven lawyer today.