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How to Create a Data-Driven Environment in Your Law Firm?
The ubiquity of data across various industries has eventually found its roots in the legal industry too, as the data volumes for legal data management continue to grow at exponential rates. Many work processes of law firms and independent lawyers are inextricably tied to data. In fact, the most basic yet essential task of legal firms – legal research, depends upon huge amounts of informative data.
“While 90 percent of firms believe that using data-driven insight to manage client terms is important, only 16 percent currently use technology solutions for this purpose.” Source
Hence, in this article, we discuss the importance of data-driven structure in the legal industry and how creating the same can help build a better future for this industry.
Importance of Data in Legal Industry
“Data is the oil of the digital era,” says an Economist article.
However, the concept of data analysis is relatively new for the legal industry, as most law firms were resistant to change and adopting this new technology. Slowly this conservative industry is also waking up and looking in the direction of a data-driven environment considering the benefits that data analysis has provided to the legal profession.
Following are some advantages of data analysis in the legal industry:
1. Eases the Work of Lawyers
Adequate data analysis can reduce costs and speed up the process in court when heaps of files and other relevant data can be analyzed instantly and correlations can be found. For the efficiency of this process, it is important that data is collected, stored and organized in an appropriate way. Computing now has given the ability to store all the data accurately and at less cost.
Data has helped the lawyers and public prosecutors to answer the questions which previously seemed unanswerable. It has provided them the ability to make predictions about a case depending on the study of previous cases that were alike.
2. Provides Transparency
The transparency that big data provides to the legal industry is beneficial for both, the lawyers as well as corporate clients. There are tools in the market that have a collection of vast amounts of invoices. This helps law firms set the right benchmark for themselves and determine the right price for a certain case.
The democratization of data in legal services is advantageous for consumers as well. There are applications that help them to quickly determine the rate they should be expecting to pay for a certain case.
3. Helps Create Evidence
Efficient data analysis can help create new evidence in the court as the data collected and analyzed from the public data sets can be admitted as evidence. Many social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc., act as one of the data sources for collecting evidence in court cases. Previously, most of the data were offline as it was on paper, but now, with the introduction of digital technology, data can be accessed and linked to other data sets.
4. Useful in the HR Department
Big data is proving to be useful in the HR department of law firms. It enables them to crunch all sorts of data on potential new recruits and draw comparisons on how the applicant performs during the assessment. Such practices help the law firms to recruit the candidates that really match their expectations and requirements.
Steps for Constructing a Data-Driven Environment in your Law Firm:
Structuring a data-driven legal practice is something that does not happen overnight but continuous efforts toward the same can definitely help you achieve your goal. Starting points for constructing data-driven environment:
1. Organization and Identification of Data
Not all the data is useful. Hence, it is important to separate the junk data from the useful one. This step involves appropriately structuring the data from where it can be of more use. For example, if you have your data on paper or on unwieldy spreadsheets, move it into a more structured and organized format so that it is both secure and shareable with the right access permissions.
2. Start with the Low-Hanging Fruit
If you wish to enhance your practice using data, the best place to start with is probably with mundane applications like your own matter-management systems, data entry services, and billing. These areas hold a gold mine when it comes to data about talent, results, productivity, value, and more.
3. Maintain Data Hygiene
Data hygiene is a very critical step when it comes to managing your data. Data from federal and state courts is extremely valuable for analytic applications, but this data can be a little disordered. Being comparatively unkempt, matter management and billing data in legal organizations may require some tidying up, but it is incredibly useful when properly sanitized.
4. Collaborate with Those Who Know Data Well
There is no getting around the fact that implementing a better data-driven system in legal organizations requires the collaboration of lawyers with people who understand data and data structures better. Building subject-matter expertise and trust across professional boundaries is a necessary mindset shift that any legal profession requires.
5. Building a Data-Driven Culture
Building a data-driven legal practice is not something that can be assigned to any particular task force, department, or individual. It requires a combined effort from everyone from top leadership down to be a successful practice in the organization. Hence, collective efforts here is the key.
A data-driven environment cannot be created overnight in a legal practice and hence, it is more about building behaviors and practices that support this idea. It is a matter of competitive survival and has a wider range than just implementing new products or tools. It requires a notable change of mindset and works culture throughout the organization.
Are you looking for productive ways to reduce the data management workload of your law firm? If yes, consider outsourcing the same to Cogneesol and let our expert legal support team take care of your data management tasks in an efficient, timely, and affordable manner.
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