How Legal Analytics Can Give Your Firm a Competitive Edge

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Accelerating your firm’s strategy with data 

Building on your firm’s reputation has never been more critical – and one way to nourish it is through the use of legal data analytics. According to Lexis Nexis, this refers to the science of drawing insights from large volumes of data. 

Data is increasingly gaining the traction it deserves. As we keep diving into a more data-driven age, there’s no denying the power analytics has on all businesses, including legal firms. 

However, even though data is expanding users seek anonymity and privacy. The reason being is that more and more consumers are growing skeptical about the way businesses use personal data. With all that said, they’re still accepting cookies and data tracking in hopes that law firms leverage this data to provide an even better customer experience.

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This brings us to the usage of legal data. According to AALM, 93% of attorneys feel data analysis adds value to their practice areas. Yet, there’s still a gap. Fewer than half of these respondents incorporate it in their business and practice. So, why exactly is there such a disconnect? The answer could lie in another factor the survey uncovered: the majority of attorneys don’t quite see the potential advantage analyzing data could play in their firm. 

Overall, data is leveling the playing field in the legal sector. Before, it was standard when lawyers spent hours, days, and perhaps even weeks studying books of court records. But, today, these headaches are preventable. Legal cases are recorded on digital platforms, which means firms can be faster, better, and stronger.


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Securing your firm’s winning strategy is “anchored by history.”

“Anchored by history.” These words were said by Carla Rydholm, Director of Product Management from Lex Machina, a legal analytics company for legal professionals. 

In litigation, like in all practice areas, the goal is to get the best outcome – to win. To reach that goal, firms must master the art of anticipating, and the only way to do so is through, you guessed it, data. It may sound like a paradox, but understanding patterns and behaviors of the past can help attorneys predict the behavior and outcomes of what’s to come in the future

Although the future isn’t set in stone, examining facts and figures can help your firm strike strong while the iron is hot. Those who do so can expect to:

  1. Drive profitability – By looking into automated trend analysis, attorneys can identify opportunities where they’re able to expand relationships. For example, you could analyze existing information from your clients and create different alerts for specific sequences. 
  2. Enhance the points of focus – By using client’ statistics, lawyers can amplify strategic decision-making across many aspects, including business expansion, geographic focus, talent acquisition, etc.  
  3. Improve effectiveness – In today’s practice of law, there are many functions a firm needs to partake in that aren’t focused on legal tasks, e.g., the marketing aspect. Data can improve many elements in this sector, including amplifying target reach, expanding the communication lines, and easing the entire campaign monitoring portion of your strategy. 
  4. Save time – Businesses working with data are two steps ahead. Most importantly, they are saving time. Because analytics already handle an immense amount of information, these machines speed up every aspect of the firm’s performance, which implies a higher potential ROI because of the time saved.
  5. Find trends – Constantly searching the web for trends and issues is possible, but it’ll take a big chunk of your time (which could be used to attend more calls and cases!). By analyzing historical claims of the past with legal analytics, firms can predict how key players, like the judge, might act based on history. 

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What is behind legal analytics? 

Behind closed doors, a lot goes on in the legal analytics world. This may sound like science fiction, but data-driven by AI (artificial intelligence) is already impacting legal professionals. In short, machines are improving a computer’s ability to recognize our natural human language patterns by understanding the real context behind words and phrases. 

There are hundreds of legal analytics providers, but they all have one thing in common: reliance on massive data sets. These engines examine petabytes of legal information. For clarification, one petabyte is 1 million GB. As an example, one petabyte could hold 11,000 4k UHD (ultra high definition) movies. If you were to watch this nonstop, it would take you 2.5 years to get through this media. Let this sink in for a moment. 2.5 years. A quarter-decade-long movie binge-fest and this doesn’t include popcorn breaks!  

Now, for the crowd wondering if legal analytics could ever surpass or even replace lawyers, the answer is… no! At least not now or the foreseeable future. Besides the fact that we’re still in the infancy of legal analytics, it’s best to think of it as a supplement. Taking advantage of this supplement (data) can give you more strength and power, but ultimately the decisions are entirely up to you; as humans. 


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“What kinds of data should my firm collect?” 

To drive value, the integrity and quality of the data have to work hand in hand. At Lex Machina, they recommend firms seeking these services should sit down and ask all the necessary questions about where and how that specific legal analytics company vets its database. The reason being is that there isn’t a single resource that has all the historical legal information in one place. 

On that premise, firms have to pick from the menu of analytical tools. Think back to the supplement scenario. In real life, one has to choose a specific supplement to have certain added benefits. In addition, there isn’t one compact supplement that has all the vitamins and nutrients we need to survive. The same goes for data – there isn’t a single platform with all evidence known to mankind. Hence, it’s best to ask all the necessary questions before settling with a legal analytics company.

In addition to working with a specific service company, attorneys can harness individual and internal data

  1. Individual data – This comes from tools like Google Analytics, cookies, and campaigns. Here, attorneys can see the website performance, speed, content analysis, and visitor activity. 
  2. Internal data – This refers to facts and figures discovered in your own operating system. In other words, it means looking back at daily activities such as billing rates, time tracking, and the client lifecycle.

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  • Facts, Tips & Tricks:
    • How often should your firm analyze internal data?
      A game-changer is analyzing necessary information as part of your firm’s monthly work process instead of “once in a blue moon.” 


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Predict and design the winning approach.

Lawyers that are in-it-to-win-it know that it’s critical to capture a holistic picture and gather information from multiple sources. As a result, one is able to pinpoint details along the way. 

Undoubtedly, legal analytics is here to stay, and more and more, it’s becoming an indispensable supplement for firms looking to maintain their overall health and wealth. To drive better and faster decision-making in the years to come, using data comprehensively is a must. Keeping well informed about strategies like this is a significant first step. The second step? Maintaining a leading position. 

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