Legal Industry Reckons the Force: Big Data
The amount of data generated by the devices that people transport has increased exponentially and has had a knock-on effect in several professions. For criminal lawyers, the potential evidence available has increased, and this increase in data has reflected in all branches of law. The data generated by the legal process are already digitized and combined with other technologies. It has the potential to make lawyers’ jobs easier.
Everlaw, a legal tech startup that raised over $25 million from investors in Silicon Valley, applies AI to historical legal reports to help lawyers prioritize and analyze documents. It uses computer science to view data from records and to predict the most relevant cases to be inspected by lawyers.
To analyze and predict court cases, the system requires data. However, this must be the right type of data. It must be read and understood easily by machines–scrupulous handwriting can be difficult to interpret, but clear checkboxes on forms are easier to understand for software. The computer can read big data; AI systems can save money and time for the legal industry.
AI and analytical platforms currently create an advantage for law firms and customers who can afford to pay for it. But it also can democratize the industry. It is necessary to make legal services that are more accessible to lay people through the reduction of costs and the development of self-help applications directed to non-lawyers.
However, there are concerns regarding the use of big data. Data scientists have shown in several fields that automated systems inherit any bias contained in the data on which they are trained.
The legal profession is still largely under-penetrated in the use of big data technologies and processes. The operation of a law firm can and should always be a profitable business. Banks are technology firms that manage money. Law firms need to know that they are technology firms that practice law.
Law firms that invest in holistic data management, storage, and analytics infrastructure can identify and benefit from insights that companies cannot have without technology. The techniques allowing access to these data are relatively cheap to acquire and maintain–and are also available in the cloud as a service. Once the technology is in place, law firms that identify and prioritize cases of use and drive real ROI will begin to improve the results for customers and the company's operational measurements.