Big Data Is Transforming the Intricacies of The Legal Profession

Last Updated: March 27, 2022

Technology in law is the new norm. Learn how big data is transforming the intricacies of the legal system.
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Law intersects with almost every aspect of life, including work, family, and finances, to name a few. It acts as a guideline for what is acceptable in society. Every activity that we undertake has a clear set of rules and regulations attached to it. Trying to maintain order is difficult, and disputes are highly likely to arise. Litigation is an important phenomenon in its own right. Promoting equal, meaningful access to legal representation is critical in terms of putting an end to injustice. Without a solicitor to guide you along the way, you may lose. 

One of the most significant changes in the world of law is the introduction of big data. Data and analytics have changed the way law firms formulate legal strategies, communicate with clients, and complete discovery on their projects. But, scepticism remains. The biggest issue for big data right now is finding the right people that can carry out this sort of work. The data sets are so voluminous that traditional data processing software simply can’t manage them. As with many technological advances, the legal profession has been slow to keep up. 

What Is Big Data, And Why Does It Matter? 

Put simply, big data is a collection of data that is extremely large in size. It grows exponentially with time. Big data is a combination of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data that can be transformed into useful information by using software to look for patterns.

This information can be provided by both humans and machines. The question now is: Why does it matter? Given that we live in a data-driven age, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that information is a precious commodity. Legal professionals who don’t collect or analyse data miss out on important opportunities to enhance the client experience, mitigate risk, and maximise their profit. 

Applications Of Big Data in The Legal Industry

Speeding Up the Court Cases 

Legal cases are slow and expensive. The average duration of a court case is about one year. You’d be tempted to think that twelve months is too long. It’s not, just to be clear. The longest trial in British legal history ran for two-and-a-half years. Helen Steel and David Morris fought McDonald’s in a David vs Goliath battle. Big data has the potential to speed up court cases.

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Typically, you would have a solicitor review documents individually. Machine learning can make this process faster by uncovering insights. A program is capable of interpreting and understanding material from various sources, including emails, financial records, data tables, and photos. 

Finding Fresh Evidence 

Big data makes it easier to uncover evidence on all offenders. Relevant information is collected and presented in the form of evidence. All the judge has to do is give a verdict. Let’s raise an example. Fitness trackers can be used in personal injury litigation.

The amount of data generated by the devices that people carry around is impressive. As noted by AccidentClaims.co.uk, wearable devices indicate how someone’s lifestyle has changed after an injury. The information obtained may impact the quantum aspects of a case. The data can be used as evidence in various hearings. 

Predicting Legal Outcomes 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could predict legal outcomes and costs for specific cases? Thanks to big data, it’s now possible. Solicitors are skilled at predicting the outcome and duration of a case, but they’re prone to making mistakes. Analytics can be used to learn more about certain types of cases and predict outcomes. Software doesn’t rely on instinct or guesswork.

It leverages historical data in the process. Big data is helpful in predicting pay-outs. If malpractice risk at the physician level is high, a solicitor can convince the judge to offer a more generous pay-out to their client. More exactly, law firms are able to make more informed decisions and rightfully pursue a legal matter. 

Bringing A Human Connection to The Law 

The qualities that make solicitors good at their jobs also makes them resistant to social connections. The ability to empathise with others is a trait that solicitors should develop early on. Empathy has a considerable impact on trial outcomes. After all, jurors are humans.

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By using analytics, solicitors can learn more about the residents of the local community and advance arguments that appeal to the human connection. In the context of jury decision-making, jurors are expected to ignore their emotional responses. However, they don’t always respect this instruction. 

Big Data Is Less of a Threat to Solicitors Than Believed 

The growing interest in applying big data to the field of law is slowly but surely transforming the profession. Contrary to popular opinion, robots and algorithms don’t represent a threat to legal roles. They’re safe from being outsourced to computers.

Sophisticated algorithms and machine learning simply help solicitors and other legal practitioners accomplish their tasks faster and more efficiently. Put simply, they can accomplish the same tasks in much less time. Of course, programmers, statisticians, engineers, data analysts, and IT personnel will be needed to manage smart computers. There’s no better time than now for law firms to become technology-ready and adopt a growth mindset. 

The impact of big data on case administration, document drafting, legal research, due diligence and legal analysis and strategy is unmistakable. Even if significant progress has been made, the impact is less than headlines let us believe. The explanation lies in the fact that adoption is still low.

The industry is below average when it comes down to technology adoption. The legal professional should be refined to reflect the modern age. Regardless of the law’s source of resistance to big data, consumers are increasingly demanding legal providers to base their recommendations on data. 

Data created in the legal process ought to be digitised and combined with other technologies, as it promises to make solicitors’ jobs more straightforward. No machine can do the job of a solicitor, but technology can help a legal professional do their job more efficiently. Technology in law is the new norm. In today’s world, only those who incorporate big data into their practices are successful.

Written by Allison Langstone

Allison produces content for a business SAAS but also contributes to Earthweb frequently, using her knowledge of both business and technology to bring a unique angle to the site.