In the information age it has become easier than ever to access information on demand. As you may not have known, the various devices we use including mobile phones, computers, smart watches and smart home devices also collect data at an exponential rate. Indeed, such an onslaught of data can be difficult to comprehend. As such, we have come to know this phenomenon as ‘big data’.
Big data also occurs in the legal system through the many various cases and judgments occurring in the courts. In the legal field, a particular set of tools in big data called ‘legal analytics’ is gaining a lot of traction. This technology can manipulate big data to assist lawyers in their legal practice by providing new insights, customised information and reports on demand.
What is legal analytics?
Legal analytics is a general term referring to the application of data analysis methods and technologies in law. These technologies can mine and aggregate data from past cases and court judgments to explore information in various perspectives. Additionally, legal analytics can increase the efficiency of tasks that need substantial time and human effort. Some examples of technology out there include:
- Big data analytics – provides insights from large data sets
- Predictive analytics – predicts future behaviour from past data
- Artificial intelligence – self-learning technology akin to human intelligence
How will it affect future legal practice?
Legal scholars and innovators are realising the potential of legal analytics in legal practice. By using the available technology, lawyers can relieve themselves from the more mundane tasks such as legal research and drafting.
Legal analytics can sift through mountains of data from cases to find information that matters for lawyers. For example, software that can analyse legal risk from a simple questionnaire. Equivalent to a lawyer’s ‘digital assistant’, these technologies are not designed to replace the lawyer but in fact are used to make legal practice for lawyers more efficient than ever.
In particular, a new generation of legal analytics uses a form of artificial intelligence known as ‘machine learning’ to provide lawyers with previously undiscoverable information. These tools can be powerful enough to predict the probability that a judge will decide a particular matter in a case.
As the technology continues to develop throughout the next few years, legal analytics will become more accessible to all lawyers. By using these tools, lawyers can equip themselves to meet the growing demand and expectations from clients.
Although legal analytics provides plethora of benefits for lawyers, data protection is essential. Firms interested in using big data technologies will have to secure the data and information they create from potential hacks and breaches. As such, law firms of the future will need to implement comprehensive data protection plans and policies in the workplace.
Ultimately, big data will provide powerful tools for lawyers to make effective decisions in their practice. For the future of law we may be seeing an increased reliance on legal analytics technology. Consequently, future lawyers will need to equip themselves with the skills needed to implement data analytics in legal practice.
Don’t know where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.