Last week Lex Machina hosted a panel discussion on the value of analytics in the practice of law. The panel was moderated by Josh Becker, Chairman, Lex Machina and Jackie Bell, Sr. Reporter, Law360. The Panel included 4 of the 5  The 2018 Data Driven Lawyer award  recipients: Eric Falkenberry, Partner, DLA Piper, Kate Gaudry, Senior Associate, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, Evan Moses, Shareholder/Co-Chair, National Class Action Practice, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC, .Kyle Poe, Partner, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.Scott Forman, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson PC did not participate in the panel.

You can access the full recording here

Overcoming Resistance. Readers who have met resistance from lawyers when they tried to introduce analytics products in their firms will find some insights to justify exploration of analytics products in their firms. Of course every new technology introduces new risks as well as rewards. Back in the 1980’s some lawyers refused to try the early versions of Lexis and Westlaw. Some lawyers relied on online research results without understanding the limits of the content or the ineffectiveness of their search strategy.  We face  similar  risks with  analytics. both Reckless and uninformed over reliance on  analytics could have adverse consequences and slow adoption.

I have outlined below some of the key points made by the panelists:

  • Several panelists were “shamed” into using analytics by clients who demanded for data driven answers.
  • Data driven law is quickly becoming the norm.
  • Some Lawyers resist learning about analytics because they fear that analytics that it will replace lawyers.
  • Panelists agreed that analytics will supplement rather than replace the legal analysis performed  by lawyers.
  • Skepticism among lawyers is beginning to wane.
  • Millennials and older partners are the most open to using analytics and practice. Newer partners are the most resistant to change how they practice.
  • Analytics can improve the quality of lawyers practice without a huge investment of time.
  • Analytics can be used to validate a client hypothesis about their lawsuit.
  • Data driven law pioneers need to develop a track record of success in their firm in order to convince reluctant partners..
  • Analytics can augment legal analysis by providing additional insights which provide a basis on which to make a professional judgment. It augments legal analysis.
  • Lawyers need understand the limitations of the data e.g. nature of suit codes can be both overinclusive and under inclusive.
  • Effective use of analytics requires framing the right question.
  • Lawyers are not limited to using docket data, but can utilize business or scientific data sets to analyses.

The discussion also turned to the future uses for analytics in law:

Future Uses of Analytics

  • Analytics will drive the creation of  new practices and expand existing practices
  • Improve the management of law firm
  • Use data  optimize the profitability of matters by providing insights into historic pricing, billable hours and staffing needs.
  • Analytics that can run the whole stack of needs in a law firm
  • Use analytics to show value of the law firm to clients
  • Use analytics for scenario planning AG identified the cost of patent prosecution across various scenarios.
  • Game theory will be used to look at a set of combined probabilities as a new way of making a recommendation.
  • Analytics combines with machine learning will begin to reduce lower level  legal work.
  • Predictive analytics products for law are in development

The one thing that was overlooked by the panel was the important role that librarians and knowledge mangers can play in evaluating and introducing analytics products like Lex Machina in law firms. In addition, several of the panelists utilize various non-legal data sets related to the clients case.Information professionals also have the expertise to help lawyers track down raw date sources from government or commercial sources.