What is the impact of big data in the legal industry? Big data has become an increasingly important factor across all sectors in recent years. It has radically transformed most sectors today. For example, thanks to its ability to provide insights that would otherwise be unavailable, big data has helped companies target their customers more effectively. In addition, it has allowed companies to measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and make better decisions about where to allocate their resources. As a result, companies have reduced the wastage of advertising resources. This has revolutionized marketing.
In the healthcare sector, doctors have used big data to improve the accuracy of diagnosis. For example, they have used big data to identify patterns in medical images that may not be visible to the human eye. This information has helped healthcare providers diagnose diseases more accurately. As a result, the general health of the population has improved. Ensure you go through all our previous blog posts. We have written extensively on big data across all sectors. This article will discuss the development of big data in the legal industry. It will also explore some of the trends and challenges.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, most industries began adopting big data in their processes. However, some sectors were late and still lagging in embracing big data. For example, despite being one of the oldest professions, the legal industry has been slow in adopting technological innovations such as big data. Yet, ironically, the industry probably produces the most amount of data in a year. This data includes judicial rulings, precedents, witness statements, court logs, judge’s summaries, etc.
A recent report by the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute concluded that many law firms in the U.S. are still fighting the last war. Suppose the USA is lagging in adopting big data in the legal industry. In that case, one can only imagine how much the rest of the world is lagging.
According to Forbes, the first big data tools in the legal industry were mainly used by lawyers. They focused on billing, time management, marketing, and customer relations. This matched the initial application of big data tools in other sectors. With time, lawyers have used big data in researching and preparing for their cases. The same report noted that two leading players dominated the legal big data market initially: LexisNexis and Westlaw. However, they mainly played the role of search engines with their extensive databases of case files. They do not have advanced analytical capabilities.
In 2012, Ravel Law entered the market. The founders were both qualified lawyers with high competence in analytics. Ravel Law offered built on the work of the previous two and offered additional analytical features. For example, lawyers could use Ravel Law in analyzing judicial decisions such as the winning arguments in similar cases. With the entry of players such as Ravel Law, the legal industry has embraced the role of big data at a faster rate.
Although the legal industry has been slow to embrace big data, it still impacts the sector in several ways.
As mentioned previously, the legal industry has integrated big data into its billing and time management processes. Big data has streamlined the billing processes between lawyers and clients. In addition, it has enabled lawyers to plan their schedules efficiently. In many instances, lawyers work with clients from different geographical regions. Furthermore, the length of time and amount of work required for each case is different. Current big data tools enable lawyers to plan their schedules efficiently, reducing time and resource wastage.
Current big data tools have allowed lawyers to prepare for their cases better. In some instances, a client may lose a case because the lawyer didn’t do enough research due to time constraints. The lawyer didn’t have enough time to find the right judicial precedent applicable to the case. Furthermore, the lawyer did not research the specific judge and previous judgments to understand how to approach the case. Big data has offered analytical tools of judicial precedents and interpretation of legislations that have been critical for lawyers in preparing for their cases better.
Cloud computing has profoundly altered the way businesses handle their data. In 2017, the global cloud storage market was worth around $30 billion, and it steadily rose to more than $61 billion in 2020. Experts project that this market will grow to more than $76 billion in 2021. With a CAGR of 26.2 percent for the 2021 to 2028 period, it will balloon to more than $390 billion by 2028.
A key contributor to this growth is the adoption of big data. Such data needs to secure online storage. The adoption of big data by the legal industry has led to the digitization of case files. Cloud storage leads to easy accessibility of files for all relevant parties in a case. Easy accessibility has reduced the time spent before the conclusion of each case.
Improved customer service
Big data in the legal industry has also been beneficial to clients. It has improved the transparency of the legal process. Apps such as RateDriver, have helped clients plan accordingly before seeking legal redress. It has allowed clients to obtain information such as legal fees, which was previously hard to get. The improvement of accessibility of legal information is a plus to the justice system. It reduces the delay in seeking justice.
Innovations in big data are enabling judges to keep track of evidence information. This has significantly reduced the chances of case manipulation by rogue lawyers. Evidence tampering, manipulation, and withholding of evidence have been critical challenges to the justice system. Big data is slowly rectifying that problem.
It is still early to tell whether big data will revolutionize the legal industry as it did other sectors such as sports and health. There is still widespread debate amongst legal experts on the pros and cons of adopting big data in the legal industry. Some argue its predictive use in judicial decisions and case preparation will damage the human aspect of the sector. However, industry professionals accept that it will continually impact and improve some aspects of the profession.
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