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Data and analytics: the next sea change in law firm technology is now

“How can we gain an edge over the competition?” It’s a question that has vexed business owners since time immemorial. Once in a while, a technology comes along that marks a sea change in an industry and gives business owners a clear means of gaining that coveted edge. For the legal industry, that time is now and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven data insights are that change.

Data is everywhere

From our work commutes to our credit card transactions to our web browsing sessions, data’s invisible hands have taken a firm grasp on our daily lives. Advertising, transportation, finance—the data battles have already been won and lost in these industries. Data won. There’s no reason to the think the legal industry will be any different.

Data and the practice of law

Advertisers attach buzzwords like data and analytics to many products, but law firm owners need to know the nuts and bolts of how these concepts will help their firms succeed. Here are a few specific examples of how data-driven insights can help law firms prevail in a challenging market:

  • Litigation planning: Knowledge of a judge’s tendencies—how they are likely to rule on certain motions, expert witness testimony and other issues—is a data point that is key to litigation success. When you can see those tendencies laid out in an organized, easy-to-read fashion, it takes much of the guess work out of case strategy. Thomson Reuters Westlaw® Litigation Analytics allows users to fine-tune their searches, filtering results by 14 different motion types. The granularity of the search options and useful “search within” functionality allow attorneys to get to the relevant data and analytics quickly. Data can also provide valuable insights on the timing, strategy and likelihood of success of a given legal matter, elements that can help attorneys better manage client expectations. When attorneys have access to these insights, it takes their legal strategy to the next level.
  • Searching through documents: Searching through legal research results lists is less labor-intensive when using AI-powered research solutions. When the answer to a legal query lies hidden somewhere within millions of documents, a smart research tool such as Thomson Reuters Westlaw Edge™ is a godsend, serving up useful data to the specifications of fine-tuned user searches. The data could be a recent ruling or recently modified statute that would otherwise have gone unnoticed—factors that can prove decisive in a legal proceeding. Users can trust the results because the AI is trained by hundreds of leading attorney editors and built upon a foundation of more than 140 years of editorial annotations.
  • Pricing: In the legal industry, clients wary of high fees are even warier of unexpected costs. Data-driven insights allow law firms to analyze the likely hours, costs and fees for thousands of legal services in order to more accurately project fees for a given matter. This limits the likelihood of surprises and can even make possible flat-fee billing or other arrangements that keep clients happy and coming back.

Data as a game changer

Law firms that harness the power of data and analytics will soon notice changes within and without their firms. Gathering insights the old-fashioned way takes time and resources. When AI shaves significant time off of those tasks, clients get more for their fees. This improves client retention and helps attorneys work faster than the competition. When attorneys, paralegals and other staff members are spared volumes of busy work, morale improves. Top talent seeks out firms that embrace new technology.

Firms that fail to embrace these advantages will also notice the changes—but they’ll see them happening to their competitors. Clients may question how their other law firm manages to get more done in less time and at lower fees. In a legal proceeding, any advantage can prove decisive. If your competitors have data-driven insights about judges, statutes, case law and other information about the proceeding at their fingertips—and you don’t—you’re fighting with one arm tied behind your back.

In an industry where clients are constantly looking for added value and the competition is always seeking an edge, a law firm that shuns data-driven technology will soon find itself running against the wind. With the advent of AI-enabled litigation analytics, law firms must decide if they are going to embrace data or try to stand with the status quo. The stakes are nothing less than survival versus obsolescence, dominance versus defeat.

See how easy it is

A user-friendly technology such as Westlaw Edge does not require attorneys to become data engineers. With an intuitive interface and AI that communicates in natural language, users quickly pick up the basics and can start gleaning valuable legal insights in minutes. Learn more about how Litigation Analytics on Westlaw Edge can help your firm surpass the competition.

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