The legal profession is well-known for its reluctance to adapt to change, especially in the technology fields. Despite the inherent conservatism of long-standing firms and legal departments, however, younger lawyers increasingly benefit from embracing technology.
Firms and attorneys who are willing to adapt their practice to the demands of 21st-century information exchange often find that they accomplish higher-quality work in less time. Here are three ways to work with big data instead of against it – and reinvent yourself as a top candidate in a tough career field.
1. Learn to use software to supplement electronic discovery review.
Easy data storage has encouraged companies and individuals to keep every bit of electronic data they generate. While ease of storage generally benefits companies facing regulatory conflicts or tax issues, big data becomes a big headache when it comes time to review thousands of megabytes of data for discovery purposes.
Traditionally, document review required the time and attention of one or more associates. Now, however, many companies and software packages can help attorneys wade through e-discovery. While software hasn’t yet replaced the need for human eyes, it can cut down significantly on the time spent on document review by pointing attorneys to the most relevant pieces of data.
2. Embrace statistics.
Lawyers specialize in the use of language. Consequently, for many attorneys, numbers are an unexplored territory. However, big data analysis in the field of lawsuit analysis can offer significant insights into the practice of law. Information technology companies have begun to build software packages that analyze statistical data from specific courts, judges, or jurisdictions.
Data analyzed may include, for a particular judge, the percentage of cases in which the claimant won; the percentage of cases resolved by summary judgment; and the percentage of cases that proceeded to trial. Attorneys who are willing to crunch the numbers – with the help of specialized software – often find that their performance in litigation is improved by a more accurate picture of a judge’s practices than mere word of mouth can give.
3. Get creative.
Crunching numbers offers a gold mine of information, but quantitative data is only one “mine” of many. Technology also exists to collect and analyze a litigant’s social media messages, analyze text files for key concepts or phrases, and tools to visualize numerical data already collected. Unlike many traditional technological legal tools, like Westlaw, many of these programs are free or low-cost, and they are designed for ease of use – decreasing the learning curve while maximizing benefit to attorneys willing to utilize them.
At Assigned Counsel, our experienced recruiters can help you find the legal career position you’re looking for. Contact us today.