With the advent of informed decision making, legal industry could not do away with the reserve of knowledge, “BIG DATA”. 2012 saw the release of two key documents/articles that let out the secrets of data analytics in the legal domain. One of them being the ground breaking ‘The Age of Big Data’, New York Times and the other being ‘Big Data: The Management Revolution, Harvard Business Review’.
One of the primary users of Big Data in the legal world were organizations that crafted electronic billing platforms for corporations with comparisons of relative efficiency of varied legal service providers on an array of subject matters with discrete technical tasks. It did not wrap up there but had information about the final outcomes of every court case, issue and the last detail about the expenses, efficiency and value delivered to every client. This was not just essentially a vanguard step in legal accounting but also a path breaking step in recording legal activities for future research.
A smart data integration solution offers a predictive analysis of the data that sits internally in every legal organization such as letters, emails, documents, notes or recordings from phone calls and many more sources of that sit in dusty old files – somewhat structured or largely unstructured. Transforming all these data in structured transparent metadata format will allow a thread or link established between similar cases while separating them from not so similar ones. The patterns help an analyst to get the gist of the possibilities in terms of the final outcomes, legal procedures, timeline hence legal expenses and the final decision of whether one must go after a legal case or not.
These decisions have influenced the business development strategies of many legal firms with a more researched target making a difference to winning commissions and developing more sales outreach programs. Historic records of communication can definitely spot negative reactions to positive; thus providing a scope to fix a problem at its root. Researches have shown increased cash flow in firms with such modern data integrated customer relationship management.
It is no more an uncommon thing for attorneys to sort through hundreds of terabytes of data when preparing for a case. Traditional technology gets easily outpaced by smart and modern data integration technology to churn the effective information in real time. One concern has however been confidentiality (especially around data scraping and licensing) all along the way whether data sources are in premises or tucked away in cloud. One of the well-practiced technique in modern data integration systems is definitely de-identification or anonymization of vital data sets preventing unique identification of people or organizations. However that has possibilities of concealing valuable pieces of information from structured data archive, hence a potentially misleading link to the outcome of a similar case. This de-identification has often led to a process of re-identification by research analysts for a better perspective of real life situations that have historically led to legal suits for giving away the identities of client behavior in a committed non-disclosure agreement situation.
Computing the pros and cons, will Big Data continue to weave its wand in legal domain? Yes, because one thing the legal industry cannot do without is valuable information. Many law firms struggle between 2 competing pressures. The issue to provide stable, secure, high performance services and all of it instantaneously. So, yes they will continue to bite the bullet until they can figure out a way to completely eliminate it and make the Big data world the perfect world to work with.

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