Has Your Legal Department Developed and Embraced a Legal Data Strategy?

Data may represent the greatest untapped resource for driving legal department improvements and achieving results, according to a new report by Arran Braganza, Founder and CEO of Jalubro Consulting Ltd.

By creating a data strategy, law firms can ensure data is treated like a resource and an asset that aligns with business objectives and potentially creates a competitive advantage for the enterprise, says Braganza.

One way to do this would be for legal departments to embrace a data strategy that applies to their lawyers and practice areas–and not just rely on IT leaders to provide it, he continued.

In some instances, the IT department may not comprehend the nuances and expertise needed to turn legal department data into a rich resource. Therefore, legal leaders have to be involved, he concludes.

What This Means For You (If You Run a Legal Department):

If you’re not leveraging your data you are leaving money on the table.

There are so many insights that can be gleaned from your data, assuming that you’re able to classify and analyze it, says Nicole Clark, co-founder and CEO of Trellis Research and a business litigation, labor and employment attorney.

That data can be particularly useful as legal departments and law firms discuss litigation strategies, she said.

“Right now, those answers are sort of hidden in different places and the [law firm] isn’t going to be able to get those insights and decide which cases to fight, to settle, or to create an overall general strategy,” Clark said.

“They’re going to miss out on those insights if they don’t have a data strategy that allows them to take these insights and act upon them to make sure they are adding to the bottom line of the firm,” she explained.

What You Should Do:

Per Clark:

  • If your department has someone it works with as a data provider, definitely consider chatting with them about their practices because when you’re starting from scratch it’s not going to be easy. “What they can do on their end before they involve anyone else is think about how they see data in a way that will allow them to be able to pull it and classify it later, then it will be so much easier later on when you go back to mine that data from those documents,” Clark said of legal department leaders. “So we need a little more structure and organization in the way clients save the data in the first place.”
  • The next step, if you’re very serious about getting insights from your data, would be to consult with a legal research and data analytics provider and take a little trial data and then examine the outcomes. “Insurance companies are a great example of doing this because they share their data anonymously with each other and because of that they are able to have really accurate information about what a particular claim might cost across all the large insurance companies.”

Questions You Should Be Asking:

Per Clark:

  • Where are they getting the worst results from?
  • What would be a “win” if you were able to achieve it?
  • What are the claims that are the most expensive for the company right now?
  • What do we need to be able to analyze these types of clams, or how is that data stored?

Ultimately, you’re getting back to how is the data stored, how is it maintained, how is it organized, so that when you get to the analysis part, you’re able to get through it faster because you have it organized in the first place.

Prior to founding Trellis, Nicole Clark was a business litigation and labor and employment attorney who handled litigation in both state and federal courts. She regularly represented multinational corporations in claims ranging from high-profile trade secret disputes to complex class-action litigation. Frustrated by sending internal emails and collecting anecdotes on judges in order to make strategic case recommendations, she built Trellis to solve her own need for access to data, information, and analytics at the state trial court level. Prior to law school, Nicole attended Bard College, beginning her college coursework at the age of sixteen. She graduated with honors from University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in Journalism, and received her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law in Newark, NJ. Nicole sat for the Bar Exam in California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and remains licensed to practice law in all three states.