The Modern Law Firm and Data

December 16, 2015

We thought it was a problem if law enforcement officials did not know how the Internet and Dark Web worked as well as the capabilities of eDiscovery tools, but a law firm that does not know how to work with data-mining tools much less the importance of technology is losing credibility, profit, and evidence for cases.  According to Information Week in “Data, Lawyers, And IT: How They’re Connected” the modern law firm needs to be aware of how eDiscovery tools, predictive coding, and data science work and see how they can benefit their cases.

It can be daunting trying to understand how new technology works, especially in a law firm.  The article explains how the above tools and more work in four key segments: what role data plays before trial, how it is changing the courtroom, how new tools pave the way for unprecedented approaches to law practice, how data is improving how law firms operate.

Data in pretrial amounts to one word: evidence.  People live their lives via their computers and create a digital trail without them realizing it.  With a few eDiscovery tools lawyers can assemble all necessary information within hours.  Data tools in the courtroom make practicing law seem like a scenario out of a fantasy or science fiction novel.  Lawyers are able to immediately pull up information to use as evidence for cross-examination or to validate facts.  New eDiscovery tools are also good to use, because it allows lawyers to prepare their arguments based on the judge and jury pool.  More data is available on individual cases rather than just big name ones.

“The legal industry has historically been a technology laggard, but it is evolving rapidly to meet the requirements of a data-intensive world.

‘Years ago, document review was done by hand. Metadata didn’t exist. You didn’t know when a document was created, who authored it, or who changed it. eDiscovery and computers have made dealing with massive amounts of data easier,’ said Robb Helt, director of trial technology at Suann Ingle Associates.”

Legal eDiscovery is one of the main branches of big data that has skyrocketed in the past decade.  While the examples discussed here are employed by respected law firms, keep in mind that eDiscovery technology is still new.  Ambulance chasers and other law firms probably do not have a full IT squad on staff, so when learning about lawyers ask about their eDiscovery capabilities.

Whitney Grace, December 16, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph



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