Can Data Analytics help Legal organisations unlock potential growth and enhance the customer experience?
“Data…the oil of the digital era” – In 2017 the Economist likened the value of data to the value of oil over a century ago. It is now the most precious commodity and it’s value needs to be harnessed.
With the constant, ever-increasing influx of data, organisations who understand and utilise this information hold unimaginable power. There is uncapped growth potential for legal sector organisations due to their multiple systems, client records and databases. But the question is, are these legal firms unlocking the full potential on this data?
The Legal Sector and Data
RELX, the powerhouse of business analytics, polled various sectors including those from the banking, insurance, and legal industries, as well as health care and government, on their awareness and plans of implementation for AI and machine learning techniques. It was revealed that the legal sector came in at the bottom of the list in big data utilisation – falling behind significantly in its use of automations, machine learning and AI.
In fact, only 44% of the legal sector senior IT executives quizzed, admitted to offering employee training for AI, big data, and machine learning. But how is it that a billion-pound industry – one that works alongside some of the most technologically advanced, data-driven and data-focused businesses – has fallen behind, with little initiative to propel into the adoption of data analytic methods?
Why data analytics should matter
Data is a critical element to making informed decisions. But, to make informed decisions, understanding what the data is telling you is crucial. Data without any element of analysis holds no value. The value lies in transforming data into more comprehensible information and then turning that information into insight. Forward thinking organisations across various sectors, who themselves are clients of legal organisations i.e., Alphabet (Google), Snapchat etc., gain much of their insight from transforming data into valuable information. Yet, the legal industry does not. This not only creates a distortion between the services provided and its clients, but it furthers the gap between data-centric legal providers market share vs. the organisations who are not.
Understanding data can help legal organisations better understand their clients’ needs and satisfaction levels, their competition, and success against internal objectives. Through effective data analysis, organisations can also identify and mitigate risks, streamline operations, improve performance, and even measure their performances. Data analysis not only helps the operations of a business, but it also helps improve productivity and saves time, money, and resources.
As an example, not all data (qualitative or quantitative) is of equal value. Value of data completely depends on its relevancy. However, this is where pieces of data are often discarded or neglected. Potentially wasting additional information that could contribute to an even more accurate and data-informed decision. With automated and machine learning solutions, data analysis techniques can accompany human analysis in collecting and analysing data to help generate accurate information (regardless of its relevancy), which will contribute towards more rapid and actual fact-based decisions.
Through combining rich data, emotionally intelligent inter-departmental specialists, and machine learning, the legal sector can zoom in on information at a granular level, look at data in conjunction with, rather than in isolation and understand the true context. This, ultimately, will result in valued, data-driven, and informed decisions.
Types of data within the legal sector
To understand the benefits of data analytics for the legal sector, organisations firstly need to be aware of the types of data available.
This was nicely summed up in 2018 at a conference hosted by Bloomberg Law’s commercial director, Carl Sussman, where director of marketing and business development at Pryor Cashman breaks down the data and analytics used into three categories:
1. Individual data
Individual data refers to the data collected across your social media platforms, as well as your campaigns, your website(s) and its landing pages, GA (Google analytics) and more. These metrics present your KPIs, helping identify both SEO and performance, as well as provide insight that can influence your strategy going forward through providing a magnify glass on what your clients and potential customers are doing.
2. Industry data
Industry data refers to the data collected and analysed on others within the legal sector. Industry data can help influence organisations to establish innovative ideas and strategies through the ability of dissecting its competitors. The data obtained can not only be used to identify and target potential clientele, but it can also be used as a competitive advantage and remain ahead of the crowd. Through advanced data analytics you can develop formulas to estimate and predict future events based on historic and real-time data. In addition to computer science, ensuring human emotional intelligence is too incorporated, you can continue your competitive advantage despite many utilising the same analytic products.
3. Internal data
Lastly, but most importantly, internal data. This refers to the organisations data on productivity, finances, client retainment and lifecycles and so much more – the good stuff. Here you have a myriad of information to zoom in on and opportunities just waiting to be exploited – from your current outgoings, timescales, areas of improvement, as well as any correlations between clients and their lifecycles which can be re-used, adjusted, or cut, all to improve future approaches, processes, and organisational functionality.
Ultimately, if data is utilised well, data analytics can drive business developments. But the key is to ensure your data is of high quality – this means focusing on your data integrity, which happens before data is collected – a simple way to ensure this isn’t a cause for concern, is to implement a data-oriented approach which can be achieved through a data strategy. From here, your organisation can automate data profiling and quality alerts, this will allow your data to be successfully managed and controlled.
With new technological developments of data science, machine learning and AI, organisations are now able to establish a master data warehouse and connect systems. Ultimately, this allows data to be analysed from budgeting, lead generations, client retention, operational insights, ROI’s and so much more.
The benefits of data within the legal sector
Prior to technological advancements such as computer-based data analytics, organisations would spend hours reviewing records and information relevant to a particular case, event, or report. Something that is extremely costly of time, money, and resources.
Often, legal organisations rely on a summarisation of their individual experiences, as well as others within their firm too. Something often referred to as a “hunch” or intuition, or quite simply anecdotal evidence. In modern society, nearly everything is digitally based, tracked, and recorded – making information not only more accessible, but, when automated, quality assured. Combining human emotional intelligence with advanced computer technologies, legal organisations can use data analysis to help uncovering patterns from past events, providing more accurate insight; whilst simultaneously contributing towards the success of its cases, client retention and outcomes.
Specific benefits for the legal sector:
1. Client relationships
2. Utilising historical data
3. Competition and marketing
4. Profit increase and pricing of services
5. Strategic decision making
6. Improved efficiency
7. Operation management
Success in the court room
Data analytics can present legal organisations with the opportunity to reveal patterns from prior litigations. This can help predict anything from the time of the trial and its termination; even down to transfer orders and the history of judge’s decisions. Furthermore, legal organisations can even obtain information of their opposing counsel and competition, including their clients and relevant experience. This allows legal organisations to become more prepared and anticipate what is to be expected, and strategise their approach which can result in more success rates.
In fact, 98% of organisations attested that by using analytics for litigation purposes were able to determine successful strategies for courts and judges, and 88% noted the importance of analytics for winning cases. This can help attract more clientele and continue to retain current clients due to reputation and caseload success.
Through the analysis of historical data, organisations can quickly identify trends. For legal organisations, this allows timely and accurate predictions, exploiting opportunities to succeed as corporations can reflect upon past cases and anticipate outcomes. Ultimately, organisations are then able to establish a data-driven strategy and effectively deliver their argument(s). This method is and can be typically used during the preparation stages of cases and events – however, it is certainly a method that can be used as an on-going process to consistently present any potentially damning or useful information.
From data gathered, including individual and industry data, legal organisations can obtain insight of its hard data on success rates, experience, and agility to quantify their experience, compare alongside their competitors and strategise a campaign, pitch, or sales approach to attract and win new clients. Ultimately, this demonstrates to prospective clients why they should trust and chose you as their representative.
Strategic decision making
Data available for legal organisations include internal, industry and individual. Through all combined, legal organisations can utilise its clients, competitors and personal data and transform insights gained into strategic decision making. Information obtained across the spectrum can provide industry insight and specialisation, subject matters, and resource deployment. Organisations can align, or in some cases realign, their current strategic focus and approach in alliance with its industry. This allows legal organisations to further consider newly, required talent acquisitions, as well as organisational expansion and scalability – areas which have been previously ignored.
Ultimately, this helps organisations remain on top of industry concerns, innovative ideas, and trends – keeping them ready for the future. This allows legal organisations to feel empowered, as they are able to adjust objectives, goals and decisions according to industry, environmental or direct impacts and changes.
Typically, legal organisations spend a lot of time, money, and resources on cases. But utilising all effectively, efficiently and within a decreased costly manner can be a challenge when there’s no real system in place. Through advanced analytic methods and techniques, organisations can link billing systems with calendars and time(s) available to not only analyse and determine prices but allocate staff for cases. This further allows organisations to have a real-time vision of the organisation, providing visuals of where money is going, time is spent, areas for improved efficiencies and so much more.
The time spent manually sifting through information, data and historical cases can oftentimes take hours or, in some cases, days. With the adoption of advance analytics, legal organisations can decrease this time spent significantly, as they will no longer need to manually extract insights themselves but can instead mine through the data gathered by the system. They no longer need to spend hours, upon hours extracting insights as new and innovative data methods can do so within minutes.
Legal organisations can gain instant visuals of its on-going and historical progress, business development and other business matters through obtaining data from management systems. Advanced analytics can present visual charts and dashboards pulled from management systems, allowing legal organisations to better understand performance alongside timelines and budgets. This allows organisations to see whether they are set to meet their deadlines, or if they are falling behind. Ultimately, this provides an advanced opportunity to think about and make the steps necessary to meet deadlines in a timely manner.
Data analytics provides an advantage and it’s an advantage that should be utilised. Organisations no longer have to (nor should) wait for its clients, employees or partners to complain. All the information you need is right in front of them. The information advanced data analytics provides allows legal organisations to identify any past, current, or potential inefficiencies – either within on-going cases or within business and organisation operations – this allows intervention to take place as soon as possible. This, ultimately, can result in improved services, which can improve ROI, client retention, reputation, organisation agility, profits, and so much more.
As a result of implementing advance data analytics, legal organisations are not only able to improve their relationships with clients, but also their marketing to attract more clientele, streamline processes and operations, increase profits, and overall become more efficient.
Reports on digital transformations even state that organisation which are data focused and therefore data-driven are 23 times more likely to attract customers, six times more likely to retain customers and 19 times more likely to be profitable.
This suggests that data and data analytics are quickly become a crucial asset to legal organisations, providing them with an edge and competitive advantage.
So, with the legal sector lagging in adopting this technological advanced approach, it most certainly is an advantage that legal organisations should begin to consider and thoroughly exploit.