What are the benefits of lawyers getting trained in data science, AI and machine learning?

Should lawyers get trained in data science

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As the world evolves to be more data-driven, businesses face a growing challenge to catch up with the trends and extract real value from their consumer and client data. With vast amounts of unprocessed data available at their disposal, businesses are looking for employees who are trained in data science and analytics to collect, store, manage and interpret data to benefit society by improving products and business processes. 

Interestingly, law firms have started utilising data science and machine learning to deliver more effective legal services to their clients. 

And there are numerous ways legal analytics can positively impact law firms. Two key impacts are:

  • Increasing the overall efficiencies of completing tasks that once took a substantial amount of time and required human effort. 
  • Using data mining to extract new insights and patterns from vast masses of data that was previously not accessible.

Let’s learn how skills in data science and analytics will help anyone in the legal field stay at the forefront of technology, and how they could apply those skills in a role as a lawyer.

1. Is getting trained in data science a smart career move for lawyers?

Yes! There is no better time to join the big data industry. If your passion lies in reading, analysing and interpreting data, then you are in the right place. Data science and machine learning will be the future of all businesses. Sooner or later, companies will realise the importance of big data in everything they do, from planning, researching and testing to implementing, reviewing and decision making. 

Many companies have already implemented big data into their business processes and are seeing a positive impact on efficiency and overall profitability. The demand for data science is soaring. The good news is that no matter what your profession is, data science skills can be acquired and learned. With the right skill set and knowledge about the industry, you can work in one of the most lucrative, evolving and in-demand industries in the world. 

2. Understanding the role of artificial intelligence and big data in law firms in the 21st century

Like many other industries such as healthcare, legal departments and law firms face the pressing challenge of dealing with volumes of data. Lawyers are constantly under pressure to do a number of tasks such as identifying or researching a problem, sketching a legal strategy, assessing the merits of a case and so on. In addition, clients’ expectations of a more efficient and cost-effective service add to the pressure. 

Big data and artificial intelligence (AI) are now enabling lawyers to manage big data sets and use programming languages to research, interpret and synthesise documents. High-speed data processing software is helping legal departments to provide better insights faster and more efficiently. 

3. How can data science and machine learning be applied in the field of law? 

Technology-focused companies undertaking legal research have been actively using data science and machine learning to manage large data sets while performing other equally essential legal services. 

Let’s look at the different applications of data science in law firms, legal departments and individual lawyers:

A. To protect highly sensitive data:

Legal departments need to deal with highly sensitive data. The risk of this data being leaked or manipulated by outsiders needs to be mitigated effectively.

Data breaches drive law firms into severe problems, like clients losing trust in the firm leading to financial loss or, even worse, fines and legal consequences. 

Robust security infrastructure and implementation of data security measures are the most effective method of mitigating the cost of remediating a breach of data. 

B. To pursue or not to pursue:

Data analytics is used by lawyers to spot trends and decide if they should pursue the case or recommend their clients not to pursue it. 

Data analytics helps legal professionals look into similar cases in the past for their success rate. Based on the success of cases in the past, they can ascertain whether the client has a reasonable chance to succeed if they go to court. 

C. To understand why a case failed: 

Lawyers who lost a case would be curious to know where they went wrong and how they could do better in future cases. 

Data science and analytics allow lawyers to go through thousands of cases and discover patterns that led to judges not ruling in their favour. 

D. To understand the legal system:

Law professionals often make educated guesses as to when to file a case, where to file and if the judge is likely to serve a verdict in their favour. These educated guesses might be costly for the individual lawyer or the law firm in the long run. 

With data science and machine learning tools, lawyers can efficiently sort and extract subtle patterns and trends by processing thousands of cases in a matter of seconds.  Using machine learning, they can extract insight that could directly impact how a judge rules on their case: what time of the week or which season impacts the judge’s decisions and even if they rule a harder sentence at a specific time during the day. 

4. Learn how top law firms in the Asia Pacific are incorporating machine learning and big data analytics into their practice

Law firms in Asia Pacific and around the world have been rapidly progressing towards data-driven law practice. Big data and analytics allow firms to harness and utilise the data correctly to arrive at meaningful insights that will help them improve their efficiency, stay ahead of the curve and make better decisions for the firm and their clients. 

Major law firms in Asia Pacific are incorporating big data and AI to speed up legal procedures, lower costs, and provide accurate and faster decisions. Legal technology has already taken over the legal sector in Singapore. 

For instance, VanillaLaw uses data science tools and technologies to run its operations and has set a document assembly and management software that has reduced their costs and hours of work. Dentons Rodyk, for example, has developed an artificial intelligence tool to decrease time spent on legal documentation and engagements that are otherwise time-consuming. While Wong Partnership, with its documentation automation software acquired in 2017, is managing legal documents and case files more efficiently than ever. 

5. Key steps to transition smoothly from a lawyer to a career as a data scientist

Have your interests shifted towards data science and analytics? Are you motivated to work in a more dynamic field? Are you looking to grow in your current role with a data science skillset? 

Here are a few steps that will help you gain perspective in your decision to move to data science and the steps needed to transition smoothly from the law.

Define your short-term and long-term goals 

The most important thing before switching careers is to consider your short-term and long-term goals. If you are looking to become a data scientist or apply the skills in your current role, it will require time and effort to learn new skills in tools and technologies. However, if your goal is to achieve a leadership role in data science you will need to focus more on people and project management skills rather than technical skills. 

Get the right skills and certifications

To be a data science professional, you will have to be confident and successful in working with numbers, mathematics and statistics. Additionally, computer programming languages will help you work efficiently as a data scientist. Get started with data science certifications and courses to upskill yourself with all the necessary skills and knowledge. 

Implement the data science skills into your current job

With most law firms adopting data science into their business operations, it is a great platform to practice what you have learned by participating in projects that require data science skills. 

Participate in data science events and communities

Connecting with like-minded individuals either experienced in the field or are who looking to enter the field of data science can help you build your professional network whilst keeping you up-to-date with the industry trends. 

Apply for jobs in the data science industry

Once you have the right certifications, skills, practical experience and network, it’s time to get on the job advertisement boards and apply for data science jobs. The opportunities are endless. All you need is desire and commitment!

Big data analytics is quickly becoming a highly desired practice in the legal sector. With the speed at which law firms are incorporating legal technology, the demand for lawyers with data science and analytics is growing. 

Right now, lawyers can take the opportunity to learn additional skills in data science & AI in order to become a valuable asset to the firm’s future. Not only is this beneficial for law firms to stay competitive in the legal sector, but also an avenue for data-driven lawyers to spend less time on documentation and more time practising their skills on new cases and clients. 

Find out how you can upskill in data science and artificial intelligence with Institute of Data’s part-time and full-time programs

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