There is data that can be found in every industry and profession out there- from healthcare to professional sports. If the legal profession is meant to be involved in all of these as well, one question comes to the front of my mind: how can big data help the legal profession?
Let’s start of by stating that there is so much data being collected around the world, and depending on how it is stored, catalogued and indexed, it can take a person days or weeks to sort through. Thankfully in today’s world, however, we have the luxury of programs and computers- computers that can go through this data instantly. Having these programs and applications accessible to us can instantly bring down the cost of analyzing the data, provided you get it into the right format.
Let’s take an example of a case involving product liability. There is a product that is defective. Where does big data come in?
Well now you have all of the records from the creation of that product: the memos, the mockups, and drawings. You have everything that had to do with the end product. You may even have the reviews and testimonials- good or bad. What would have taken months to go through by hand may now take an hour with some computer application. This is because the computer is going to search for certain words, and if the attorney picks the right words and the data is set up in the right format, the attorney now has everything they need at their fingertips. And all in a matter of minutes!
One may think it would be enough as an attorney to go out there and say ‘this product is defective and here are 500,000 complaints about it.’ The reality is that you can actually go one step further with the tools that are now given to us. The attorney can go back into all of the 500,000 complaints and determine what the common component is- and maybe that common component is user error. Then the tables suddenly turn and it is not the product- it is the user!
Big data can now help lead attorneys to answers that they may have never gotten a chance to come to with time and money constraints. Whatever side may be benefitting, information is power and big data is providing just that!