In a recent survey , LexisNexis® found that many in-house counsel look forward to a future where Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools will improve their workflow.
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This post was originally published in October 2019 and updated in September 2023.
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Data-Driven Insights Carve the Path
The legal industry is built on expertise. Attorneys’ expertise leads to self-confidence in their work product, which consequently leads to projecting that expertise and, ultimately, a client’s confidence in their work product. This expertise is carefully curated through a combination of personal experience and the use of legal technology to gain insights at scale, which — together — lay the foundation for achieving more positive client and business outcomes.
One of the best ways to ensure expertise and confidence, and inevitably, better outcomes, is by building the strongest case strategies — strategies that are firmly rooted in data-driven insights. These objectives require surfacing the most accurate results from a comprehensive collection of the most up-to-date legal information — a task that is largely predicated on efficiently and effectively using advanced legal technology solutions.
While lawyers have been accustomed to digital legal research and document management tools for decades and are familiar with harnessing the power of data through analysis, advancements in technology — from AI and machine learning to natural language processing — are innovating and creating an entirely new experience for legal professionals.
Along with this new experience is a new vision for the future of legal practice. The application of data-driven insights results in data-driven law — a transformation of the law, where strategic decision-making is more informed than ever, yielding better customer outcomes and driving unprecedented transparency, access to trends, insights into legal practice and more.
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Jeff Pfeifer, Chief Product Officer, North America at LexisNexis, explains the next generation of legal tech tools take a holistic view of attorney workflows and innately understand that attorney activities are not discrete. Moreover, user experience is critical.
“Our efforts continue to focus on building an integrated product experience that allows an individual to be guided in their workflow process, as well as explore how the user design and experience helps drive overall confidence in their activities, ” Pfeifer says.
The company’s latest product, Lexis+, is a cohesive tool that places emphasis on a broader integration of attorney workflow-centered activities, with a very different look and feel than what has previously existed in this space.
“Legal tech users are looking for a step-change in design and user experience,” Pfeifer notes. “While users are not looking to compromise utility, they are demanding a higher level of design. We know that design and usability are tightly connected concepts. Tools that are easy to use and explore drive a higher level of confidence in the interaction.”
At the heart of tools like Lexis+ is the idea that decisions about case strategy, litigation, even pursuing and winning new business are best made when driven by data, and more importantly, through the lens of analytics. Before the widespread use of data analytics, an attorney would, for example, research as many decisions from an assigned judge as possible before going to court to draw conclusions about how the judge might rule in a particular matter.
Today, technology uses natural language processing to understand the semantic intent of a user’s search term and harnesses the power of data in order to surface insights for attorneys — not to mention give access to unprecedented volumes of documents nearly instantaneously for a better understanding of why certain judges rule the way they do. Context around judges’ decisions — delivered at scale — can ultimately boost attorney confidence going into the courtroom.
Want to pinpoint actual arguments a specific judge has made in motion practice or understand why a specific judge admits or excludes expert testimony? It’s about leaving no stone unturned in case preparation and using technology as a risk management tool — essentially, removing limitations that humans may otherwise have.
Humans are inherently limited on the volume of information they can consume, with studies repeatedly showing that machines are much more efficient at processing text at scale and translating it into discrete conclusions. As Pfeifer notes, “There are amazing insights in that data when processed at scale, and that is something that technology can uniquely deliver.”
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Confidence is created when attorneys have absolute assurance they haven’t missed any critical pieces of information — be it a key news story, a motion filed by opposing counsel or relevant case law. Furthermore, well-designed, intuitive product dashboards visually present data in such a way that reduces tension around the feeling that the research could be incomplete. Attorneys can understand in a sharp, visual way how and why data is connected — a considerable confidence boost.
Additionally, building client confidence stems from setting and exceeding client expectations, as well as the ability to support decisions with data that explains why a specific case strategy was chosen. Instilling client confidence and satisfaction can also, in turn, attract new business.
“Missing something can result in a negative outcome for clients, or a financial penalty, which is what users want to avoid,” Pfeifer says. “Data mining, and data visualization and brief analysis are about making sure the user has the sense that they are seeing the complete picture.”
For example, data analytics can help an attorney verify the research they’ve conducted to prepare a brief. Harnessing the power of analytics can improve an attorney’s own work product by triggering the identification of relevant, uncited cases — as well as similar briefs written by other attorneys. Analytics can even recommend citations that are important to crafting a more solid legal argument.
“We’re constantly working to answer the question, ‘Have I examined everything? Have I found every document out there?’” says Pfeifer.
For attorneys, being able to unequivocally answer “yes” to these questions and leave no stone unturned builds the confidence that translates to the strongest, most persuasive arguments, work output and client satisfaction.
Learn more about practicing with complete confidence at LexisNexis.com/LexisPlus