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14 Apr 2020 Download

Legal Analytics Buyer’s Guide

The capabilities of legal analytics are fundamentally changing the way attorneys conduct online legal research. And when it comes to legal analysis, you have a few legal technology tools to choose from. All legal analytics resources aren’t created equal however—to find the right legal analytics software and services for the type of online legal research you’re doing, you need to know exactly what to look for and ask the right questions.

Big data, AI, cognitive computing, machine learning—analytics technology is heavy on jargon. Prepare yourself with this handy primer: Eight Legal Analytics Terms You Should Know.

When it comes to researching legal analytics providers, two names will likely come up. And while both Westlaw® and LexisNexis® offer significant analytics toolkits, it’s wise to compare and contrast the two before deciding on a legal research solution.

If you’re unsure about the role of legal analytics in your firm, you can keep reading below. Or if you’re already familiar with legal analytics and want to get straight to the guide, click the big red download button at the top of this article to get the PDF.

What is Legal Analytics?

In simple terms, legal analytics is the science of drawing insights from large volumes of data. That means attorneys can use legal analytics to identify trends, spot patterns and predict the future (with a relative degree of accuracy, of course). But the real answer is far, far more nuanced than that.

So nuanced, in fact, that we wrote an entire article about it. Read it here: What is Legal Analytics.

Given the benefits of data analytics, it’s no surprise that many lawyers are drawn to the technology’s legal research and legal analysis capabilities. Those capabilities could mean something as simple as ballparking a verdict or settlement value, or as advanced as finding a jurisdiction with favorable precedent—either way, legal analytics has proven to be a powerful resource for savvy lawyers.

How Legal Analytics Can Help a Lawyer

Speaking broadly, legal analytics can help attorneys in one of two ways—they can help strategize and they can help persuade.

When it comes to strategizing, legal analytics can offer insight into things like a settlement award or how long it took the case to reach a conclusion. Understanding those kinds of variables help law firms determine the best course of action, or whether it makes financial sense to take the case at all.

Legal analytics can assist more directly with courtroom strategy as well. For instance, if you knew a judge had a tendency to deny a particular motion based on historical data, then you can tailor your approach accordingly.

Attorneys have also used legal analytics to persuade. Language analytics for instance, has the ability to show lawyers precise words and phrases that can buttress a legal argument. It can also reveal flaws in expert testimony or help locate a court with precedent more favorable to a specific view.

Data, Data, Data

Pay attention here—this is important: Any analytics engine (legal or otherwise) is completely reliant on the data it uses. So it’s absolutely imperative that you determine where the analytics provider is getting it’s data. You want to make sure the data is current and reliable.

It’s often said that bad data is worse than no data at all, and that’s especially true with legal analytics. Using an analytics tool that relies on untrustworthy data could lead to an incorrect analysis—which may ultimately result in a catastrophic outcome for the client.  

Yet data is only part of the equation; you’ve got to be able to work with it. Analysis paralysis is a very real thing. Strong analytics tools let you filter and refine, while incorporating intuitive visual aids to help you come to a prudent conclusion.

Which Legal Analytics Tools Should You Buy?

That’s the reason you’re here, right? Well, the answer is a rock-solid “it depends.”

The takeaway is to know exactly what you want out of your legal analytics resources. Are you strictly focused on litigation? Are you a managing partner looking to measure the value of each case? Are you a time-pressed solo who needs to be extra-careful about which clients to take-on? Understanding your role’s specific needs is a great way to start refining your legal analytics choices.

Remember this: details, details, details. When shopping for a legal analytics source, train yourself to look past the marketing hyperbole and ad-speak. Ask direct questions like “how can it help me?” and “what insights am I able to draw?” and, a perennial favorite, “can I trust the data?”

Ready to dive in?

Check out this handy guide