April 04, 2018
April 04, 2018
Contributor: Jackie Wiles
Not yet reaping the benefits of legal analytics? Pick a workflow, seek specific insights and apply the right tools.
Finance has long since leveraged analytics for business insights, but legal departments have been slower to do so, despite having plenty of usable legal data at its disposal from sources such as e-billing and contract management systems. This is a missed opportunity — analytics can improve efficiency, reduce risk and increase profitability across corporate functions.
“The explosion of information from recent technological developments has created the opportunity for legal to harness available data and use analytics to inform decision making,” says Chris Audet, research director at Gartner. “Legal departments that are more analytically mature exhibit higher work quality, reduced litigation costs and lower spending.”
Research from CEB, now Gartner, shows that nearly 50% of legal departments intend to use analytics for process improvement, and more than a third for legal analysis. However, many legal departments aren’t sure how to best start leveraging legal analytics, but some simple steps will enable any legal department to apply analytics to their work and processes.
The first step in the process is to find a suitable workflow to examine. In general, most legal departments’ analytic efforts target resource allocation (e.g., cost-cutting), process improvement (e.g., efficiencies), risk management (e.g., minimize litigation risks) or legal analysis (e.g., optimize case strategy).
The choice of workflow should depend on:
Next, identify what questions you want answered. Analytics can answer four types of questions:
The skills and tools required for analytics depend on the question you are asking and the level of specificity you need in your answer. More skills and capabilities are needed as you shift from asking “What did happen?” to “What should we do?” For example:
If your legal department does not have the analytic capabilities it needs to answer your selected question, you can still use analytics to address a more foundational question as a starting point. Begin with the resources the department already has and focus them on one or more basic analytic questions.
“Starting with a solid, data-driven understanding of what happened will allow you to answer all subsequent questions more accurately, even if you are unable to apply analytics directly to those questions right now,” says Audet.
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