Article written by:
Mallory Ashbrook, CPA, CVA, JD
Manager, Forensic & Dispute Advisory
There has been a recent rise in the use of predictive data analytics in litigation. What is predictive analytics? Predictive analytics takes a historical set of data, analyzes it, and then predicts future outcomes based on that analysis. So how can that be used by litigators? Recently, new technology has come out that analyzes the actions and decisions of judges, lawyers, and other law firms for example. Judicial analytics allows litigators to form an understanding of a judge’s tendencies. What is the judge’s propensity to rule on certain types of motions? How long does it take that judge to rule on the motion? Knowing this information helps litigators develop case strategy, as well as manage client expectations. This type of data analytics can also be applied to opposing lawyers and/or law firms. You can find out what percentage of their cases settle versus going to trial, how many motions per case they typically file, etc.
Historically, if you wanted to know any of this information, you had to do the research on your own, which would normally consist of asking other attorneys and/or relying on your own experiences. However, that obviously limits the amount of data you are analyzing to make an informed decision. Now, there are technologies that gather and analyze the data for you. For example, LexisNexis has a tool called Context that analyzes judges and expert witnesses. Westlaw has a similar service in Westlaw Edge. These platforms take the data they have already accumulated and use artificial intelligence to analyze the data and present it to you in a way that will aid in your decision-making regarding your litigation strategy. While predictive data analytics is a new concept in litigation, data analytics, in general, is far from new in litigation.
Diagnostic data analytics has long been used to assist litigators and business owners in calculating damages, quantifying fraud, detecting fraud, and assisting in fraud prevention for years. Similar to what LexisNexis and Westlaw are doing with information on judges, attorneys, and experts, data analysts are capable of doing similar with financial and accounting data. With the appropriate deployment of analytical tools, the analysis can be completed quickly, in a cost-effective manner, and will lead to reliable analyses for a variety of litigation. Specifically, with respect to labor and employment disputes, we have found that we are able to quickly and efficiently analyze and summarize massive amounts of payroll, time tracking, human resource, and other data in order to provide answers to critical questions. This same analysis is applicable to class action lawsuits or any other litigation that requires the analysis of “big data.”
The use of data analytics at every stage of litigation will serve as an aid for creating a competitive edge through improved decision-making, increased efficiency, and enhanced client and case management. Every law firm and case has data. In this day and age, if you are not doing something to take advantage of the data you have, you may be missing out.