The disruptions and snap changes that COVID-19 has wrought throughout the legal industry have sharply brought to attention the need for firms to have a handle on accessing the data they need to run their practices and drive their business development operations.
We are thrilled to share the latest article from UniCourt’s Director of Content, Jeff Cox that was recently published in Legaltech News. In Jeff’s article, “How Law Firms Can Build Successful Infrastructures for Data Analysis,” he discusses some of the key building blocks for developing a successful data infrastructure for law firms: (1) investing in the human capital needed for engineering/IT, knowledge management, and innovation management, (2) using technology, such as data lakes and APIs to remove data silos and automate access to information, and (3) cultivating a culture of change to carry forward data initiatives.
Here below is an excerpt from the introduction of Jeff’s article:
Leveraging legal data to its fullest potential within law firms requires having a forward-thinking data strategy that incorporates the right levels of human capital, technical investment, and, obviously, data. While law firms have been gradually moving toward a more data-driven approach to practicing law over the past decade, COVID-19 has abruptly brought into focus the growing necessity for them to have a data strategy in place to remain responsive to their clients’ needs. With the right infrastructure in place, law firms can conduct the data analysis needed to power their business development efforts and stay competitive in the legal marketplace.
In this article, we’ll discuss how law firms can develop a data strategy for building out the human and technical infrastructure needed for meaningful data analysis, as well as important considerations for accessing the data needed to make their practices more efficient and profitable.
Investing in Human Capital
To develop a thorough data strategy capable of accounting for a firm’s diverse range of data needs from business development, to legal research, and matter management, firms need to make investments in the human capital required to fully realize their strategy. Three of the key functions/roles firms should continue to grow and develop in their data strategy are information technology, knowledge management, and innovation management.
Having a team of IT experts that can break down information silos and make integrations with new applications and data sources run smoothly provides tangible benefits to law firms through increased productivity and capitalizing on potential business opportunities. This is especially true for large firms with hundreds or thousands of lawyers, and countless internal applications and outside data sources to corral and harmonize. From what we’ve seen, some of the most successful firms go beyond just hiring traditional IT roles, and are investing in engineers and database architects to design their own databases to handle unique needs and more efficiently onboard new data streams.
In addition to having in-house tech know-how, law firms also need knowledge management experts to leverage their collective intelligence and to gather and retain information from their most important assets – their ingenious legal professionals. While it’s important to have leaders like chief knowledge officers embedded within the law firm structure to help change culture toward better data management, it’s also critically important to have KM attorneys and analysts on the ground level working to make sense of the firm’s data and drive process efficiencies for particular practice groups and niche legal services needs.
To round out human capital investments for a successful data strategy, law firms also need to invest in innovation management professionals. Even in the best of times, executing firm-wide data management projects and process improvements is hard. It requires coordination between multiple teams, prolonged momentum, and real commitment to change. Innovation leaders within law firms help make sure that legal innovation is more than just a catchphrase for marketing. They are the people with a vision for the future, who follow through on seeing that a firm’s data strategy initiatives reach the finish line.
You can read the full article here on Legaltech News.