Access to organized, structured, and accurate legal data is a staple of the legal industry for business development, competitive intelligence, analytics, and process automation. With advances and improvements in access to legal data through APIs, forward-thinking law firms are taking advantage of these data access developments to learn more about their client’s litigation portfolios, so they can identify new business opportunities and new areas to partner with their in-house counterparts and deliver more value.
We’re thrilled to share UniCourt’s CEO, Josh Blandi’s most recent article that was published in Legal Business World. Josh’s article, “Hey GC, Does Your Law Firm Know More About Your Litigation Portfolio Than You Do?”, reviews (1) how future-ready law firms are using Legal Data APIs to better gauge and predict their clients legal services needs to seize on new business opportunities, (2) how General Counsel can and should be leveraging APIs to better manage their litigation portfolio, reduce internal data entry and management costs, and get more accurate reporting, and (3) why GCs should partner with outside counsel when integrating APIs to gain insights on best practices.
Here below is an excerpt from the introduction of Josh’s article:
Law firms are turning to legal data for strategic business development insights and many have or are eclipsing their in-house counterparts when it comes to leveraging data to learn more about their clients’ litigation portfolios. General Counsel need data to make the most informed decisions possible, and as legal information continues to become more widely available, there’s no reason they shouldn’t know as much as their outside counsel about what’s happening with their litigation portfolio.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most impactful ways law firms are already using legal data to understand and anticipate their clients’ legal services needs, how GCs can use those same practices to better manage their litigation portfolio, and how GCs can partner with law firms who are already innovating with legal data.
Anticipating Client Needs with Legal Data
When it comes to technology budgets and the adoption and implementation of new tools, law firms are typically better positioned than their in-house clients to onboard new technology providers. GCs are often bound to tighter budget restraints and have to wade through bureaucratic procedures within their procurement departments simply to get the tools they need. As such, firms can take advantage of the opportunity to test more technology tools and the solutions of more recent entrants to the legal tech market.
More specifically, innovative law firms are moving beyond their legacy data providers to gain bulk access to the data they need to track all of the litigation in which their clients are involved. To do this, they are taking advantage of outside data sources that automate bulk data collection. This enables them to make informed decisions on which clients have new matters or pending legal services needs. This means they don’t need to rely on cold calls or blanket email pitches to discern their clients’ needs. Rather, they know what clients have needs even before the clients themselves do by way of receiving automated alerts that clients have been sued even before they’ve been served. Innovative law firms are proactively getting in front of issues to provide the counsel, protection, and offensive representation that clients need.
This begs the question: how are these firms accomplishing all this? The answer is the strategic use of Legal Data APIs, a tool that helps firms ingest data for all of the new cases filed involving their clients in a streamlined fashion. APIs, or application programming interfaces, are technological tools that allow law firms to swap antiquated, expensive, and labor-intensive processes for automated, accurate data collection and reporting. In the context of law firm business development, this looks like moving beyond hiring and managing teams of paralegals to track all the U.S. court cases filed every day to identify filings involving firm clients. Instead, firms are leveraging APIs to gain real-time reporting on litigation involving thousands of their clients all at once.
APIs also eliminate one of the most time consuming, meticulous, and risk-prone components of tracking clients’ legal services needs: data entry. By using APIs, law firms no longer need to research which clients are involved in litigation and then manually enter in the data into their matter management software or CRM solution. Rather, APIs can supply firms with all the litigation data they need, automatically enter that data into their systems, and allow firms to set triggers to notify business development teams or lead partners when key clients become involved in potentially profitable cases within their wheelhouses.
While this may sound aspirational, it’s not. In fact, AmLaw firms nationwide have already adopted this automated, data-driven practice of powering their business development efforts, and even in the midst of a global pandemic, it’s proven enormously successful for staying ahead of the competition.