Data Trends in the Legal Industry: Transitioning from Data Silos to Data Portability – Jeff Cox writes in Legaltech News
The legal industry is sitting on countless goldmines of legal data, but that data is largely sitting untapped in silos, requiring extensive, manual excavations to derive any real value or actionable intelligence. As the world continues to become more and more data-centric, the law firms and legal departments who are able to break down those data silos to unlock intelligence will be better positioned to overcome future challenges and seize new opportunities when they surface.
We’re thrilled to share UniCourt’s latest article in Legaltech News written by our Director of Content, Jeff Cox: “Data Trends in the Legal Industry: Transitioning from Data Silos to Data Portability.” This article is the third and final piece in a three-part series on data trends impacting the legal industry.
In the first article in this series, “Data Trends in the Legal Industry: Embracing Data Classification Standards,” Jeff covered the importance of developing and implementing legal industry standards for data classifications, and the need for fostering an active community of law firms, legal departments, legal tech companies, and legal support providers dedicated to refining those standards on an ongoing basis.
The second article in this series, “Data Trends in the Legal Industry: Moving from Unstructured to Structured Data,” switched gears to center on the need for the legal industry to move from unstructured to structured data. In this article, Jeff highlighted the differences between unstructured data and structured data, looked at general trends in structured data surrounding the use of data lakes and data visualization tools, and rounded out the article by reviewing trends connected to structured data in the legal industry.
In the final article of this series, after outlining the critical importance of data classifications and data structuring, Jeff pivoted to sharing why law firms and legal departments should be concentrating their efforts on data portability. This article takes a closer look at comparing data silos to data portability, how APIs can be used to enhance data portability, related trends in the legal industry, and some final thoughts on where to begin on the road to achieving data portability.
Here below is an excerpt from our article in Legaltech News:
Every day, law firms and legal departments work with and produce massive amounts of data. From matter management solutions to billing systems, contract lifecycle management tools, and customer relationship management tools (CRMs), to court records pouring out of countless courthouses, billions of data points pass through the veins of the legal industry every year. However, much of this data is restricted and can only be used within its originating database or system without extensive manual manipulation. That’s where data portability comes in.
The first and second articles of this three-part series focused on trends in data classification and data structuring that help law firms and legal departments make better decisions and increase productivity. These trends are just two pieces of the larger puzzle, while data portability works to ensure data classifications and structuring can be useful across platforms. In this article, we’ll close out this series by looking at the challenges with data silos, how APIs are enhancing data portability, and broader data portability trends in the legal industry.
Data Silos vs. Data Portability
If data is the new oil, then why isn’t it flowing? Traditionally, data has been exclusive to the platform it lives in, or its ‘silo,’ and cannot be easily moved to or combined with data from other platforms.
To move large amounts of siloed data from one platform to another, one must manually view the individual data points from the original platform, document them, and then individually input them into the new platform. This method is not only extremely time-consuming, but an expensive, logistical nightmare prone to human error with the potential to tank the most well-intentioned data initiatives.
What is data portability? Succinctly put, it’s transmitting data from one source to another. It is the ability to freely move data, through technology like APIs, across platforms without the hassle of manually moving blocks of data byte by byte.
For example, Meta uses data portability to share consumer data between applications, both internal and external. Have you ever been prompted to login to Facebook as a one-step login to another application? That’s data portability at work, taking information from Facebook and exporting it to the secondary application, such as Instagram, instead of manually entering your login information again.
Using APIs for Better Data Portability
Data classification and structuring inside a data silo are important for ease of use and reporting capabilities, but once this is done, how do you get your data out of the silo to use across different platforms? This is where APIs come in.
APIs, or application programming interfaces, allow you to export data from one system to another, to data lakes, or even to the cloud, where data can then be accessed by multiple systems without extensive exporting, cleaning, and re-uploading every time you need your data in a different system.
By using APIs to move data between applications, you can combine massive amounts of information from differing systems to create overarching, interconnected databases, from which you can pull the specific slices of data you need, whenever necessary. Essentially, your applications can talk to one another with APIs, to give you the robust, real-time insights you need without messy and time-intensive manual imports, exports, and data manipulation.
You can read the full article here on Legaltech News.