WILL THE RISE OF AI AFFECT JUNIOR LAWYERS?July 24, 2020
Millennials: THE NEXT BIG HIT FOR LAW FIRMSJuly 29, 2020
It is certainly wrong to think that having a data analyst on staff should be exclusive domain of tech companies. Absolutely wrong. Since law firms have been generating and storing huge amounts of data over the years, they might as well benefit from using this data to make strategic decisions, provide better services to their clients and generate more revenue for their legal practices.
Recent forecasts from the World Economic Forum, have clearly shown that data analysts are expected to be one of the most in-demand jobs by 2022 in companies worldwide.
Long before data science became a buzzword, William Edwards Deming said that “without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” As the volume of data generated grows exponentially with each technological advance, more and more companies realize the importance of developing a data-driven culture, where data analysis is at the center of corporate strategies.
Because of the rise in the demand for data analytics roles, Harvard University labeled the profession “the sexiest job of the 21st century.”
But what do data analysts do?
Tom Davenport, President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College and one of the 100 most influential people in the IT industry by Ziff-Davis, and one of the world’s top fifty business school professors by Fortune magazine says that “The shortage of data scientists is becoming a serious constraint in some sectors.”
More than anything, what data scientists do is make discoveries while swimming in data. It’s their preferred method of navigating the world around them. At ease in the digital realm, they are able to bring structure to large quantities of formless data and make analysis possible. They identify rich data sources, join them with other, potentially incomplete data sources, and clean the resulting set.
Data scientists are the people who understand how to fish out answers to important business questions from today’s tsunami of unstructured information. As companies rush to capitalize on the potential of big data, the largest constraint many face is the scarcity of this special talent.
Even though the legal sector has historically been conservative when it comes to adopting trends that other industries are already utilizing, some law firms have been leveraging data analytics to differentiate from competitors.
Data analysts in the legal sector? O yes!
Such data could and should include:
- extracting data from firm systems and applications;
- transforming such data into reportable information;
- loading structured data into cubes for report development;
- creating manual and automated reports for attorneys and staff;
- developing metrics, visualizations and dashboards, showing lawyers their billable hours, dollars and budgets vs. actuals; and
- troubleshooting discrepancies and answering report/data-related questions.
Even though firms has been leveraging data to extract valuable information to its practice for years, they have not had a formal data analytics role to see this as the key to the future.
Firms need to keep track of key performance indicators (KPIs) that vary from client to client, to help the lawyers deliver the desired results. And they can only do that by monitoring the numbers in real time.
To better perform at this role, the importance of developing good communication and presentation skills cannot be overemphasized so that the lawyers can make strategic decisions with them.
Aside from showing that law firms stand a great chance of benefiting from having data analysts in their teams, the purpose of this article is to demonstrate that there is no single standard recipe for implementing these roles, as the background of the professionals, as well as the activities they perform vary according to the type of data the law firm collects and the particularities of the organization they serve.
In conclusion, Hal Varian, the chief economist at Google, is known to have said, “The sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians. People think I’m joking, but who would’ve guessed that computer engineers would’ve been the sexy job of the 1990s?” If “sexy” means having rare qualities that are much in demand, data scientists are already there.
Meet the people who can coax treasure out of messy, unstructured data – The Data Scientists.