Big Data Has Arrived In Legal Services And It’s Creating A Competitive Advantage
Premonition.ai is a recently launched, US based website, using Big Data to identify which commercial litigation solicitors or barristers win the most, before which Judge.
This is the first time that artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and data mining techniques have been used in this way. Thousands of cases are analysed daily to determine win rates and the results have generated a significant level of global interest – with Premonition saying they receive an online visit every 30 seconds.
A report has since been released on UK performance in the legal sector; analysing 11,647 cases to expose the win rates of every barrister, law firm and listing the top chambers.
The report caused uproar in the UK legal sector, with critics stating that this arbitrary approach to litigation is damaging to the legal profession.
Specifically, the rankings did not differentiate between the varying specialisms of each set of chambers and so ranking highly for overall performance in the High Court does not mean that the individual barristers are a good fit for your particular case.
However it has been argued that commercial lawyers and barristers struggle to market themselves and charge at rates commensurate with their ability. Perhaps with this type of performance transparency, the right cases will be matched to the best the legal sector can offer and at the right price?
We all know that people and premises are usually the largest overhead of any UK law firm or chambers. Firms have to pay their employees whether their fee earners are billing or not and so there is continuous pressure to keep them billing. Clients don’t like this because it makes for lengthy and expensive litigation. If technology can balance these drivers and encourage proportionality this this must be a good thing.
If the system says that your firm wins a lot, then arguably you will inundated with new clients banging on your door. Clients will be happy to pay premium rates because that lawyer or barrister delivers.
Conversely, if a commercial law firm repeatedly loses cases, then this information will be readily available to potential clients and the market will fix itself through transparency.
Litigation funders are bound to take an avid interest in this approach. Well, who wouldn’t want to achieve a greater level of certainty on their investment?
Whilst Big Data may assist in helping decide which commercial lawyers and barristers have the best success rates, this is not going to completely replace the personal relationships and cultural fit needed to understand the right lawyer to instruct on a particular matter.
But if is a huge change in a conservative market and to those of us fascinated by where this all leads …. what’s next? If AI can pre-empt legal success rates pre-hearing then is it a matter of time before the need for legal representation is a defunct concept in itself?
There is definitely a need for the legal profession to move hand in hand with technological advancements. But there is a need for caution. I, for one, would always choose human autonomy over technologies that could achieve basic consciousness; primarily, because I don’t see why machines would need to keep us around in the long run.
Article written by Rachel Furniss, Legal Content Manager for LawyerFair and ex-corporate lawyer.
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