DATA – Lawyers The Hunter for Data October : A Legal Knowledge Engineering Series

Lawyers The Hunter for Data October : A Legal Knowledge Engineering Series


Data : It is everywhere yet it evades the radar of the knowledgable. Perhaps it wears an invisibility cloak or it has become acclimatized already. Never the less data has somehow managed to fool us.

The terms Big Data, Data harvest, Data management, data manipulation, Data storage, Data shed,: the list goes on and on.

Yet it is not something new at all. The diminishing buzzwords we all have become accustomed to in the 90’s and 00’s are being gradually replaced organically with a new set of terms circulating around our society and incorporating new terms such as algorithms, process management and data value.

Have you ever put your hand into a pair of jeans pocket and found a £10 note or $10 bill that suddenly brought a smile to your face on a cold October morning just before pay-day?

The value of that Data stored away by law firms over the last ten years or more has suddenly become just like that surprise October find .

It is not finding the data per se that has generated the frenzy but the methodology used in which the processing of the data can be managed and utilized by every member of a firm from the top-level managing partners down to the cleaners and porters.

I don’t buy into the term ‘Big Data’ which suggests a superior , standalone entity of data which dictates the way we function within organisation.

Within what I call “ Systems Function Data’ there are various methods of analyzing and using the large quantities of data we already hold, gather and extrapolate.

Ultimately it is about taking all of the data and simplifying it , reducing it to information that can be used by staff and customers to improve their decision-making process. Systems Function data exists already in every firm, what is occurring now are new innovative ways of making actionable steps to improve efficiency. So it’s actually about creating simple actionable information.

Interaction has begun , do you speak data?

A few key innovations have suddenly started to be able to interact with the Systems Function data stored already. The Cloud, mobile workplaces, specialized analytics and algorithms and data visualization techniques act as gatekeepers to our entrance to the language of ‘Systems Data’.

If we want to be able to put systems data to work for us, first we need to communicate with it using a language we can understand.

By studying the language of systems data we can communicate and use the data to create a more effective and informed decision-making process and, ultimately, higher quality, lower cost legal services.  All legal , business and personal decisions fundamentally depend upon the following simple questions:

  • What is happening? – A snap shot audit and Real-time visibility of the most critical indicators for your organization
  • Why is it happening? – The ability to look into current issues to understand what led to the results
  • What should we be doing? – The ability to determine road maps, goals and objectives, allocate resources, monitor them and evolve
  • What is likely to happen in the future? – Being able to monitor and analyze current and past performance to proactively address evolving trends and predict possible outcomes

As the language of Systems Function data evolves, so too the handling and use of this data adapts to the changes. It’s a new frontier for the legal profession and business in general and one which will encounter many turns and twists along the way.

It isn’t only about extracting the data it’s about being proactive rather than reactive with visualizing and creating innovative methods of determining what IS data.

The skills and experience of your team can be harvested too offering an accent to the language of the data creating a specialism in a specific area of practice.


Do your team speak ‘Data?’

Michelle l Hynes LL.B (Hons) DiPLP

Legal Process Engineer


follow me @legaleaglemhm




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