In a recent article in The Lawyerist, lawyer and legal writer Lisa Needham argues that when it comes to technology and the legal profession, “We think we know what we need, but we really don’t.” Her contention is that we are wasting effort on inventing and refining existing apps and software, while ignoring major opportunities inherent in the analysis of “Big Data.”
“What if you could drill down and see how a specific judge ruled on very specific arguments at the trial court level,” Needham asks, “and make some predictions about how that judge might rule in the future?” (This is only the first item on her list of intriguing possibilities.)
Citing the proliferation of case-management software as an example, Needham says that there is a wide enough range of choice already in specific areas of legal technology: instead of putting money into the “next best thing” in a specific type of software or legal app, it is time for innovators to move on.
Needham is suggesting that we should be looking at a bigger picture when it comes to envisioning what technology can do for the practice of law. We should be considering what approaches could make existing technology contribute better to our work (e.g., training business analysts to work with law firms, or improving the technological expertise of law school deans). And she points out that when it comes to mining the masses of data that are already out there and putting them to use, there is endless room for creativity.
As always I am most interested to know your thoughts regarding the future of technology and the practice of law, or any other matter. Please comment below or contact me directly via email.