The Atlanta Lawyer August/September 2019 - Page 14

Legal Analytics 101 Class is in session: what is legal analytics, why do we need it and who does it benefit? L e g a l technology traditionally referred to the application of technology and software to help law firms with practice management, document storage, billing, accounting, 14 August/September 2019 DANIELA BRITTON Rechtsanwältin and electronic discovery. Today, there is more to it. Technology in the legal world provides tools for clients to connect with lawyers, or even to complete legal matters, such as contract writing by themselves through “smart apps.” The latest use of computing power in the practice of law is the application of data science methodologies to legal documents. While the idea of employing algorithms and machine-learning processes to legal work dates back to the late 1950s, only very recently have the advances in artificial intelligence and programming made Legal Analytics, in its current form, possible. What is Legal Analytics? “The beginning of wisdom,” said the Greek philosopher Socrates, “is the definition of terms.” So, what IS Legal Analytics? Technically speaking, it is words that are transformed into numerical data, which, in turn, are used as a quantitative basis for decisions to be made by lawyers or other participants in the legal industry. “Imagine Grammy has ten grandchildren who write her 90 letters,” says Susan Navarro Smelcer, Assistant Professor of Law at