Building the data-driven law firm

An in-depth look at how the use of data has become inextricably linked with the practice of law and how it will influence the law firm of the future.

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  • Publication date: May, 2019
  • Pages: 100
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-370-6


Like so many other professions, law is becoming increasingly influenced by an overwhelming amount of disparate, fragmented and complex data that can both help and hinder business. Data comes from a wealth of different sources, both internal and external, constantly changing, never still. Keeping control of all that data is one challenge; leveraging it to the greater good much harder.

Other professions have had years of experience integrating data analytics into their businesses and using analytics to predict outcomes; for legal, this is a relatively new challenge, and one that could potentially change the way the industry works.

Despite the huge amount of data in the average law firm, data-driven decision-making is relatively new and uncharted. With the knowledge that some 90 percent of data in the world today was created in the last two years, this needs to change.

Building the data-driven law firm looks at how the use of data has become inextricably linked with the practice of law; how it can be utilized to the good and the safeguards that must be put in place to mitigate the bad; how Big Data will revolutionize the way lawyers work, and the cases they will work on; and how new uses for data (including blockchain and the Internet of Things) will influence the law firm of the future.


Chapter 1: The data-driven mindset – the culture and habits of data-centric organizations

By David Curle, Director, Enterprise Content – Technology and Innovation, Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute

Chapter 2: The richness – and bias – of legal data

By Thomas Hamilton, VP of strategy and operations at ROSS Intelligence

Chapter 3: How to use data to make your business better

By Holly Urban, CEO and co-founder, EffortlessLegal LLC

Chapter 4: Using machine learning and AI to improve legal practice and drive value to stakeholders and clients

By Aaron Crews, chief data analytics officer, Littler

Chapter 5: Unlocking contractual data

By Edward Chan, partner, Linklaters LLP

Chapter 6: How data is transforming the relationship between lawyer and client

By Jennifer Roberts, manager, strategic research, InTapp

Chapter 7: Blockchain and the data-driven law firm

By Robert Millard, founder and partner, Cambridge Strategy Group

Chapter 8: Legal aspects of data

By Joanne Frears, solicitor, Lionshead Law

Chapter 9: How data will enable the shift towards the productization of legal services

By Simon Drane, managing director of earlsferry advisory, former executive director of business development at the Law Society and LexisNexis

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David Curle
David Curle, director, enterprise content - technology and innovation, Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, supports Thomson Reuters’ About the authors legal business with research and thought leadership about the legal technology and innovation ecosystem, and the changing legal services industry. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters in 2013, he led coverage of the global legal information market for the research and analysis firm Outsell, Inc., tracking industry performance and trends. He is a regular contributor to the Legal Executive Institute blog and Forum Magazine, and speaker at legal industry events. He has a JD from the University of Minnesota Law School and a BA in History from Lawrence University.
Thomas Hamilton
Thomas Hamilton is the VP of strategy and operations at ROSS Intelligence, where he coordinates efforts across the company to ensure that sole practitioners, legal aid groups, law firms, government agencies, corporate law departments, state bar associations, and law faculties are able to benefit from cutting edge developments in artificial intelligence research. Thomas believes passionately in the ability of technology to improve access to justice worldwide, and as employee #1 at ROSS Intelligence, speaks to groups around the world on legal technology innovation, law firm strategy, and the transformative economic potential of artificial intelligence technology.
Holly Urban
Holly Urban is the CEO and co-founder of EffortlessLegal LLC, an award-winning thought leader and innovator in software automation solutions for law firms. Holly has over 20 years of progressive experience in management and leadership positions in a variety of industries including technology, consulting, banking, retail and hospitality. For more information, visit
Aaron Crews
As Littler’s first chief data analytics officer, Aaron Crews leads the firm’s data analytics practice and Big Datastrategy. Leveraging an extensive background focused on the intersection of technology, business, and thelaw, Aaron’s team of lawyers, analysts, statisticians, and data scientists work with clients and case teams to harness the power of data to build superior legal strategies and improve legal outcomes. This team also advises the firm and its clients on the development, implementation, and use of analytic models, machine learning and algorithm-driven technologies (often called AI), and using data visualization/data story-telling to enable insight, drive understanding, and extract value. Littler’s long-held dedication to innovation is exemplified in this team, and the firm is one of the first in the United States to hire a leader dedicated exclusively to data analytics and Big Data into a position in its C-Suite.
Edward Chan
Edward Chan is a partner at Linklaters LLP, specializing in the prudential regulation of banks. Edward read philosophy, politics and economics at Balliol College, Oxford University, and holds a master’s degree in law from the London School of Economics. Edward is also the founder of Nakhoda, an internal start-up within Linklaters LLP, which is also the firm’s flagship technology offering.
Jennifer Roberts
Jennifer Roberts manages the strategic research function at Intapp, responsible for the analytics and research component that supports product development and thought leadership for new initiatives. Leveraging her skills to advocate, evangelize and build data-fueled products and insight, she examines theprofessional services industry to drive analytical intelligence that informs strategic decisions and solves organizational needs. Prior to joining Intapp, Jennifer received her MA from the University of Minnesota in advanced statistical methodology and performance measures. 
Robert Millard
Robert Millard is founder and a partner at Cambridge Strategy Group, a management consultancy based in Cambridge, UK, focused primarily on law and other professional service fi rms and other deep knowledge enterprises. Rob is immediate past co-chair of the IBA’s Law Firm Management Committee and currently serves on the steering committee of the IBA’s President’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Services.
Joanne Frears
One of the first women solicitors in the City to specialize in advising technology businesses on IT law, Joanne Frears, solicitor and leader in IP and technology law, Lionshead Law, has been advising on technology law and commercialization of IP for over 20 years. Providing advice and strategy on IP, exploitation, commercialization and defense, she has particular expertise in law for AI, AR and VR, Blockchain, cybersecurity and defense of patents against trolls. She also has an academic interest in emerging technology and how the law deals with everything innovative. Joanne is a member of the Accord Project (participating in the IP and Technology Working Groups) and is legal counsel to the British Blockchain Association and the IBA and holds a Masters in comparative EU, UK, and US IP law.
Simon Drane
Simon has held numerous positions within the professional services sector over the last 25 years – at a FTSE 100 legal information solution provider, a legal technology consultancy, a law firm, an accounting firm, and a legal membership organization. Simon has qualifications in law and tax, and deep experience in commercial product strategy. Simon has board level experience of both executive and non-executive roles, and as CEO of a technology start-up. He has a strong track record in creating innovative product strategies resulting in multiple new multi-million pound high growth lines of business. Simon led the new investments product strategy area at LexisNexis and created and launched many of the next generation content and workflow product offerings for lawyers. At the Law Society Simon ran the commercial arm of the organization and restructured a set of commercial investments through taking board seats. He also implemented a new commercial strategy including a significant shift in focus to legal technology innovation, including the launch of a legal tech-focused Barclays EagleLab accelerator. Simon has also held senior knowledge management roles in both law and accounting firms. Simon established earlsferry advisory towards the end of 2018 to help people with their product strategies, whether they are technology businesses, professional services businesses or investors into these spaces.

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