Ed Walters Keynote on Why Data Matters #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: At the Intersection of Risk & KM — Using Data to Evaluate Business Intake – and More

The entire world is changing, as industries as diverse as advertising, stock trading, medicine, and sports are using analytics to achieve maximum results, often in unexpected ways. Law is no different. Although many people think of KM as document-based, it also is one of the richest repositories of the data that can and should drive Moneyball for lawyers. In this session, Fastcase CEO and data-geek-in-chief Ed Walters will explore the frontiers of these tools in practice, from contract drafting to forum shopping, and from case valuation to legal research. The session will discuss how KM can replace hunches and anecdata with metrics and measurement for strategic advantage.

Speaker: Ed Walters, Chief Executive Officer, Fastcase

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Data is the new oil. This is a bit trite nowadays. Nonetheless, there is much to be learned from the oil industry. In particular, Walters draws some powerful lessons from  John D. Rockefeller and  his experience at the dawn of the oil industry.
    • It helps to have a head start. Take the data that is easily available to you, squeeze some value from it, and then incorporate new data sets. Rinse and repeat.
    • If you are going to make data valuable, you must integrate vertically and horizontally. The important thing is to get out of your silo!
    • Data is not valuable in its own right. It’s useful for what it enables you to do.
  • Law firm decision making. Typically, law firm decision making is based on hunches (i.e., the experience and judgment of the senior lawyers of the firm). Data rarely plays a role. This must change. Continuing to rely primarily on hunches will soon constitute malpractice.
  • Learning from Uber. Uber is a data company that provides valuable information to riders — who my driver is, what car I will get, when it will arrive, etc. All of these data points are currently missing from the very broken traditional taxi industry. So riders operate in the dark. This is frighteningly similar to law firms and their clients.
  • If data is the new oil, drill baby drill.

 

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