Robert Plant: What Big Data Means for the Legal System

Big data and machine learning are changing the world rapidly. The legal industry is no exception. Big data expert Robert Plant explains in his recent Wall Street Journal blog post how the legal system is being disrupted.


The technology of big data is premised on the ability to analyze not only text but many other data types such as pictures, email, video and voice. This allows lawyers to look for patterns and correlations across vast data sets previously inaccessible. For example, law firms can use the technology to analyze the judiciary, in that the patterns of behavior by judges and their cases can be reviewed. Questions such as: How does the Judge rule on certain types of cases can be studied by date and time? Does the judge dismiss cases for a consistent pattern of reasoning? How do holidays affect decisions? Do they sentence harder at different times of the day? These can all be asked and used to good effect.

These developments, of course, have large implications for the legal profession itself. Many of the routine tasks now performed by entry-level lawyers or paralegals will increasingly be undertaken by analytics; case and trial strategies will be developed by legal informatics as will increasingly jury-selection strategies. In court, judges will come under increased pressure to be consistent and impartial over their time at the bench and judiciaries will be capable of being examined against new national standards.

You can read the entire article here…

Robert Plant

Technology thought leader and Harvard Business Review author, Dr. Robert Plant translates the tech-future into strategic execution for today’s executives.

A polymath thought leader on new technologies and their impact on business strategy, Robert brings to his lectures and writing a unique perspective. One gained from combining his formal training in theoretical computer science and a doctorate in Artificial Intelligence with a twenty five year career as a Business School Professor, during which he has undertaken teaching and research at leading universities around the world. He is based at the epicentre of the Americas, in Miami, where he is Director of The Intelligent Computer Systems Research Institute.

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