“Data science” is a frustratingly vague name for a field with so much buzz around it. However, the gist is relatively simple (as we explain in our legal analytics introductory series). Data science is about taking data and boiling it down into useful knowledge or actionable predictions. From the best colleges to the smallest department at Google, organizations are increasingly excited about a future empowered by data science. But what about the implications of legal data science?
As usual, many attorneys think legal data science isn’t relevant to them. Data doesn’t accurately reflect their work. There isn’t adequate data about what they do. Their work is so unique and varied that no two matters are similar. How often could legal data science be relevant when legal is so special?
The answer? Quite often. Or at least that’s what Facebook’s legal department seems to think. Not only is Facebook hiring another data scientist, but they’re hiring a legal data scientist. A data scientist to focus solely on problems facing their legal department.
It’s pretty intuitive once you think about it. For a large corporate legal department, even the rarest and most complex legal issues can occur frequently enough. This is especially true of companies like Facebook that exist almost wholly in databases on the Internet. More than that though, regulation and the maze of compliance that comes with it have left mountains of rules and records that must be picked apart by a legal data scientist. In this age of computers, there’s no need to go cabinet diving. Using natural language processing, machine learning, statistics, and visualization, one experienced legal data scientist can do the work of hundreds of traditional attorneys. Facebook clearly gets it. What about your organization?