For lawyers, the importance of “using data to make decisions”

Rick Klau has spent most of his professional life with Internet startups. Now with Google Ventures, Klau keynoted this year’s ABA Techshow. The ABA Journal, June 2014 at 37, summarized three lessons Klau offered for the legal industry.

His first lesson “emphasized the importance of using data to make decisions.” Klau argued that “facts and figures are exponentially more important than gut feelings and informed opinions.”

This blogger agrees, completely. Whether a decision concerns the choice of counsel for a matter, the promotion of a lawyer, the selection of a matter management system, the maintenance of a patent, the client satisfaction initiatives to undertake, or other calls, data is available or can be collected that informs thinking. No, algorithms can’t replace experience and thinking, but data analysis significantly strengthens the quality of decisions by managers of lawyers. Even if data simply challenges commonly-held assumptions, that helps. Numbers help people make better decisions.

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