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If calculational mathematicians tackled law department management

IBM has a group of 160 research mathematicians who do not immerse themselves in theoretical research but rather apply their experience and discipline to solve real-world problems. This group harkens back to the operational research (OR) that came into being during and after World War II (See my post of July 14, 2006 on models.).

Examples of practical calculalations at IBM abound in Fast Company, Feb. 2007 at 98: the math whizzes worked on how best to send equipment and firefighters to forest fires; that analysis sounds useful for allocating law firms and in-house staff to lawsuits that break out.

The mathematicians developed algorithms and a model for how to staff consulting projects; that thinking sounds useful in terms of understanding how best to put lawyers and paralegals on large projects. Some day the tools of math boffins like IBM’s may help law departments manage their resources more effectively.

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