As a practicing lawyer I can appreciate the challenges that lawyers face when it comes to management of commercial information. Working with Encompass, however, I have realised that data visualisation can be a lawyer’s best friend. Encompass has recently released their whitepaper titled "Lean Legal" showing how visualisation of information can help lawyers escape the world of words and enter a world of pictures. This helps cut down hours of reading and searching into minutes and even seconds. While the concept of visualisation is not new - we all remember the old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’- the legal world has only just started to understand its benefits.
Visualisation enables us to see the concepts that we are learning in a more interesting and more useful manner. One area where visualisation is having an enormous impact is in interpretation of legal search results from registers like ASIC, NPII or PPSR.
So here are five reasons why your firm needs to get familiar with data visualization:
1. Trimming the fat: Visualisation makes it easy to understand and analyse information at hand. This enables legal practitioners to take a ‘lean approach’ to information management for operational efficiencies in a challenging and competitive environment.
2. Getting there faster: Lawyers always need to quickly extract relevant content from many searches and use that information to advise a client, prepare transaction documents or draft a legal opinion. Visualisation technology helps lawyers speed up processes without compromising on the quality of their advice.
3. Good housekeeping: More often than not, the searches from a matter need to be referred to at a later stage by other members of the team. Searches may also need to be repeated as a matter develops (mostly just before a deal settles) for comparison, making the initial search extremely important. Visualisation technology based on Software as a Service (SaaS) platform allows easy access for stored information and visualisation makes it easy to everyone to understand it.
4. Competing and differentiating: With the help of advanced visualisation software, lawyers can abandon archaic traditional practices and drive better engagement by presenting their advice (at least in part) in a visual format. Visualisation software can also help uncover new business opportunities by showing clear links between people, properties and company ownerships, securing clients for additional consultation.
5. Taking down barriers: Regular cross-border and cross-departmental communication, whether it is with clients or team members, is essential to the success and reputation of a law firm. By building a picture of the critical information involved in a matter, lawyers can collaborate and communicate more effectively. Language, distance or technical legal knowledge are all barriers that can be minimized through the use of visualisation, not to mention the ability to share information quickly in a universal language.
Technological innovation in the form of visualisation is great news for the modern day legal practice. Given the magnitude of searchable data, we need something in our toolbox to facilitate lean data management practices. Lean means getting the most out of a process with the least amount of time and effort spent, eliminating waste of any kind. An interactive solution designed for professional audiences that can tease out connections and turn complex data into simple pictures is a clear step forward.
This post first appeared on the ALPMA blog "A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers".