For years, businesses have sought to leverage the value side of their information through data analytics, allowing them to target their customers more effectively. The trend has only become more prolific in today’s age of big data.
Now these robust analytics are spilling over into the legal world as one law firm in particular, Drinker Biddle & Reath (DBR), seeks to apply the power of data analytics to the world of information governance and e-discovery. Bennett B. Borden, a partner at DBR and co-founder and chair of the Information Governance Initiative, was recently named the law firm’s Chief Data Scientist—the first position of its kind in the legal field.
“We are pushing analytics into all sorts of legal scenarios, both on the risk mitigation side and the business intelligence or value-add side of information,” Bennett explains. “We feel like this approach is pretty unique and gives our clients a different take on how to use their data to help achieve legal and business outcomes.”
Bennett holds a J.D. from Georgetown, and recently earned his master’s degree in business analytics from New York University. Bennett’s unique skill set—he’s a lawyer who’s also trained as a data scientist—puts him in a prime position to craft DBR’s data analytics strategy.
That strategy will focus on how the firm can use a combination of technology, data and analytics in an increasingly beneficial way for its clients. Analytics, Bennett says, can be used to arrive at answers faster by tracking down pertinent documents and files quicker—even if they’re surrounded by billions of other data points. Once a relevant document is uncovered during e-discovery, for example, analytics can be used to rapidly find all other documents like it, “amplifying investigatory capabilities.”
What’s more, analytics can be used to assess risk during potential mergers and acquisitions, and they’re also relevant in the compliance space, Bennett continues.
“We’ve built algorithmic models that can actually detect misconduct as it’s happening,” he says. “Data analytics is all about finding patterns in human conduct. Well, there are patterns in misconduct as well.”
In this light, analytics can be used not only to describe the past, but also to predict the future. This functionality can help organizations detect fraud right away—or maybe even prevent it altogether.
Bennett believes that other advanced law firms are likely to see his new role as “ahead of the curve” and as such, wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually follow suit, naming Chief Data Scientists of their own. That’s assuming, of course, they’re able to find candidates with the requisite skill sets—a challenge given the high demand for data scientists across multiple industries.
In addition to DBR’s clients, supporters of the IGI and members of our community stand to benefit from Bennett’s newfound knowledge as well. We look forward to sharing more of his expertise with you in the future.