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Beautiful data: analytics can help us ask ourselves the right questions

Reporting systems only give us poor averages about the likely cost or duration of a case, argues Alan Larkin as he mines client data for more accurate approaches

1 March 2019

Stockholm, October 2018. I’m at the IBM University Analytics conference, sitting in on an analytics session, surrounded by data scientists. What possible relevance could data analytics have for English family law?

The journey that took me to Stockholm began two years earlier when I obtained a licence for the IBM Business Intelligence platform (formerly IBM Watson).

I had a large amount of data from a family law triage project covering 228 anonymised clients and I needed an analytics platform that could make sense of their various journeys in and around family law processes.

I wanted to see the ‘Big Picture’ by asking questions of the data that I hoped would deliver better outcomes for clients. Family lawyers provide bespoke services to individuals experiencing the unique stress of broken, or swiftly rupturing family relationships.

The focus is personal, particular and intimate. The very antithesis of the Big Picture. A family lawyer must col...

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