Can In-House Counsel Sit Up to the Big Data Table?

Every corporate department can bring a little something to the table when it comes to managing big data, including in-house.

, Law Technology News


As we discover new innovative ways to use big data, business leaders are starting to ask themselves which c-suite executives and departments should be the host — and apparently in-house counsel don't even rank a seat at the table.

The responsibilities for analytics within companies are all over the map, according to a recent Deloitte survey. Of 75 companies, 23 percent tasked a business unit or division head with directing big-data initiatives, while 18 percent handed the job off to the chief financial officer and 15 percent to the chief information officer. Only 5 percent of companies listed another c-suite executive and none listed the legal department, indicating that in-house plays a small role in big data. A whopping 20 percent of companies didn't have a single executive in charge, demonstrating a leadership vacuum for big data analytics, according to Thomas Davenport for the Wall Street Journal.

"I don't think there is any right answer to the question of who should own the function," writes Davenport, "Every location and role have both strengths and weaknesses. But some reporting relationships are better than others."

Davenport suggests that leaving big data to a single business function is effective only if it drives analytics almost exclusively for the company. Otherwise, a team is necessary — and legal should be on it. According to a McKinsey study, several issues like privacy, security, intellectual property and even liability must be addressed before companies can use big data effectively.

Moreover, legal can analyze its own data to help companies extract information and predict outcomes. In patent litigation, for example, lawyers are turning to big data to inform their decisions about venues, get information about judges, and figure out other factors that can influence a case's outcome, according to Lisa Shuchman for Corporate Counsel. Shuchman writes that big data gives attorneys an edge over opposing counsel in lawsuits that could be worth millions of dollars.

Angela Hunt is a freelance writer based in New York City. Email: Twitter: @AngNHunt. LTN Twitter: @lawtechnews.


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