When I introduce myself as a law and analytics student, I often get confused and puzzled looks. Individuals in the math and IT fields do not understand the law and most lawyers do not understand math and technology. Even when individuals are familiar with the terms data science, analytics, and big data, the terms have such variety of meanings in the world today that it can be difficult to have a common understanding. In Shelly Palmer's article Are You Ready for Data Science?, Mr. Palmer gives one of the best explanations of the role of a data scientist and the value data scientists bring to the table that I have seen. Using the venn diagram above, Palmer explains the three pillars of data science: mathematics, computer science, and domain expertise. A professional trained in these three areas has a unique perspective and a powerful approach to problem-solving.
As a law student and a business analytics, I seek to combine a passion for applied mathematics and computer science with a substantive understanding of the law and the legal industry to develop data-minded solutions to support and improve the practice of law. From analyzing criminal law investigations and prosecutions to developing predictive analytics models for civil litigation, there is tremendous opportunity to develop data-minded systems within the legal industry and leverage the resulting data in meaningful ways. In law, we may not have true big data (at least not yet) but the data we do have is complex and messy and data scientists equipped with substantive law understanding are vital to making sense of this data.
Learn more about the "Big Data Deal" of law on March 24th at the Detroit Legal Innovation and Technology Meetup event at Michigan State College of Law.