There is an art and science to legal practice. The art is displayed in strategy, persuasive argument, and analytical thinking in the advancement of client interests. The science manifests itself in economic analysis, technological acumen and logistical organization required to realize clients’ objectives. For many lawyers and legal support professionals their day-to-day work can feel disproportionately weighted towards the science side of the balance.
It is a rare breed of attorney who embarked on a legal career guided by her love of statistical analysis. But, data analysis, knowledge management, metrics reporting—and all of the other tools typically associated with project management and process control—are absolutely integral to any well-run law department or legal practice. That doesn’t mean that every legal professional must be an expert in statistics or Six Sigma, but those experts will be increasingly part of cross-functional legal teams. I would argue that lawyers have an ethical obligation to effectively supervise those experts.
In other words, practitioners must empower themselves with a fundamental ability to parse the information contained in any deliverables (e.g., proposals, reports, briefs, etc.) that these experts provide—or, just as critically, to recognize what information is not contained in those deliverables.