Crime / Law

Why Big Data is a Big Deal for lawyers

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that “big data” will have a bigger impact than the Internet. Consider how the Internet completely changed our lives. It’s hard to imagine anything, let alone the vague concept of “big data,” having that type of impact.
Yet, if you have read any article the past year on a legal technology issue, you have undoubtedly heard about big data. There’s still a lot of confusion about big data, its power, its potential, and what it means for lawyers. This article is the first in a series that will explore these issues and illustrate why big data really is (and will continue to be) a big deal for the legal profession.
The first step to understanding big data is to define it. Many people think big data just means a lot of data. That’s only partially true. It is generally accepted that big data “refers to data sets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze.” Yet, at its core, big data is really about data analytics — sophisticated algorithms that are being applied to incomprehensibly large volumes of data. We create a staggering amount of data each day. For several years, computer scientists have been developing more and more powerful ways to harness the incredible volume of data for all sorts of purposes, such as marketing, medical research and business intelligence. This is not a recent phenomenon. The big data revolution is quiet one. It has been going on for years, right under our noses.

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