“I am losing faith in humanity,” a trial attorney sitting next to me said when his client was hit with a $200 million jury verdict. The good news: We were not really in court. The bad news: All three deliberating groups in our jury research agreed that his client must be severely punished. We will get back to humanity, but for a moment put yourself in the shoes of the in-house corporate counsel, who is considering why it took years and almost a million dollars in legal fees and expenses to get to this point—the trial scheduled to start in less than a month now must be avoided at all costs. She must be wondering if there was a better way. She must be wondering how her legal department is going to explain the mock jury outcome to corporate management, which will be in no mood to discuss humanity and its shortfalls.

There are no absolute certainties in business, but company leaders aggressively aspire to get all the available data and to glean as much certainty from that data as they can. Data mining is all the rage. New technologies deliver more data than ever before and every day businesses learn something new and update their algorithms. Social media has become a source of trend setting, bringing input from many more sources than ever before, and companies seek to navigate their way using data points that a few years ago they could not imagine possessing. What does the legal industry have to offer to meet this new demand for data and better projections? Under some circumstances, costly and protracted litigation with uncertain outcomes might be acceptable, but in most circumstances, businesses want an early resolution at a predictable cost.

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