Why you need both precision and accuracy in legal research

Imagine yourself playing darts. Imagine yourself playing darts. If you don’t hit the bullseye, try to hit one of the high-point wedges. To beat the correct part of the board, you need accurate throws. It is also essential to use a precise motion to consistently hit the high-value area of the board.

Precision and accuracy are two concepts that work together to help you achieve the best possible result for your clients. How accurately can you throw your darts to land them in the same place on the board? How accurately can you throw so that the dart cluster is in the high-point area of the board? You have limited resources – three darts. To win, you will need to be precise and accurate.

It is important to remember that your approach to research in law should be the same. You have limited time and high stakes to deliver winning client work. You have a partner waiting for you, the clock is running, and you must maximize your limited time.

Precision in legal research

The precision of your measurement is the difference between two increments. Do you measure in hours or minutes? What is the size of your rounding? In the project scoping situation, precision is how tightly you have set your ranges for pricing and budgeting.

Legal researchers use precision to measure how closely the results match the parameters of their argument. If accuracy means that you have all relevant documents, then precision means you only have the documents you need to support your argument.

It would be best if you used your legal research tool to help you create a collection of documents that are as accurate as possible. Searching enables you to find the relevant law and fact patterns. You can filter your natural language search to eliminate irrelevant results and keep the most relevant cases at the forefront. Legal research tools that are powered by machine learning and human insight can search not only words but also central themes. Filtering by legal issue, motion type, fact pattern, or cause of action can be a great way to find relevant cases faster and more accurately.

Download the white paper “The Past, Present and Future of Legal Research: Helping the Legal Researcher Feel Confident They’ve Done Enough” to learn about the speed and accuracy of today’s research tools.

Accuracy in legal research

Accuracy in legal research means you have a collection of documents relevant to your topic or area of law to review. Ensuring that your search returns all records pertinent to the issue is essential.

You can use a legal research tool to quickly determine if documents are still relevant and are good law, in their entirety or part.

It will also let you know if a particular case is often cited in conjunction with another – even though they don’t mention each other. It is crucial to know this because they could unintentionally affect each other negatively or positively.

Accuracy is essential in all areas of legal practice. You need to know the number of hours it will take to scope a project. You may decide on a range of 20 to 80 hours. Clients will expect a more precise budget range if you charge by the hour. You need a more accurate estimate if you create a proposal with a fixed fee. It would be best if you had a more precise estimate.

Precision vs. Accuracy

It’s like throwing a dart while closing your eyes. You will probably score, but it will be too late to know if you even get a target. What if you had to read 10,000 documents or more that were returned by a search that was not precise? What if it takes you hours to throw a dart? You may score, but you will miss dinner on time.

There needs to be a way to choose between precision and accuracy. You must conduct proper and precise legal research. Westlaw Precision helps you find the right cases faster and with greater accuracy than ever before. The right research tools can help you do the research faster and better, allowing you to spend more time on case strategy and writing effective drafts. You’ll be able to thank your client and legal partners.

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