Using Big Data to Advance Diversity and Inclusiveness

Topics: Canada, Corporate Legal, Data Analytics, Legal Innovation, Midsize Law Firms Blog Posts, Thomson Reuters, Women’s Leadership Blog Posts


In May, I attended the Chief Legal Officer Exchange in Miami, at which I had the pleasure of taking part in a panel of esteemed colleagues to discuss “Moving the Needle on Diversity and Inclusiveness” within the legal profession.

My colleagues on the panel discussed their personal and career experiences around implementing diversity initiatives and shared stories of what worked and what didn’t.

At the conference, I was also introduced to a tool that will not only help revolutionize how we as general counsel select external counsel to increase our chances of success at litigation but also promote true diversity and inclusiveness within the legal profession.

How? Premonition Analytics offers general counsel in the United States and Europe a tool that uses artificial intelligence to read, analyze, and categorize litigation and provides statistics on the success rates of lawyers vis-à-vis the subject matter, the judges, and other variables.


After a thorough analysis of the case law across the United States, Premonition has made several critical observations:

  • Women are generally more successful at litigation than their male counterparts — associates are an average 3% better and partners are 12% better.
  • Big Law firms win more often than lawyers of smaller firms, but the difference between the two is minimal.
  • 92.3% of the top performers appearing before the average judge come from small and mid-size firms.

Will AI Tools Hold the Answer?

Why is this important to the Canadian legal profession? Premonition is nearly complete in analyzing Canadian cases. If it has similar findings, then the job of the GC will potentially be made easier, and diversity and inclusiveness will undoubtedly be accepted as good business.

For example, we tend to find that while women are equally represented in law school, they make up only slightly more than 20% of the partners at law firms and only 4.88% are litigators.

Somewhere in their careers, women fall out of the system. One of the possible explanations for this is that subconsciously, partners within law firms mentor and refer the most high-profile work to other associates who look like them with regard to ethnic background, gender, etc.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter in her book Men and Women of the Corporation called this “homosocial reproduction,” which refers to the tendency of people to select incumbents who are socially similar to themselves. Women associates, therefore, do not always have access to the networking, high-profile cases, and the support from partners needed to make partnership or they select themselves out.

You can read this article in its entirety in the latest issue of Canadian Lawyer: In-House.