American Bar Association
Section of Science & Technology Law: Big Data

Section of Science & Technology Law:
Big Data

Message From The Chair

This committee is currently faced with the daunting but much needed task of guiding the legal profession into best practices to meet the challenges imposed by bigd ata.If you think you can provide guidance or input in furtherance of this effort, please contact me directly.We continue to seek leaders from verticals in law and technology to devote their time, energy and resources to further the interest of data science in law.Thank you!

PaulStarrett, Esq., EnCE, CFE
Counsel and Chief Global Risk Officer
UBIC North America,Inc.
Phone: 408-803-2288

Who We Are

“Big data” is defined as data of sufficient volume, complexity or velocity that it exceeds the capability of conventional current technology or methodology to process or analyze conventionally. To help meet the challenges, a multi-disciplinary area of data science has been tapped to pick up where conventional methods leave off. While the legal profession is no stranger to big data or science, this is the first formal effort by the ABA to establish global standards and best practices to fully meet the challenges imposed by big data using science.

The committee consists of the best in data science and law. We will continue to define the roadmap and provide other guidance for the pursuit of viable solutions for this committee and to further define its mission.

November 2014 Hot Topics presentation:
Jakob Halskov presented a group proposal on the promise of the new inter-disciplinary field called Behavior Informatics. Behavior Informatics is basically the combination of Behavior Sciences (Sociology, Psychology, Criminology etc.) with Informatics, producing tools ranging from Social Network Analysis to the automatic detection of anomalous behavioral patterns in Big Data. The book will cover three actual use cases, Audit and Compliance (FCPA), Investigation (Cartel), and Litigation (eDiscovery/IP infringement), as well as an appendix outlining the most relevant tools/technologies and their utility in each use case.



This Agenda is a proposal and may be amended as needed. We will consider, on an ongoing basis, the need for new subcommittees, working groups, etc., and other events, actions or resources as necessary to carry out the purposes of the committee.


The Committee members may consist of representatives from data-science and law, information-governance and from market verticals.

Committee members should be self-motivated and have the time and inclination to attend meetings, provide contribution to creation of references and similar activities necessary to carry out the purposes of the committee. It is believed that it is best to have at least two professionals on the committee for any given topic under consideration. This ensures that advice and input is robust, objective and balanced.

All contributions to the Committee are in a volunteer capacity. Any disputes or disagreements will be resolved by the Committee’s chair and decisions will be final. All contributions to references, resources and publications by any Committee member become the property of the American Bar Association.

Last, this is a new Committee and in a very broad and ubiquitous subject. We will remain open-minded to the need to redefine direction of the Committee.


New candidates are welcomed depending on the needs of the Committee; motivated volunteers who can contribute to existing needs will always be considered. Recruiting occurs in TWO professional areas:

Data Scientists: data scientists are needed to cover the full spectrum of a data-science project lifecycle and from areas covering all verticals within data science to include structured and unstructured data, high-speed (high “velocity”) analytics, in-database applications, etc. Essentially, verticals that will need to be represented include Statistics (descriptive and inferential), Data Analysis, Database Engineering, Computer Programming, Linguistics / Natural Language Processing, Data Mining / Text Mining, Machine Learning and Information Retrieval. It is likely that one Data Scientist will be able to address more than one of these verticals. Data Scientists need not have a legal background but this is desirable.

Legal Professionals: attorneys, paralegals, litigation support, investigators and similar professionals with strong technical background who can assist with addressing legal principles in the application of data-science process, ensure cross-functional integrity of process and assist with best practices for use of data science in the legal profession. This is the first time this effort is known to have occurred so requirements for this area remain undefined in many areas.


Development of Book Series

Big data is defined as data of sufficient size or complexity that it exceeds the capabilities of conventional solutions or methodologies. At present, the Big Data Committee will focus in the area of data science as the area best able to address the needs imposed by big data.

Big Data Book Series

At the highest-level, there should be a recognition that a legal professional may need to traverse any vertical within data science to properly address their needs. Legal agendas, policies, regulations and legal matters are driven by information that is in the abstract. This information may be found in nearly any type of electronic form. Since data-science verticals touch all forms of electronic data, and in different ways, it will be necessary to provide a high-level framework or common model which will guide the legal professional through the field of data science, generally.

To compound this, often, professionals from one data-science vertical are not familiar with what others do. This is one more reason a common model is needed – to keep all professionals across the data-science verticals focused in the same direction.

The Big Data Committee is currently working on a book series. The books will include educational material, best practices, practical advice, where to find useful resources, etc. The outlines are currently being refined but will include topics organized by practice area where use cases will provide hypothetical scenarios and where data-science solutions will be utilized. It is expected that most major legal-profession domain areas will be represented and major areas of data science will be discussed.

Creation of Newsletter

The Committee recently created a newsletter headed by Jobst Elster. The newsletter will be released quarterly. Please watch this website for update.

Development of Educational Material

Of paramount importance to successfully address the big-data challenges is interaction between domain experts and data scientists. It is believed that easy-to-understand, appropriate educational material will be at least as important as any other agenda of this Committee. Educational content may need to be created for data scientist on legal domains and separate content on data science verticals for domain experts. Plans and recommendations will be one deliverable of this Committee.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS (those who have agreed to have their name and information posted on this site):

John M. Facciola, United States Magistrate Judge, Washington DC

Jason R. Baron, Of Counsel, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Gerard J. Britton, CEO, Topiary Discovery LLC

Craig Ball, Attorney & Forensic Technologist, Craig D. Ball, P.C.

Elle Pyle, Discovery Counsel, McDermott, Will & Emery

Christina Ayiotis, Esq., CRM, Adjunct Faculty, The George Washington University, Co-Chair, Georgetown Cybersecurity Law Institute

Bill Dimm, Ph.D., Founder & CEO, Hot Neuron LLC

Shelby J. Kelley, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP

Andrew Fast, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Elder Research, Inc.

Stephen S. Wu, Esq., Partner, Law Offices of Cooke, Kobrick and Wu, LLP., Los Altos, CA

Sylvie Charles, Founder & Principal Attorney at Legaldotnext

Sasha Hefler, Director of Communications, Big Data Committee of ABA

Justin P. Murphy, Esq., Crowell & Moring LLP

Benjamin Rose, Digital Forensics and Electronic Discovery Expert/Consultant

Dave Townsend, Cyber-Security and Incident Response Consultant

Jakob Halskov, Ph.D., Technical Expert, Technology Department, UBIC Japan

Jobst Elster, Head of Legal Market Strategy,

Daniel Martin Katz, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Law, Michigan State University

Dr. Joel Henry, JD, Legal Technology Lawyer and Consultant, CTO Agile Legal Technology

Judy Selby, Privacy and Information Governance, Partner at BakerHostetler

Joseph Cheriathundam, Managing Director, StoneTurn Group, LLP

Hisham A. Kassim, Attorney, Kalbian Hagerty LLP, Washington, DC

Brian Slack, Esq., Project Manager, UBIC North America, Inc.

Angie Raymond, Assistant Professor, Department of Business Law, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

Christopher J. Savoie, Ph.D., J.D., Senior Manager Enterprise Architecture, Nissan Silicon Valley Office (data scientist and licensed attorney)

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Starrett, Paul

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Modified by Paul Starrett on April 29, 2015

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