“For the rational study of the law the blackletter man may be the man of the present, but the man of the future is the man of statistics and the master of economics.”
These were the words of Oliver Wendell Homes Jr. (1841-1935), who served as the associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in a legal review published in the early 20th century. More than a century later, his quotes have proved to be quite true. Data-backed analysis is becoming common in many areas of society, including the law. With recent growth in interest for artificial intelligence, we are seeking ways on how to leverage data in the legal field.
Statistical analysis is the foundation for data-backed analysis or leveraging AI. Also, an economics-backed approach is a very important approach in analyzing social phenomenon. In modern economics, data-backed empirical analysis is considered crucial.
Taking Homes’ quote into perspective in Korea’s social circumstances, we can infer that legal studies and other fields of social studies, should be based on empirical values. It is very important to have strong basic theoretical foundation in place, but we also need to ensure consistently and repetitively that such theories are properly reflected in reality. We need to apply outcomes in the real world back in theory as well. Given the evolving trends of technology where data is incorporated and the changes in social economic systems, empirical-based approach is becoming more important than ever.
The future is shaped by us. We need data and economic-based approach to understand where we stand and what we aspire going forward.