New Data Analytics Course Offered
Seton Hall University School of Law launched a new course this spring focused on the trending subject of Data Analytics. The unique course material examines how statistics and data can be used in real-world legal practice. In addition to learning basic statistical techniques, empirical analysis, and overcoming challenges with using data, the course introduces law school students “to various ways in which the use of data is changing the practice of law, including government investigations, corporate transactions, and document discovery and production.”
Avi Muller ’21 explains why the course is especially relevant today – “Our world is increasingly dependent on data—from determining consumer trends to tracking health concerns to isolating and identifying criminal activity. Yet there are so much data that many people, including lawyers, struggle to make sense of it all. My hope is that this course will hone my ability to parse and organize data, push me to meaningfully question datasets that present themselves as simple answers to complex problems, and overall make me a more thoughtful and perceptive student and future lawyer.”
Leading the course is Professor Jacob Elberg, a former Assistant United States Attorney. As Chief of the District of New Jersey’s Health Care & Government Fraud Unit, Professor Elberg launched a Data Mining Working Group and spearheaded the Office’s efforts to utilize data analytics to identify, investigate, and prosecute health care offenses. Professor Elberg has taken that experience into the classroom, where he teaches sampling, regression, and the importance of being able to both construct and critically analyze data-based arguments.
“Professor Elberg relates statistical concepts to how they can be used effectively in law practice,” explains Mikayla Berliner ’21. “These practical skills will be useful in meetings with partners, in the courtroom, and beyond.”
The class aims to prepare students to practice law in a rapidly changing world, to work in policy, or simply to be more engaged consumers of news and information. Given how data is changing legal practice, it is important that even math-phobic students not be intimidated. And for those who are prepared, technological developments create an opportunity for Seton Hall lawyers to distinguish themselves and benefit their clients.
“There is a great deal of data out there on almost every topic imaginable,” says Anish Patel ’21. “On the one hand, that’s concerning, because people can use data to mislead others. On the other, data presents an opportunity to understand so much more about how the world works. This course finds the right balance between the two. As lawyers, we should be ready to work with data, to understand it, to use it, and to know when others misuse it.”