Legal analytics help lawyers respond to client questions

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How long will it take the judge to rule in my case? Will she rule in our favor? Is the opposing counsel any good?

These client questions are common, but concrete answers are hard to come by. Compounding this is the fact that, on average, completing legal research tasks takes an average of six hours per task, according to recent research from Thomson Reuters, so attorneys likely don’t have time to devote hours to researching how similar claims have played out in court.

But in an age of technology, new legal tech tools are being designed to provide attorneys with more specific answers for clients’ numerous questions about expected case outcomes. Known generally as legal analytics, these tools can provide data on how a judge typically rules on summary judgment motions, how long a particular judge generally takes to decide a case or how often the opposing counsel chooses to settle.

In Indianapolis, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP recently purchased LexMachina, a legal analytics tool from LexisNexis that the firm plans to use to research potential defendants and the outcomes of cases similar to current clients’ claims. Jayna Cacioppo, chair of Taft’s Indianapolis litigation practice group, said a firmwide committee recommended the use of legal analytics to stay competitive and meet client needs in the ever-evolving legal market.

“This is just a small step into the future,” Cacioppo said. “I think there will be a lot more of this, of artificial intelligence and legal analytics.”

Numerous companies offer legal analytics tools, and Indiana Lawyer spoke with representatives from Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, Bloomberg and Premonition to learn about their specific products. Here’s a look at the most commonly available legal analytics features:

Case outcome predictors

analytics-1.jpgIs your case likely to settle, or are you headed for trial? AI software offered through programs such as Thomson Reuters’ Westlaw Edge makes it easier for an attorney to predict the direction a case will take by reviewing judges’ rulings and common case outcomes in specific jurisdictions.

How long will it take for the judge to rule in your case? Software such as Bloomberg Law’s Litigation Analytics could tell you using “length of case analytics” that track how much time passes before judges issue a decision. Such software often also allows attorneys to search by case type, making it easier to pinpoint exactly how long it will be before a judge issues a decision in a securities case, for example.

What caselaw should you cite to ensure your motion for summary judgment is granted? LexisNexis’ new Lexis Analytics suite uses language-based analytics to find the caselaw a particular judge most frequently cites to when granting summary judgment or other motion types.

Judicial characteristics

analytics-2.jpgJudges can be predictable, and legal analytics tools seek to capitalize on that fact. Products from Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg Law and LexisNexis each offer features that allow attorneys to search by specific judges and uncover a treasure trove of data, such as how a judge typically rules on a specific motion, or how often the judge is appealed.

Premonition, an AI company based in Miami, also offers its customers insights into the relationships between a judge and the attorneys that come before her. Does one attorney tend to lose before that judge? If so, Premonition can provide that information, which founder Toby Unwin said can be beneficial for law firms’ client recruitment and business development efforts.

Firm search

analytics-3.jpgBusiness development efforts are becoming increasingly important in today’s legal market, and Premonition’s software tries to aid in those efforts by providing information about companies that are sued frequently. Using that information, attorneys can solicit clients who are likely to need their assistance.

Further, Bloomberg Law’s Litigation Analytics program provides data about law firms’ areas of expertise, litigation experience and frequented jurisdictions. That type of information can aid in-house counsel who are looking to contract with a firm on a client matter.

Attorney characteristics

analytics-4.jpgIf you’re a client looking for an attorney, there’s an obvious question you’ll ask about every candidate: Are they any good at their job? To answer that question, Premonition offers analytical insights into attorney success rates. More generally, Westlaw Edge can provide biographical information about an attorney, which can be helpful to attorneys seeking to learn more about opposing counsel.

An equally important question: How will this attorney handle my case? Will they settle right away? Unnecessarily go to trial? Lexis Analytics can try to answer such questions by providing data about attorneys’ trial strategies.•

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