“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those with loaded guns and those that dig. You dig”.
Blondie to Tuco in the 1966 movie, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The increased number and sophistication of litigation analytical programs calls to mind the above line from one of my favorite movies, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. In the movie, the line sums up the obvious advantage a character holding a loaded gun (Blondie, played by Clint Eastwood) over a character with an unloaded one (Tuco, played by Eli Wallach). To paraphrase Blondie, there will soon be two types of litigators in this world: those who use litigation analytics and those who, well…dig. For those who use analytics, its a good time to be a litigator.
Three recent announcements in the field show just how sophisticated litigation analytical programs are getting. And how the litigation world– for those who use them–will be revolutionized. In general, litigation analytical programs allow litigators to access data and information that it would previously take them hours and hours of expensive digging to obtain. Which meant that it was often cost prohibitive. In many situations, the information simply couldn’t be found or accessed. All too often, the lawyer or legal professional didn’t know where to look.
Context Attorney Analytics
First, on March 1, LexisNexis announced the launch of Context Attorney Analytics. This product is the fifth module of its litigation analytics Context platform (the platform includes similar programs entitled Judge Analytics, Attorney Analytics, Court Analytics, Expert Analytics, and Company Analytics). Context Attorney Analytics tracks records of more than one million attorneys. It can then connect their argument activity with actual written judicial opinions. This, in turn, can enable attorneys to build their own arguments by anticipating and neutralizing opposing counsel’s arguments based on the legal language they’ve previously used in similar cases. It can also show how those arguments fared.
And from this, it quickly allows you to see the strategy your opposing lawyer employed, helping you to formulate your strategy better. Not to mention the fact that the program can be used by in house counsel to help decide who to hire. It can even help law firms better review the quality of potential lateral hires.
Secondly, a company called Clearbrief has a product that it says will analyze briefs and other documents to identify how well what the writer says is supported by what the author cites. It works with citations to the law but perhaps more importantly with evidence and discovery materials.
The advantages to this product are apparent: it reduces the research time needed to vet a citation either for your use or to attack what the other side is saying. And since it can be used with evidence, it could be invaluable at trial, in depositions, or at mediation. Clearbrief recently announced seed funding from heavyweights Mark Britton, Bryan Garner, and Bill Neukom. (For more information about Clearbrief, see Bob Ambrogi’s recent post).
Finally and perhaps most exciting is Casetext’s new product called WeSearch. This product is basically like a Google search for lawyers. It allows you to upload a group of documents and then use natural language inquires to search that group of records and the facts in those documents. One of my former partners asked me one time why we can’t have a legal search tool that allows you to ask the kind of simple questions we can ask Goggle. Well, now we have one.
According to the WeSearch website: “Traditional tools, whether in e-discovery, file management, or case management, all leave you at the mercy of keyword search. Unless you can remember the exact wording in a document, it is difficult to find what you need quickly. With WeSearch, you can finally escape the prison of the keyword. By leveraging a breakthrough in artificial intelligence called a transformer-based neural net, WeSearch matches your queries by concept rather than by literal keyword.”
Can you imagine how a good trial lawyer could use these tools at trial?
Can you imagine how a good trial lawyer could use these tools at trial? In preparing closing arguments? Can you imagine the time that could be saved?
Litigation analytical tools give litigators the ability to access information and make informed strategic decisions, but they also let the most knowledgeable lawyer undertake the search. They allow the senior lawyer, the one in charge of the case and strategy and the one who knows the case the best, to do his or her own data search. The lawyer can use the type of inquiry and follow up inquiries that he or she knows best fits their overall vision of the case.
It’s no longer cost prohibitive to have a senior lawyer do these kinds of searches. Much better than trying to explain what you are looking for to a young lawyer who doesn’t have the experience you do, hasn’t derived the strategy, and perhaps doesn’t see it very well. Particularly where the senior partner doesn’t take the time to explain it well.
And yet, too many litigators just continue to dig…
All this information and potential. Yet too many litigators are content just to dig like they always have. A recent survey from Niki Black, Legal Tech Evangelist at MyCase, revealed that only 21% of those surveyed felt litigation analytics software was the most valuable AI software for lawyers right now. The most useful tool the respondents cited: legal research. The survey results show that many lawyers still think of AI legal software as just for research. And some lawyers seem to think the software is too complicated to use when its not. Most is very intuitive. And more and more state court material is becoming accessible.
Yet, we have these intuitive tools that let you see into the other side’s strategy. They allow you to look into what a judge is thinking, assess the quality of citations and ask natural language questions to massive data sets. You can gauge the experience and ability of the other side’s lawyer. You can determine how a judge has previously ruled and what citations he or she has used to support the rulings. From this, you can analyze the judge’s thought process and what is important to him or her. You can assess the timeline of your case to manage client expectations and even determine the most likely time to make settlement overtures. All this and more.
And yet, too many litigators just continue to dig…
Photo Attribution: Don Merwin via flickr (photo not altered)