In December, the ABA Journal reported on a new judicial analytics tool by Ravel Law.
As mentioned, currently, the field of judicial analytics mainly focuses on individual judges and what their histories and tendencies are, so that lawyers will be able to make more informed decisions regarding litigation strategy.
Ravel Law knew that the individual-judge strategy was cumbersome and limited. With that, Ravel Law launched Court Analytics, a comprehensive analytical tool that covers more than 400 federal and state courts. Court Analytics allows users to search through a jurisdiction, filtering out over 90 types of motions and topics. The tool analyzes case outcomes, language patterns and citation history, among other things, to give practitioners insight as to how courts and judges throughout a jurisdiction have ruled on certain types of motions or cases in the past. The tool also highlights the most-cited precedents and cases within a jurisdiction
Ravel Law intends for the analytics tool to be used to determine the best forum or whether the case should be filed in state or federal court. “You can look at the stats to see what are the best courts to file in. Are they plaintiff-friendly? Do they have experience in a certain area?” Lewis says.
There are also other creative uses of the analytics. For instance, users can hone in on specific fact patterns and case law to determine their likelihood of success within a given jurisdiction. If a lawyer wants to see every mesothelioma case within a certain court system where there was a successful motion for summary judgment, Court Analytics can identify common patterns amongst those cases, including the language the judges used in their decisions and what standard they applied, among other things.
As I prepare to teach a civil trial research course for the first time this spring, I absolutely plan to show my students the features of Court Analytics. I spend a class period discussing forum selection and venue, and Court Analytics will be a perfect companion to that lecture with hands-on application showing use of a very practical tool.
This is just the beginning when it comes to the possibilities of legal data mining. It's a perfect example of technology being used to make lawyers more efficient by taking a historically cumbersome process and making it as easy as a few clicks of a mouse.