Litigation analytics can help attorneys conduct legal research that can go beyond anything available by studying published texts. However, the success of any system relies heavily on the use of the correct Internet Protocol (IP) product. Attorneys themselves often need assistance in gaining the recognition required to develop and sustain a successful career in the field of law. One service that is useful for this purpose is the marketing company Lawyers of Distinction.
The Principle of Litigation Analytics
Analytics essentially involves the discovery, interpretation and implementation of patterns found in data. The principle of analytics can be used to identify information that can itself improve the performance of a law firm. Specific uses range from the negotiation of litigation strategies to managing the expectations of legal clients.
Tools designed for litigation analytics are relatively new products. In 2010, the IP company Lex Machina introduced a system that would make it possible for publishers to provide legal material directly to attorneys. A number of tools are today available, some of which can be used to examine docket data and others to review past cases. Some products specialize in certain areas of the law.
The usefulness of any type of litigation analytics tool was illustrated in a study that involved seven different platforms and 27 librarians, and which was limited only to the federal district court level. Those who conducted the study were impressed by the advantages of the analytics method compared to what came from a manual search.
Examining Test Results
Test results using different tools showed variations in terms of their success. Although the Lex Machina system was more than twice as successful in terms of identifying how many cases a particular law firm has handled before the same judge, others proved no more useful than a manual search.
The PACER service, which is used by every federal analytics product, was found to have a flawed data input form and was also fraught with typographical errors. Other problems included the inability of this system to correct improper attributions, such as those that occur when attorneys switch law firms, and to properly identify attorneys, law firms and parties.
In the end, the study showed no real winners and only proved that the success of any platform is dependent upon both the budget and the way that a law firm uses analytics tools. It also showed that such platforms are more successful when used in conjunction with other techniques, including company research. Additionally, such systems require skill by their users and a proper understanding of the information to be searched.
Offering Help When Needed
Law firms have to consider their own needs and their budgetary requirements when they consider purchasing tools for litigation analytics. In addition to having a proper understanding of the capability of any product, law firms should include their librarians in the selection process. The adoption of such platforms will also proper proper training, which can be enhanced through the use of videos and written material, and proper testing with both attorneys and legal librarians.