I tried to end this series three weeks ago, but the future keeps arriving, and I keep wanting to tell you about it. I realize that just because it’s news to me doesn’t mean it’s news, and this week’s topic is a case in point: it was analyzed in this law journal article three years ago.
“This article is dedicated to highlighting the coming age of Quantitative Legal Prediction with hopes that practicing lawyers, law students and law schools will take heed and prepare to survive (thrive) in this new ordering. Simply put, most lawyers, law schools and law students are going to have to do more to prepare for the data driven future of this industry. In other words, welcome to Law’s Information Revolution and yeah – there is going to be math on the exam.”
“Quantitative Legal Prediction” is noteworthy because it encompasses several developments we’ve been talking about:
- Use of data/trend analysis as a predictive legal decision making tool, made possible by technology’s ability to sort through massive amounts of data and find what’s relevant — i.e., to think like a lawyer, techno-style.
- The morphing of digital tools such as ediscovery and online due diligence from their case-specific beginnings into more widely accessible databases of searchable information.
- The creation of new law school legal training to promote the systems thinking the future of law requires.
“We hear a lot of talk about “big data” and how it will drive law practice in the future. In theory, someday you will have every bit of relevant practice data at your fingertips and you will be able to use that to predict how a judge will rule on a case, have computers crunch through discovery, and realistically predict the cost of litigation. That someday is getting closer and closer, particularly with tools like Ravel.
“At its most advanced, Ravel also offers judge analytics, where you can see patterns about how judges rule and what ideas and people influence those judges. That type of analysis could be incredibly helpful in making decisions about settlement, deciding who should argue a case, whether to strike a judge, and how to approach your pretrial motion practice.”
The National Law Review said this about Ravel Law last winter:
“Data analytics and technology has been used in many different fields to predict successful results.
“Having conducted metrics-based research and advocacy while at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and observing how data-driven decision making was being used in areas like baseball and politics, [Ravel Law founder Daniel Lewis] was curious why the legal industry had fallen so far behind. Even though the legal field is often considered to be slow moving, there are currently over 11 million opinions in the U.S. judicial system with more than 350,000 new opinions issued per year. There is also a glut of secondary material that has appeared on the scene in the form of legal news sources, white papers, law blogs and more. Inspired by technology’s ability to harness and utilize vast amounts of information, Daniel founded Ravel Law to accommodate the dramatically growing world of legal information.
“Ravel’s team of PhDs and technical advisors from Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook, has coded advanced search algorithms to determine what is relevant, thereby enhancing legal research’s effectiveness and efficiency.
“Ravel provides insights, rather than simply lists of related materials, by using big data technologies such as machine learning, data visualization, advanced statistics and natural language processing.”
Not surprisingly, Ravel Law has worked closely with law students to develop and market itself:
“We work with schools because students are always the latest generation and have the highest expectations about how technology should work for them.” Students have given the Ravel team excellent feedback and have grown into a loyal user base over the past few years. Once these students graduate, they introduce Ravel to their firms.”
Ravel Law offers data visualization/mapping. For an article on why you should care, see this Above the Law article from a couple days ago.