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By Geoff Ivnik | Director of Marketing
Data analytics has been a rising catchphrase across industries from professional baseball to managed healthcare for a decade or two. After a series of fits and starts, it now appears to have firmly established its footprint in the legal industry.
The 2020 Legal Analytics Study, conducted by ALM Intelligence in collaboration with LexisNexis, documented a “tipping point in the adoption of legal analytics among large law firm professionals.”
The ALM/LexisNexis study found that 70% of law firms are now using legal analytics — three-fourths of whom use them specifically in the practice of law — and that 90% of legal professionals agree that using legal analytics makes them a “better, more efficient and effective legal practitioner.”
There are well-known examples of how data analytics are powerful tools to guide the business operations of a law firm, but many lawyers and their professional support staff are still learning about the wide range of use cases for how legal analytics can improve the way they practice law. This applies to attorneys across traditional corporate law practices as well as those in various litigation practice areas.
This post looks specifically at some of the meaningful ways that analytics are used by trial lawyers to prepare for litigation. Here are five applications of legal analytics for litigation preparation, courtesy of our colleagues at Lex Machina:
1. Understand your judge or court
Analytics help litigators answer a number of key questions that help them best assess the risks and probabilities of success associated with trying a case before a specific judge or court. This includes easy-to-read charts that illustrate the past findings by individual judges in cases similar to yours, reports on how much your assigned judge has awarded in damages in similar past cases, and your judge’s record on granting or denying specific relevant motions. These are valuable data insights that can influence your litigation strategy, including possible efforts to seek a change of venue if the analytics suggest a more favorable jurisdiction for your case.
2. Predict how long a case will last
Data analytics can help you get a sense for how long it will likely take for your case to be resolved before the judge or the court to which it is assigned. For example, Lex Machina’s Outcome Analytics can surface the median time to specific litigation milestones in similar cases that were tried before a specific judge or court. This can be benchmarked to various key “litigate or settle” decision points, such as patent claim construction hearings or summary judgment decisions. These kinds of metrics provide litigators with important insights to factor into a pre-litigation evaluation of the best path forward for their client involved in a dispute.
3. Find insights on opponents
Litigators know the importance of anticipating strategic moves by their opposing counsel and their client during the early stages of a dispute. Analytics can surface critical insights about your opposing party’s behavior in similar previous litigation so you can better assess their most likely litigation strategy. Practical examples include quantitative data that illustrates your opposing counsel’s litigation “win/loss” record in similar cases, your opponent’s propensity to settle in similar cases, and the typical amount of time your opponent has taken in previous cases to reach certain litigation milestones.
4. Establish a motions strategy
Analytics can also provide important data insights to help you craft a winning motion strategy. For example, Lex Machina’s motion metrics report allows litigators to compare detailed motion outcomes and to select the motion strategy with the highest probability of success. These decisions are informed by charts that track motion chains so you can immediately view what arguments and motion strategies have worked in the past before your judge. You can view motion grant/deny rates and then drill down to see how your specific opponent has fared against distinct motion strategies employed in similar cases.
5. Navigate court dockets efficiently
Experienced litigators know how important it can be to get your hands on specific court documents as quickly as possible. Legal analytics can help you by going beyond the dockets to search through court documents to determine claims and case types — rather than relying solely on the docket’s basic classifications. Visual aids present a thorough snapshot of all relevant information about a case so you can quickly access important dates, party and counsel data, and pertinent docket information.
Legal analytics have arrived in the industry and law firms are realizing meaningful insights from them in both the business and practice of law. For litigators, analytics can be a powerful tool throughout the lifecycle of a case, starting with your strategic preparations. Watch this video to learn more about how legal analytics can assist with litigation prep.