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New Service Uses Data to Analyze Entire Court Systems

Data analytics and the law is a burgeoning, promising field. Lawyers can use data analytics to help sift through discovery, identifying responsive documents faster and easier, for example. They can apply analytics to monitoring client communication, gathering valuable insights into their top clients. There are even services that will sift through data on individual judges, letting you know how quickly you can expect a decision on that motion.

And now, there's a new analytics service that crunches the numbers for entire court systems. Ravel Law, a San Francisco-based legal analytics startup, launched its new Court Analytics service last week, which can spot patterns and pull out insights for jurisdictions as a whole.

Crunching the Numbers for the Whole System

As the ABA Journal notes:

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.

But Ravel's Court Analytics goes beyond that, allowing you to take a more macro view of legal data. The new tool covers over 400 federal and state courts, letting users analyze entire jurisdictions and groups of judges. The service sifts through "millions of court opinions to identify patterns in language and case outcomes," according to a press release, allowing lawyers to "make data-driven decisions when comparing forums, assessing possible outcomes."

The service is about more than just forum shopping, too. Ravel's CEO, Daniel Lewis, says the service goes beyond identifying the odds of success in a particular jurisdiction (useful enough in itself) to identifying the particular language judges use and the standards they're most likely to apply.

Mining Data for Court Insights

How's it work? According to Ravel, users can search by court, motion type, keyword, or topic. The analytics tool can say how judges have ruled in similar cases and "uncover the key cases, standards, and language that make each court unique."

Ravel offers up several insights that the tool can reveal, including the fact that the Second Circuit usually looks to the Ninth Circuit first for persuasive caselaw, then on to the Fifth and then Seventh. That Judge Lucy Koh is slightly more likely to grant motions to dismiss than the typical N.D. Cal. judge. That Judge Posner is the most influential judge on the Seventh Circuit. Alright, that last one isn't much of an insight -- but at least it's backed by data now!

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