Courtroom Insight was originally designed to as a Yelp-type directory to enable litigators to locate and share insights about expert witnesses. In a recent interview co-founder Mark Torchiana explained that since the launch in 2010 he has learned that lawyers do not want to share their comments about experts in a public forum. Courtroom Insights has evolved into the dominant internal expert witness knowledge management solution for law firms.

That transitional pivot occurred when the  Scott Rechtschaffen, The Chief Knowledge Officer at the Littler firm contacted Torchiana and asked if the product could be used to manage internal information about arbitrators. After eight years the company has become totally focused on private installations in law firms and content has expanded to include profiles of experts, arbitrators and judges. They recently upgraded the platform search engine.

According to Torchiana, the company is now focused on  enhancing the profiles with material from commercial legal publishers though content integration alliances. The goal is to allow researchers to  leverage all of the expert witness content which a law firm subscribes to though the single Courtroom Insight platform. A recent alliance with the Daubert Tracker has enabled them to load 120,000 expert witness challenges into Courtroom Insight. They  are currently  in discussions with six  other companies to integrate content  based on   existing law firm already subscriptions. These new content integrations and a new Courtroom Insight dashboard pictured below will be rolled out in the summer of 2018.

 

Knowledge management professionals and librarians are the key drivers of development and adoption because they understand that expert witness research involves research across multiple databases. Courtroom Insight is being designed to streamline workflow by enabling these internal and external knowledge intersections. Third party content will be mapped to the experts inside the CI directory.

Have it Your  Way Courtroom Insight customization can include identifying the firms expert retentions and then linking that history to profiles and internal documents such as retention letters, testimony, resumes etc.. Most importantly lawyers can share ratings or comments within their organization. Although Courtroom Insights still makes profiles of experts, arbitrators and judges available to the public CI has transitioned into a private knowledge management platform. Torchiana says that CI  will provide the firm content in any format the firm wants,  such as delivering feeds or populating a firm’s intranet portal.

AI solutions in the Future. Courtroom Insight has entered a partnership with Fastcase to explore applications using the Fastcase AI sandbox. At some point in the next year or two  they hope to embed a AI technology in the product.

The White Paper on Improving Expert Witness Workflow

Torchiana is planning to produce a “white paper” on improving expert witness workflow Participate in a related survey at this link. White paper results will be sent to all survey respondents.

 

For my entire career, people have been suggesting that “the end was near” for librarians.  A  spectacularly absurd notion in a burgeoning knowledge economy. Once again the marketplace is demonstrating the versatility and value librarians  can bring to innovative knowledge organizations even in the 21st Century. Last week Kira the legal tech innovator posted a new job opening for a “Machine Learning Knowledge Analyst.” A complete description and link to the job application can be located at this link.

Here is how the job  posing in introduced:

“There is no question that for every successful law firm there is a talented group of law librarians who manage the flow of information, disseminate legal resources, and strategically support other professionals within their organization. The work that law librarians do has evolved to more than just reviewing and cataloguing resources. Kira Systems recognizes the unique skill set required to excel as a law librarian and is hiring someone with this background to work as Machine Learning Knowledge Analyst.

As a Machine Learning Knowledge Analyst you will assist in acquiring, developing and organizing contracts and related transactional documents used to train our cutting edge machine learning technology. You will report directly to the Director of Legal Knowledge Engineering and be responsible for sourcing documents through research and collaborative relationships, and organizing them into a sophisticated document taxonomy.”

Why  a Librarian ? I asked Anne McNulty, Kira’s Director of Legal Knowledge Engineering to explain why the company  executives decided that they needed the special expertise of a librarian as Machine Learning Knowledge Analyst.

“McNulty provided the following insights into the creation of this new position:

There are actually a number of challenges that led to us creating this position. First, because our software uses machine learning to identify provisions in contracts, we need a large volume of contracts (of all different types) to train it. These contracts must be carefully grouped together for the lawyers who train the system, and we need someone thoughtful and organized to make sure that the “training data” is appropriately diverse and representative of what the software will be used on. If the training data is not carefully put together, the software won’t perform as well when our customers use it.

Second, Kira has a feature that will classify contracts according to their type. We train this in a similar way to the way in which we train Kira to identify provisions – by showing Kira a number of examples. We’d like to grow the number of contract types that Kira can identify, so to do this we need someone who can help us expand on the taxonomy we have built and feed the appropriate contract types into it.

Finally, as we grow, we are starting to need contracts that are not easily available through public sources. We’d like someone to help us develop and manage relationships with partners who would share contracts with us for the purpose of training our system.”

Good luck to Kira and good luck to applicants applying for this exciting new position!

 

Last week Casetext released a brief new report on the future of Knowledge Management. The full report is available at this link. The report is really a “thought piece” based on a question posed to a group of knowledge leaders. The question was basically”what would you do to improve KM if you had $10 million dollars?”  The respondents highlighted a variety of challenges and recommendations.  It appears that no one has the right mix of tools, technology and resources today but there was a consistent refrain – that emerging technologies may soon appear which will help bridge some of the critical gaps between implicit, explicit, internal and external knowledge.

Respondents basically were asked; “If you had $10 Million to spend on KM, What would you do?” While lack of law firm investment in knowledge solutions is part of the problem, it is not only only obstacle to effective knowledge management in law firms.

Key findings:

  • Data Collection will be Automated
  • Data will be automatically structured
  • Legal research and KM tools will be powered by AI.

KM Departments will play an important role in bringing about these changes.

Contributors to the the report include many prominent  law law firm thought leaders including, Patrick Dundas, KM Associate, Schulte, Ross and Zable, Shabeer Kahn, Director of Research Service, Morrison & Foster, Rich McClain, Chief Information Officer, Hunton & Wiliams, Holly RIccio, Knowledge Management Director, Nossaman; Joseph Keslar, Director of Library and Research Services, Blank Rome: Gina Lynch, Director of Knowledge Services, Paul Weiss; Genevieve Nicholson, Manager of Research & Knowledge Services, Lewis Roca.

Thanks to Jake Heller, CEO of Casetext for acknowledging the challenges facing knowledge managers today and  providing them will a platform on which to share some insights into the road ahead

 

Thomson Reuters and Acritas has released their first annual State of Corporate Legal Departments Report. Many of the themes echo discussions at last week’s Legal Tech conference in New York. Clients are king and law firms  are trying to catch up to shifting client expectations. The report analysed data from Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker, Acritas and the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium. One of the most interesting aspects of the report for me was the focus on collecting metrics.  The suggested list includes 21 data elements which are categorized as preventive, efficient, effective or review. These metrics signal the issues which should also be of importance to law firms.

The five goals mentioned most consistently are:

In House Counsel Goals 2018

Key take aways:

  • Satisfaction with outside counsel has increased by 9% over the past 5 years.
  • Budgets for in house legal work increased 10%
  • Budgets for outside legal work decreased 6%
  • Although 53% reduced their legal roster, 43% have grown their outside counsel roster..
Acritas Spectrum of Technology and Innovation

Here is the list of key recommended metrics:

Recommended in-house counsel metrics

I met with Jeff Pfeifer, VP of Product Management at LexisNexis and Daniel Lewis,one of the co-founders of Ravel Law to review the upcoming release of Ravel content on Lexis. I reviewed Ravel Law when came to market in 2014 offering one of the most innovative approaches to legal research to hit the market in the past decade.  In addition, they had the novel idea of highlighting  judges precedential history – what cases do specific judges tend to cite for particular issues and then how do they rule?  They offered what I originally described as a constellation-like visualization of case law relationships. LexisNexis purchased Ravel in 2017 only two years after purchasing another Legal Analytics platform Lex Machina. Lexis has begun integrating Lex Machina analytics into Lexis Advance so it was not clear where the Ravel analytics would fit in. Last week at Legal Tech in New York, I received a preview of these integrations which are scheduled to  rolled out over several months beginning in March 2018.

Enhanced Shepard’s Citations

 

Ravel Law will Enhance Shepards Citations

In 2016 Lexis launched the search term maps feature which enables researchers to navigate to specific search terms and to see the depth of treatment of each term. With Ravel Law they are integrating Shepard’s  citations as a color wheel.

They have kept the standard Shepard’s color red- negative, yellow caution/explained, green – followed in the wheel. However since they are using those same colors in the term map which runs along the top of the case – I was originally confused and though the red in the term map  was connected to the Shepard’s history. I suggest that Lexis give this issue more thought.

 Ravel’s Search Visualization

Ravel’s search visualizations have been simplified and now include colored dots using the Shepard’s history indicators in the search visualization map.

Ravel Visuaizaton in Lexis Advance

 

6 Million Caselaw Images

Until now, Lexis has not had access to case law images. When LexisNexis bought Ravel they got access to the “Free the Law” archive  arising from  the 2015 Harvard Law School-Ravel Law collaboration .

According to Pfeifer, the Harvard case law archive will load more than 500,00 new cases into Lexis. In addition, over 6 million case reporter images will be available to lawyers who want an original reporter page to examine or attach as an image to a court filing.

Harvard Case Law Images on Lexis

Coming Soon 

Ravel’s judge, law firm and case law analytics are scheduled to be added to Lexis Advance and Lexis Profiler over the coming months. In addition, they are working on an expert witness enhancement providing analytics on expert witness challenge history.

The market has a strong interest in products which streamline expert witness research, so this feature will be welcomed by litigators.

Thomson Reuters is coming to Legal Week in New York with a Watson enabled Data Privacy product to show off at the annual legal technology conference. Today they are announcing the launch of a sophisticated global data privacy product which provides news, regulatory comparison charts, commentary and a Watson Enabled AI product that answers questions.  This is the first legal product to be produced by the Thomson Reuters- IBM Watson collaboration  which was announced In October 2016. Thomson Reuters is buttressing the importance of this product by simultaneously releasing the “Thomson Reuters Survey of Data Privacy Compliance.” According to the survey “data compliance” costs the average U.S. organization $2.1 M/yr.   64% of U.S. survey respondents have faced a privacy enforcement action and 52% report that they are struggling to keep up with privacy regulations. In addition the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation which goes into effect in May 2018 will further complicate the regulatory environment.

The Data Privacy Advisor

The Data Privacy Advisor was designed for data privacy experts at multinational law firms and organizations facing data privacy compliance, incident response and litigation.

Features include:

  • Global statutory and regulatory materials including pending legislation and regulations, data privacy country guides for 80+ jurisdictions, the full GDPR library, and Practical Law know-how content directed to global legal and program management issues. This contact can be browsed or queried with keywords or explored using “ask Watson.” In addition, users can generate jurisdictional comparison charts for specific issues.
  • Ask Watson a Question   IBM Watson-enabled technology that allows users to ask relevant “natural language” questions and receive a full-sentence answer
  • Curated news analysis and content from over 800 date privacy blogs.
  • Related Concepts  a feature designed to help users discover additional insights that otherwise might go unnoticed, also enabled by Watson.

    Ask Watson a Question

The Ask Watson a Question feature was trained by experts to answer thousands of question/answer pairs. “Our first step was to teach Watson the language of law,” said Khalid Al-Kofahi, vice president of Research Development at Thomson Reuters and head of its Center for Cognitive Computing. A combination of attorney editors from the Thomson Reuters Practical Law team and research scientists, taught Watson to understand the nuance of legal concepts from simple definitions, such as “parties” or “organizations,” to data privacy “terms of art.” During the training process, more than 60,000 Q&A pairs generated by Watson were “graded” by privacy professionals as well as Thomson Reuters and IBM Watson experts. This iterative process helped the system learn and provide increasingly refined responses. “Adding the AI capability from Watson to our own in-house AI expertise made a true collaboration between our teams to help Watson understand the law and the context of the questions – not just memorize the questions and answers – so the platform truly helps data privacy professionals find the answers they need,” Al-Kofahi added. Watson has been trained on data privacy issues in 84 jurisdictions. Answers  are accompanied by a confidence rating. The caveat is that many questions don’t have single sentence answers. Answers are accompanied by related concepts for researchers to explore.

Innovation has been our lifeblood for more than 100 years,” said Susan Taylor Martin, president of the Thomson Reuters Legal business. “Data Privacy Advisor is a great example of how we’ve brought together our global content, domain expertise and distinctive technology to meet the needs of legal and compliance professionals.”

The Data Privacy Advisor will be a standalone product for specialists and will be sold in the U.S. U.K. and Canadian markets.

What Questions Can You Ask this Product – Managing Customer Expectations

How is this different from Westlaw Answers?   In 2016 Westlaw  released a  new feature called Westlaw Answers which does not involve any cognitive technology. It was created by human editors at Thomson Reuters who identified common state level “black letter law” question and answer pairs. A natural language inquiry provides an answer statement which  which links to a primary source. Westlaw Answers  Westlaw has provided provided some fairly clear parameters regarding the type of questions appropriate for Westlaw Answers. Westlaw Answers can provide  answers to  state law questions such as identifying  judicially defined terms , statutes of limitations and “black letter” law.

I did not come away from the Data Privacy Advisor demo with a clear understanding of the type of questions the “Ask Watson” feature can handle. Al-Kofahi’s responded that Watson cannot provide answers to complex questions. By implication this means that it can answer simple questions, but what type of simple questions. A word of advice –  I recommend managing customer expectations by providing some clarity around the right kind of questions to ask Watson. But even for complex questions, the product will deliver the most relevant documents.

 

Legal AI is Not a Slam DunkThis should be obvious with the low numbers of AI enabled legal research products on the market. In a prior post “Dear Watson, I have a Question for You!…... I noted the complexity of law which lacks a  taxonomy of  universally defined terms — unlike medicine where the symptoms of a disease do not vary by state or country. In the U, S, each state has it’s own definitions which are defined in statutes, regulations and case law. Now expand that to the world… and you begin to see the brain numbing challenge of legal AI.  It is no mean feat that TR and Watson have developed  a Question and Answer product that has learned the statutes and regulations of 89 jurisdictions — on  slice of law as complex as “data privacy.”

Competition Thomson Reuters is not the first legal publisher to tackle data privacy. They may well have leapfrogged to the top of the heap by being the first to offer a product enhanced with AI. Several months ago Wolters Kluwer released it’s Cybersecurity and & Privacy Law Suite. BloombergBNA Law launched  Bloomberg Law:Privacy and Data Security in 2015. In addition, a number of Amlaw 100 law firms including DLA Piper, Hogan Lovells and Hunton & Williams, have also developed specialized data protection apps.

 

 

 

 

 

Several weeks ago Lex Machina subscribers started seeing analytics from the Delaware Chancery court appear in the platform. It is significant that Lex Machina has entered the state analytics market where there are so few players. It is especially exciting that they have started with one the most important  if not the most important jurisdiction for corporate and contractual disputes. The module covers over 6,000 cases which have been filed since October 26, 2012.Delaware Chancery is the 10th Lex Machina module following patent, trademark,copyright, antitrust, securities, commercial, bankruptcy appellate, products liability and labor.

As with all Lex Machina products this new module offers  insights and trends in case resolutions and findings across  a wide range of controversies arising from constitutional and state law issues. The module  provides insiilluminates the track records of opposing counsel and parties, and accurately chronicles the behaviors and decisions of the court’s judicial officers

 The press release quotes  Karl Harris, president and COO of Lex Machina on the importance of this product: “Senior litigators at major corporations and top national law firms need to understand the nuances of practicing law in this court to offer the best possible legal counsel and support to clients incorporated there. Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics for the Delaware Court of Chancery provides attorneys with data-driven insights to help them create successful litigation strategies in this highly influential jurisdiction.”

 The Challenge of State Court Data. The market is full of products leveraging federal docket data. That has been an easy market to enter because of the centralized federal filing system called Pacer. Not only do most state lack centralized court systems, there are still many states and courts which have no electronic filing system. Add to that the myriad inconsistencies and data mapping problems which could arise from the locally developed systems 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Adding Delaware to the Lex Machina Platform. Fortunately the Delaware Court of Chancery uses a proprietary electronic filing system that includes “taggable” information, such as case title, civil action number, judicial officer, parties, counsel and documents which are the building blocks of analytics systems.  Lex Machina’s Attorney Data Engine and expert legal editors were able to take the Delaware data and run it through the enhancement and clean up process which is used for all the Lex Machina modules. This editorial work includes correcting “errors ranging from simple spelling mistakes to complex data problems; normalizing data on judicial officers, parties, law firms and attorneys; extracting records of law firms and attorneys not found in the basic data; tagging and categorizing cases; annotating case resolutions, damages and rulings; and more.”

Lex Machina also added new features and unique tags such as Field of Law, and Nature of Claim, as well as tags such as case resolutions, damages, and rulings, which are similar to federal modules. Since New York has a unified court system and a robust electronic filing system and rivals Delaware in commercial importance, I wouldn’t be surprised to see on of the vendors in this space offer a New York product in the t

The Market for State Court Analytics Last year respondents to  my reader survey, named state court analtyics  as the feature/product that  readers most wanted someone to develop. In the past few months I have reviewed 2 other products which are entering teh challenging market for state level analytics data. Gavelytics – which is tackling several California state courts and Docket Alarm which was recently acquired by Fastcase is offering federal and selected state analytics. I am happy to see so much activity in an area where there is so much market demand and so few products to fill the need.

Click here for a Delaware Court of Chancery Video Demo.

This week Fastcase announced a new partnership with Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory which will enhance Fastcase subscribers access to treatises, handbooks and other secondary sources.  Wolters Kluwer sold their Loislaw research platform to Fastcase in 2015. It appears that both companies recognize the complimentary nature of each others resources. Fastcase has been bulking up their secondary source content throughout the past year through both alliances and launching their own imprint Full Court Press and hiring seasoned legal publishing executive, Steve Errick in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer.

With the Wolters Kluwer alliance, Fastcase gains more ground in their quest to close the “content gap” and become a serious competitor to Lexis and Westlaw who have dominated the legal research market for the past 30 years.

I would not expect this to  be the last alliance  between Fastcase and Wolters Kluwer. Fastcase still lacks regulatory materials which is one of Wolters Kluwer’s core strengths. And Fastcase has the caselaw archive that Wolters Kluwer lacks.

The Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Books

Fastcase has added more than 125 titles from Wolters Kluwer covering a wide range of legal issues such as bankruptcy, construction law, consumer finance, elder law, employment, family law, health law, litigation, insurance, pension and benefits, real estate, and many more. At this time the Wolters Kluwer collection will be available to Fastcase subscribers in first of 1 to 9 lawyers who choose to add the  WK content. The WK  materials will be fully searchable within Fastcase.

Ed Walters CEO of Fastcase also outlined how this alliance fits into Fastcase’s larger secondary source strategy . “Lawyers trust Fastcase as a powerful way to find the law,Now, with the launch of our publishing arm Full Court Press, our integration of the expert commentary of more than 15,000 legal bloggers in the LexBlog network, and our partnership with Wolters Kluwer, Fastcase will be an essential source for legal news and expert guidance as well. These libraries from Wolters Kluwer are some of the most comprehensive and authoritative in the world, and we couldn’t be more proud to partner with them to share that guidance with our very sophisticated subscribers.”

Fastcase despite their aggressive growth has remained a reasonably priced legal research platform. As they continue to enhance the platform by expanding content and leveraging both alliances and new technology, the threat of disruption and competitor product displacement grows.

 

Years ago I dreamed of inventing a product which could analyze various streams of news and business data in order to predict the next crisis or business opportunity. I never imagined that such a product would exist during my career.

Last week Manzama launched their Signals product which was designed to help law firms identify emerging business trends.  Signals is a kind of early warning system that will alert law firms to leading indicators of both risk and opportunity. The Signals  developers have been working with a group of law firm beta testers to refine the algorithms which can detect patterns and momentum from millions of news stories, court documents, public records, government activity and social media to detect emerging signals. When Peter Ozolin, the Founder and CEO of Manzama discussed the launch – he summed up the benefit of signals succinctly: “Read less– get deeper insights.”

Manzama has offered a “listening” platform which tracks, digests and delivers custom news alerts. Signals brings Manzama to the next level and moves clients from monitoring what has happened to anticipating what will happen.

 

Signals offers users a daily email summary of news, a “health score” on companies being tracked and dashboard which brings together multiple dimensions of data which users can interact with to explore variable factors which might impact a company.

 

Manzama Signals leverages  artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable users to obtain meaningful and actionable insights highlighting critical factors impacting corporate health.  Manzama evaluates the health of  companies across several factors: management, operations, financials, products and services, partners and competitors and government activities.According to the press release,” Manzama Signals will enable its users to develop a more relevant and complete picture of what’s happening with a company. Once news content about a company enters the Manzama system, Signals will analyze and classify it, natural language processing will automatically identify its valence – either negative or positive – in one of six operational (finance, partners, management, etc.) categories, and will return relevant, actionable knowledge, ready to be shared to users.”

Manzama Signals  reduces the volume of reading  required to monitor business development opportunities. Signals uses AI and machine learning to detect patterns, draw important conclusions and find opportunities, in order to enhance data-driven business development planning. “Many of our clients have expressed the need to shorten the business generation cycle, and while current awareness is critical to this process, the constant, un-ending volume of news presents a challenge to professionals and business developers alike. With Manzama Signals, we are able to offer a short-cut to action, and to help them read less and understand more about the events and trends that drive their clients’ and prospects’ businesses,” said Peter Ozolin, CEO and co-founder of Manzama.

The pressure on firms to strengthen existing client relationships  and develop new clients has never been greater.  Imagine the value of pitching a client before they even know they have a problem!

Today Judicata released the results of a first of it’s kind ranking – the quality of their briefs. Founder Itai Gurari authored a blogpost on their website which explains the study. Judging Lawyers: Objectively Evaluating Big Law Litigation Departments.

Last November I wrote a post describing how the Judicata Clerk product can be used to evaluate the strength of a brief during the drafting process. Forget the Robots You Might Just Need a Clerk.

Gurari’s post describes Judicata’s goal in releasing this ranking  as an effort to illustrate how clients can use data to evaluate the quality of a law firms work product. “Data has yet to significantly impact how clients select their litigation counsel. Lawyer and law firm evaluation has traditionally been a subjective measure: driven by perception, personal relationships, and word-of-mouth recommendations of a law firm’s litigation.”

Guari acknowledges the work of analytics pioneers such as Lex Machina in utilizing docket data to gain granular insights into a vast array of strategic insights such as motion outcomes and judges behavior. “Yet that higher level docket-based analysis is still far removed from the more fundamental motion practice skills at the core of every litigation — the drafting and argumentation that go into the briefs filed in support of a court motion.”

The Ranking Methodology Judicata compared briefs from the 20 largest law firms in California. These 20 law firms are among the 100 largest law firms in the world, and include firms in the global twenty.

Judicata ran 500 briefs filed in California state court through the Clerk evaluation process. The briefs spanned a diverse set of lawsuits, covering everything from individual employment actions, to complex contract disputes, to billion-dollar startup founder fights. The clients included young California companies like Lyft and Snapchat, Silicon Valley behemoths like Apple, Facebook, and Google, and international giants like BP and Toyota. Some of the lawsuits were highly publicized, and some involved well-known celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Carrie Fisher, and Manny Pacquiao.

The result of this evaluation is the first-ever ranking of law firm litigation departments based on an objective measure of their lawyering skills.  Although all the briefs that were analyzed were filed in California state court, Guari points out that Clerk ‘s evaluation criteria “are fundamental to motion practice and translate to both federal court and other US jurisdictions.” Here is the Judicata rankings of law firm briefs. The full report including ranking for arguments and drafting is here.

 

Law Firms are sensitive to their placement  in ranking lists. Most of these rankings have been based on either survey responses or financial metrics such as profits per partner or value of deal representation. This is the first survey I am aware of offering an algorithmic assessment of a law firm’s work product. It is likely that more rankings of this kind will be developed. One positive outcome is that the focus on work product rankings will underscore the importance of knowledge management, process improvement and human – machine interaction to improve the quality of work product and reduce reputational risks.