In 2004  I was interviewed by EContent magazine and asked — if I could accomplish anything in my career, what would it be. Here is my answer:

I’d like to be an information climatologist. I’d work with vendors to design information services for determining what is likely to happen next by pulling trends together. Imagine if someone could have known that Enron was about to happen?”

I never imagined this would be possible in my lifetime… but here I am today writing a post about a product called Signals. A company called Manzama  is developing Signals and working with a handful of law firms to develop and refine  algorithms which will tease out patterns  and momentum from exabytes of news  stories, public records, court filings and social media posts  to generate predictive signals. These custom “signals” will alert law firms to  leading indicators of risk and opportunity  for business development. Today everyone consumes the same headlines.  Manzama wants to provide an “early warning system”  by monitoring the “vital signs” of individual companies or industries. Basically we are talking about a product which will enable law firms to pitch a client before they know they have a problem!

Over the past decade information professionals have introduced curated news platforms which  have helped to compress the lag between events and awareness. No lawyer wants to be the “last to know.” Law firms which have survived the great recession remain intensely focused increasing their market share through cross selling their services to existing clients and luring clients away from other law firms. Lawyers can not afford to miss trends and the opportunities.

What is Manzama ? Manzama has offered a “listening platform” which tracks, digests  and delivers news which is focused on companies, issues and industries of interest to individual lawyers. Manzama has been one of the first products to provide a visual trend analysis tool.

Manzama analyses trends

I recently spoke with Manzama Co-founder and CEO, Peter Ozolin. Ozolin describes his new product this way. ” The goal of Signals is to use algorithms to identify activities or indicators what signal opportunities for law firms.”  It will basically help lawyers move up the opportunity chain.

Pitch New Clients Before They Know They Have A Problem
Ozolin is planning to offer a tool which will make the law firm business intelligence functions more proactive.  Signals will employ data driven models to inform decision making. Key indicators related to a business or industry will signal that a trend is forming. Law firms subscribing to Signals will be able to plan business development activities in advance of a need. E,g, it could enable a lawyer to reach out to a client or a potential client and build a relationship before an impeding crisis explodes. Ozolin also sees Signals as adding value to existing client relationships by providing lawyers with deeper insights into the clients company, industry and competitors.


Manzama Is Tracking Risk Indicators

Manzama has hired a director of data science who is building data predictive models that will analyze patterns and momentum which converge into a unique signal – alerting lawyers to opportunity before the first news headline is written!

Manzama is not alone in the legal predictive space but they are one of the first to focus on ingesting and  analyzing a broad content landscape including news, social media, public records,  regulations and litigation to generate patterns of risk and opportunity. Lex Machina,  Ravel  and BloomergBNA are offering predictive insights  into judges and courts. Lexis is offering a legislative product which predicts the likelihood of enactment.  I plan to keep my eye on Manzama Signals as it evolves into a full fledged product offering.
We appear to be standing on the edge of a predictive revolution. I  predict that in 5 years predictive tools will be core to the practice and of law.

Peter Ozolin can be reached at: