Today Lex Machina is releasing a new module which covers district court bankruptcy appeals. Until now all prior Lex Machina modules have focused on federal trials. The Bankruptcy product covers 18,000 bankruptcy appeals filed since 2009. This is Lex Machina’s first foray into appellate analytics.

The Lex Machina CTO, Karl Harris is quoted in the press release: “Although there are relatively few bankruptcy appeals cases at the district court level compared to commercial or employment litigation cases, the stakes are incredibly high for all those involved, so it is imperative that attorneys know the lay of the land before entering the courtroom. With Lex Machina, attorneys will now be able to get critical insights into the behaviors of district court judges, allowing them to provide the most informed counsel and formulate the best case strategy.”

Bankruptcy practice is highly specialized and Lex Machina developed the new module based on feedback received from top bankruptcy litigators. The new product incorporates 10 practice-specific tags and 15 unique “dispute appeals” categories, which will enable attorneys derive insights a competitive advantage throughout the appeals process. Since bankruptcy appeals are much less common than traditional appeals it is more challenging for attorneys to gain insights into judges and outcomes.

As part of the product development process, Lex Machina interviewed top bankruptcy appeals lawyers to better understand their needs and incorporated their feedback directly into the new offering. As a result Lex Machina developed 10 new filers and 15 appellate categories.

  • The new case tags include: Bankruptcy Appeal; Individual Debtor; Business Debtor; Adversary Proceeding; Chapter 7; Chapter 9; Chapter 11; Chapter 12; Chapter 13; and Chapter 15.
  • The new dispute appeals categories include: Procedure and Jurisdiction; Malfeasance and Remedies; Officers; Administration; Lift of Automatic Stay; Debtor’s Rights and Duties; Plan and Disclosure Statements; Objection to Confirmation; Property of the Estate; Dismissal and Conversion; Discharge and Dischargeability; Claims and Liens; Objection to Proof of Claim; Avoidance; and State or Other Federal Law.


Lex Machina Bankruptcy Appeals Analytics

Unique Insights

Owen Byrd, the chief evangelist and general counsel at Lex Machina provided me with a preview of the product. One of my favorite things about seeing a new Lex Machina module is hearing, is hearing Byrd exclaim “ no one has ever seen this data before!” Byrd highlights some of the unique insights of the bankruptcy product in the press release: “If you’re a creditor trying to decide whether or not to file an appeal, knowing whether a particular judge has a tendency to affirm or reverse the lower court’s ruling will have a significant impact on your appeal strategy. “Similarly, having concrete data at your fingertips about the expertise of opposing counsel or how often larger creditors, such as banks, win their appeals could weigh heavily into your decision-making. “

Bankruptcy Appeals Report

Lex Machina will be releasing a comprehensive report on district court bankruptcy appeals in October, containing insights and analyses of bankruptcy appeals cases filed between January 1, 2009 and September 30, 2017. The company  also released a blog post today that provides a sample of data points to be featured in the upcoming report, including:

  • More than 17,000 cases have been pending since 2009.
  • Nationally, U.S. District Court judges are more likely to affirm the Bankruptcy Court’s decision (30% of cases pending since 2009) than to reverse, remand and/or vacate (7%)
  • The most common issues in bankruptcy appeals include Administration, Objection to Proof of Claim, and Dismissal and Conversion.

Legal Analytics for District Court Bankruptcy Appeals Webcast

Lex Machina will be offering a webcast Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics for District Court Bankruptcy Appeals webcast, scheduled for September 28, at 10:30 am PDT/1:30 EST. Register for the Webcast here .