By Sarah Gotschall
Bloomberg Law entered the legal analytics fray at the end of 2016 with the addition of Litigation Analytics to their legal research platform. It joined competitors such as Lex Machina and Ravel Law as companies harnessing the power of big data analytics to provide information about the litigation landscape to law students, lawyers, law firms, and companies. The data behind Litigation Analytics comes from published and unpublished court opinions and docket information. With a few clicks, the user has easy access to a wealth of litigation data about judges, law firms, and companies which can be used to inform litigation, business, or employment strategies.
Litigation Analytics has three categories of information: judges, law firms, and companies. Some examples will illustrate its usefulness.
Law Students Seeking Clerkships
More information is always better when it comes to writing cover letters and preparing for interviews. Law students seeking clerkships can use Litigation Analytics to find detailed information on federal judges. For example, suppose a student has an interview with U.S. District Court Judge Beth Freeman of the Northern District of California. Each judge has a career profile and lists of most cited opinions and recent news articles. Tabs for Motion Outcomes, Appeal Outcomes, Length of Case, and Appearances and Case Types provide analytic information for each judge By clicking on the Appearances and Case Types tab, the student can find interview fodder by noting that Judge Freeman’s top case types involve consumer credit and the ADA and the most frequent litigants in her courtroom are Experian and Equifax. The Appeal Outcome tab reveals that the judge’s rulings are affirmed 90% of the time and affirmed/reversed in part 10% of the time.
Lawyers Seeking Information about Judges
Of course, judicial information is also of great interest to lawyers. Let’s say, for example, that a lawyer has a consumer credit case assigned to Judge Freeman. The lawyer can find out how often motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgments are granted in consumer law cases (72.1% of motions to dismiss were granted, 13.1% denied, and 14.8% of motions for summary judgments were granted/denied in part and 16.7% granted and 83.3% granted/denied in part) and how often the judge is affirmed on appeal in such cases (100%). Also of possible interest is the average length of consumer credit cases (292 days), the top law firms appearing (Sagaria Law PC and Jones Day), and the top litigants involved (still Experian and Equifax).
Law Firms Seeking Information about Prospective Clients
A law firm can never have too much business and Litigation Analytics can be useful in identifying potential clients. Let’s say, for example, that a law firm wants to expand its consumer credit practice in the Northern District of California. The firm can get useful information about the litigation history of individual companies. A firm trying to land Equifax Inc. as a client would be interested to find out that, in the last year, 98.7% of their 156 cases filed in the Northern District of California involved consumer credit and 96.1% those cases were handled by Nokes and Quinn PC.
These are just a few examples of the possible uses of Litigation Analytics. These analytics products are relatively new in the legal world and I am looking forward to much competition and innovation over the years, leading to better and more useful services.