The gathering, storage and use of data increases exponentially each year. As a result, new technology products for the U.S. legal industry continue to emerge. Most claim to provide lawyers valuable insight into how judges will rule, what are favorable jurisdictions, the likelihood of success of varying case types, and more.
As the breadth of litigation-related information collection and analysis grows, so too may your desire to utilize it for the betterment of your practice and to gain a competitive advantage.
Before you commit to acquiring a litigation analytics program, here are 3 things to consider:
- The Size and Scope of Data Analyzed
Not all litigation analytics platforms are created equally—each offer unique features to differentiate themselves from others in the field. Some of the features most touted by industry players concern the following:
- Period of coverage—the timeframe the data covers.
- Volume—the number of dockets analyzed and jurisdictions included.
- Case information—the amount of granular information with respect to each court, case type, judges, or motion and litigation outcomes.
- Party information—pertinent stats about other plaintiff firms, opposing counsel or corporate defendants.
Unveiling the scope of coverage for a particular product prior to its purchase is important. It can save you from buying a package that fails to give you access to the intel you want most. For instance, many of the platforms reviewed didn’t offer analytics for state court dockets. If the majority of your cases are filed locally, then a platform with only federal information likely won’t be a good fit for your firm.
- The Design and User-Friendliness
Having litigation analytics is only as useful as your ability to digest and comprehend the information presented.
Often data-centric products advertise unique sorting and filtering mechanisms, but it’s not effective if no one in your office can quickly and easily manipulate the data without extensive training, practice or watching YouTube videos.
Even if you or someone in your firm is able to drill down information effortlessly, you may still find it difficult to follow. This is where the design of the program comes into play. Many litigation analytics vendors try to help you visualize data point connections by providing beautifully crafted, user-friendly moveable tables, graphs and charts—saving you time and effort analyzing the analytics.
- The Price
It’s no secret that products and services developed for law firms tend to be expensive. Legal analytics products are no exception—typically being priced per user on a subscription basis and costing thousands per year. Many providers, however, do offer promotional deals and are willing to negotiate rates to make the expense more reasonable.
Further, when you’re comparison-shopping, you may discover auxiliary benefits that help offset the cost. For example, litigation analytics on Westlaw Edge is included as part of its extensive legal content and research services while Bloomberg Law includes information on more than 70,000 public companies and 3.5 million private companies with its database. LexisNexis’s platform incorporates free access to federal docket entries you’d otherwise have to pay for via PACER. Depending on your firm’s need, some of these supplemental solutions could prove worthwhile; so make sure to ask each vendor what additional functionality is included with their base product.
Acquiring a litigation analytics program isn’t only for the tech savvy. Corporate counsel use it to make informed decisions on how to proceed with lawsuits and plaintiffs’ firms can leverage it to reduce risks correlated to taking cases on contingency, among other things. Software aimed at streamlining firm operations is becoming more accessible, and intuitive, as time goes on. It may require a significant investment, but if used properly should help elevate your firm to stay current and competitive. The primary question then becomes whether the benefits will outweigh the costs for your practice and if you can fully commit to utilizing the analytics to their fullest potential.