Legal research is the skeleton of the practice of law, and any lawyer will tell you that it’s difficult or impossible to flesh out a case without putting in the time and effort of competent research. However, every day that goes by represents an increase in the amount of potential research sources available, from case law holdings on state and federal levels, to secondary sources in distinct practice areas. These 10 legal tech companies have their fingers on the pulse of legal research and they are all, in their own way, disrupting the status quo and bringing enhanced efficiency to lawyers across the globe.
Ravel Law wants to make legal research processes more intuitive, easier to use, and faster.
Its ambitious goal is to be legal researchers’ first stop for case law research by developing user tools that identify the most important and relevant cases from wide-ranging searches.
Its last round of funding, ending June 2017, raised approximately $9.2 million. The company is currently collaborating with Harvard Law School in a project designed to make American case law open and free.
At Canadian company Knomos, the focus is on building a knowledge-sharing platform that enhances access to legal information.
They aren’t just attempting to improve legal research processes – Knomos wants to revolutionize them.
In pursuit of that ambitious goal, Knomos has developed a web app that visualizes legal information for its users in a unique way.
As opposed to traditional legal research, which Knomos contends is structured in a static, text-heavy, linear manner, the web app wants to map legal knowledge into a 3D visual representation of search results, allowing its users to delve deeper than ever into the connections between case law results.
In May 2013, Judicata managed to raise approximately $7.8 million in funding.
The company, located in San Francisco, California, is mapping out the legal genome in order to help its users see the relevancy between cases and to turn unstructured points of information from scattered case law into highly structured and accessible data.
This allows the process of legal research to extend far beyond the traditional keyword searches that most lawyers and paralegals are used to using.
At the moment, their legal research is limited to California state law, but Judicata plans to expand to other states soon.
“Better. Faster. Smarter.” That’s the tagline for Loom Analytics, the startup that wants to deliver data-driven results to law firms across the U.S.
As a computerized data-driven legal research assistant, its software finds and classifies various case law using a combination of machine learning and traditional legal analysis.
The results can be used to predict win/loss rates, find hard numbers on the ruling histories of particular judges, and find trends over time across many aspects of litigation. Loom Analytics has even expanded into the app market with its Second Chair mobile app, which allows users to find case law on the go using their smartphone or tablet.
Blue J Legal focuses on tax law, a small but important niche in the legal world, and one where hundreds of thousands of dollars or more of a client’s money is regularly at risk.
A Canadian startup based in Toronto, it has attracted team members as diverse as law professors, Bay Street lawyers, and data scientists.
Like others on our list, Blue J Legal is harnessing the increasing power of available artificial intelligence systems to provide a superior research product, Tax Foresight, which allows tax professionals to predetermine the strength of their tax position by analyzing thousands of previous tax decisions.
With CARA from Case Text, litigators can simply upload a legal brief and the AI-enhanced software performs a host of functions, including finding relevant but left-out case law and pulling up a library of cases, statutes, and regulations.
CARA stands for Case Analysis Research Assistant, and its purpose is to augment the brief by catching important points of law, and their originating cases, that humans might miss.
Case Text’s website proudly boasts Ogletree Deakins, DLA Piper, and Quinn Emanuel among its users – some of the largest and most notable U.S. litigation firms.
With the lofty aim of “creating the world’s smartest lawyer” through artificial intelligence, ROSS Intelligence is a company designed around automated legal processes.
Currently used by such notable firms as K & L Gates, Simpson Thacher, Latham & Watkins LLP, and Baker Hostetler, the company’s product offering allows lawyers to bypass many of the mundane tasks associated with legal research so that their time is freed up to focus on smaller and more important details – i.e., the things that actually require a lawyer’s expertise.
This allows for more efficient and effective legal research that is also cost-effective for the firm’s clients. Plus, ROSS Intelligence is free to use for law schools, bar associations, and nonprofits.
vLex is a global technology-based publishing company.
It starts by sourcing independent content, but then adds value by organizing it in a proprietary way and making it available in different languages and through various supported devices.
It has access to one of the largest collections of legal research sources in the world, which it utilizes to provide comparative law searches for its users.
Its AI program gets smarter the more it is used, and vLex’s platform integrates with many others, including EBSCO Discovery and EndNote.
Attorneys working in federal circuits know the frustrations that can come with PACER, or Public Access to Court Electronic Records, the federally provided database that gives online access to U.S. Appellate, District, and Bankruptcy court records.
The creators of Caseflex offer flat rate pricing on their web application, a legal research product that is addressing many of the most common complaints about using PACER. Founded by Rich Lee, a former IP lawyer who found PACER frustrating and difficult to work with,
Caseflex allows users to track cases automatically, receive set notifications of new documents, and share access to previously downloaded PDFs from PACER with other Caseflex users. All in all, a game-changer for those lawyers practicing in federal courts.
An ongoing complaint about the legal system is that it contains too many barriers to justice.
Justia’s founders made it their mission to increase availability of legal resources for the benefit of society.
They’ve done just that by focusing their company on making various legal materials and resources free and easy to find, through Justia.com.
Lawyers and laypersons alike can browse and search legal web resources on such diverse topics as personal injury law, family law, immigration, and even international trade law – for free.