Monday, April 27, 2015

Ravel Law Launches Judges Analytics: Precedential Behaviour Analysis Made Easy.

Ravel Law is  relatively new entrant to the legal research market. Just looking at Ravel you can see that it was designed without regard to the hierarchical and organizational conventions of  traditional legal research. They use a unique algorithm and an analytical approach to displaying and ranking the relevance of cases which I outlined in an earlier post: Ravel Law: Legal Research Radically Reimagined.
Ravel: Judge's Citation Analysis and Comparison to Peers

Judges Analytics Earlier this month they launched a new judges analytics platform which may be especially interesting to partners and senior attorneys responsible for developing litigation strategy.  I am inclined to say we need a new vocabulary to describe these innovative legal research techniques. I am inclined to describe Ravel as providing "Precedential Behavior Analysis." The bottom line is that Ravel has invented new ways for lawyers to seek a competitive advantage by discovering patterns and outliers in judges opinions  as well as  insights into who and what influences them. And yet the desire to gain competitive insights is not new... Daniel Lewis one of the co-founders of Ravel likes to  tell a story about how President Lyndon Johnson used precedential insights in 1948 to overcome an election challenge. The full story is printed below.*

From Anecdote to Precedential Insights
Lawyers have always employed a variety of techniques to glean insights into a judges temperament and judicial behavior including firm wide emails, checking court websites or  directories like the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary which provides lawyers comments about judges. Ravel has created a completely new way of gaining competitive insights.

Wouldn't You Like To Know:...

  • How many opinions your judge has written addressing an issue
  • How often has the judge  ruled in your favor on that issue?
  • What precedents do they cite?
  • What Circuits do they cite?
  • Does this judge rely on different caselaw than other judges?
  • What language does this judge find to be persuasive on an issue?

Ravel provides powerful comparative analytics illustrating citation patterns and patterns of rulings which can be accessed with a simple keyword search.

In addition to the analytics, Ravel provides up to the minute feeds from news sources and blogs on individual judges.
Ravel Judge News and Blog Coverage

*Lyndon Johnson & Abe Fortas  Strategy
In 1948, years before he became president, Lyndon B. Johnson fought a desperate senate election campaign. A loss would ruin his political career. With election day approaching, a district court judge issued an injunction keeping Johnson’s name off the ballot until accusations of voter fraud in the democratic primary were resolved. Johnson called in attorney Abe Fortas to seek the one outcome that mattered: get the injunction overturned, fast.
Fortas devised an unconventional, but brilliant strategy – the only one that could work in the time available. He recommended identifying and appealing to the 5th Circuit judge most likely to rule against Johnson. A loss would allow Johnson to quickly appeal to the Supreme Court, where Fortas expected they could win a final, favorable decision from the Fifth Circuit’s overseer, Justice Hugo Black.
Executing on the plan, a team of lawyers flew to New Orleans to dig through previous decisions by the Fifth Circuit’s judges. After analyzing the rulings and language in case after case they found their judge, the one most likely to rule against them. Properly targeted, the court fight unfolded exactly as envisioned by Fortas. Johnson went on to win the election. And Fortas? He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1965.

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