Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ravel is on a roll! Handshake Alliance, Free California Caselaw and Forbes Profile

Last week Ravel and Handshake Software announced a partnership. Law firms with Handshake software will be able to integrate Ravel caselaw and analytics into desktop applications and create personal homepages. On Monday Ravel co-founders Daniel Lewis and Nik Reed were featured in a Forbes article about the emergence of Big Data in the practice of law. Yesterday they announced that as the result of their Harvard Law School alliance they had loaded the complete California case law archive.

The Ravel/Handshake Alliance

The alliance with Handshake which was announced last week enables firms to integrate ravel search and analytics into their interwoven platform. 


The Ravel/ Handshake alliance allows law firms to create a platform in which Ravel’s legal materials and  a firm’s internal expertise and data can be integrated and accessed using enterprise search or on personalized pages. According to the press release” This not only alleviates the need to conduct legal research as part of a siloed search but brings together all other critical aspects of the modern practitioner’s hub including relevant information from the firm’s financials, document management, customer relationship and practice management systems.”

 Nik Reed, co-founder and chief operating officer at Ravel Law explains the benefits to law firms. “Legal research is an essential part of business intelligence in developing legal strategy, and our integration with Handshake makes data-driven insights available with just a few clicks.”

Free California Caselaw

In October 2015, Ravel Law  and Harvard Law School announced an ambitious Big Data  project. Ravel and Harvard are collaborating on scanning the complete archive of all US cases in the Harvard Law Library and make that archive available to the public for free on the Ravel platform.

Yesterday, Daniel Lewis co-founder of Ravel announced the release of California caselaw, which was loaded into Ravel as part of the Harvard-Ravel digitization project, This is exciting news for the public because for the first time the entire archive of California state caselaw is freely accessible to anyone with access to the web. Each case is accompanied by an authoritative scan of case from  the original book from the Harvard library.(GoogleScholar provides free case law searching but it has a limited archive  of state appellate cases dating back to 1950 and Ravel’s archive is a complete archive including cases back to the 19th century. The Ravel/Harvard archive  includes both trial and appellate opinions.)

Subscribers to Ravel law’s Judge’s Analytics will soon be able to analyze the opinions of California state judge. Judge’s Analytics provides insights into how judges make decisions by analyzing their cited precedents.

Forbes: How Big Data is Disrupting Law Firms and the Legal Profession.

This week Forbes posted and article which examines the emergence of big data in legal practice.  I profiled Ravel in an earlier post. Since the entire legal profession is rooted in precedent it should not be surprising that change comes slowly. Anyone who looks at the results of a Ravel search can see immediately that Ravel is a radical re-imagining of the legal research process.

Ravel's Research Results

The article includes a particularly interesting insight from  from Ravel co-founder Nik Reed  on the changing profile of young lawyers. “One of the most exciting moments for me starting at law school and having come from working on Wall Street was realizing I wasn’t alone – the days when lawyers were all English Literature or philosophy majors are behind us now, my classmates included a lot of people from finance and one who had a PhD in bio chemistry from MIT. These are people who are familiar with quantitative analysis and datasets, and they are yearning for richer information sources and better analytics technologies. It probably wouldn’t have gone down very well 30 years ago with the kind of people who were lawyers back then.”

It will be interesting to see what happens when the first generation of "quant" lawyers "make partner" and  start migrating into leadership roles in law firms.

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