We all know how it goes when a new case comes in: Your clients want you to predict the outcome and give them a comprehensive case strategy, and they want it now. Historically, this has been a major problem, because litigators had to cobble together predictions from extensive (and often expensive) research and anecdotal evidence collected from other attorneys in the halls of the firm.
Today, that task is infinitely easier thanks to Legal Analytics from Lex Machina. Legal Analytics allows you to quickly get a sense of the issues that are most critical to your case and to your client. Now, when your clients want a nearly immediate prediction on case outcomes and your advice on how to proceed, you can give it to them with confidence.
The Lex Machina database contains close to 6 million cases, with more being added every day. For each of those cases, users can access the dockets and already-downloaded documents, which are updated daily as cases progress, and can retrieve other documents as part of their subscription. These documents contain information on case outcomes, the lawyers involved, the damages awarded, the time it took to reach key milestones or resolution, detailed case findings, and more. They have been enhanced and supplemented by Lex Machina’s cutting-edge technology and experienced attorney review to ensure that any original mistakes or omissions from the docket are corrected before the case sets and data reach you.
Lex Machina doesn’t just have the data, though. They also make it accessible in ways that allow lawyers to glean actionable insights from it. In the past, obtaining anything approaching a detailed track record on your opposing counsel or judge was a massive undertaking that usually involved hours of legal research, phone calls, trips to the courthouse to get physical documents, and inquiries to others in your firm who had handled similar cases. The price tag for all of that legwork quickly adds up.
Now, with Lex Machina, you can get all of that critical information with just a few clicks. Just having the data alone isn’t enough. With the right tools that parse the data for you and allow you to filter it down to exactly the insights you want, you’ll be in the best position to know how to approach a case, learn more about the players in the case, and decide how to defend against your opponent.
Lex Machina applies Legal Analytics to the aforementioned data in a wide variety of ways. The following are just some of the tools that are invaluable to informing your litigation strategy.
Early Case Assessment
Remember that client who wants an immediate answer about their likelihood of success in a new matter? Lex Machina’s Early Case Assessor empowers you to give it.
The tool allows you to quickly assess the level of threat posed by a new case just by entering the name of the opposing party and their law firm. Lex Machina provides immediate litigation histories, so you can instantly see whether they’ve brought similar claims against other parties, where they typically file suit, how much experience the party and their lawyers have with this kind of case, and other insights that will give you and your client an initial sense of the enormity and seriousness of the matter.
Get a Read on Opposing Parties and Counsel
Once you have an initial sense of the case, you can dig deeper on both the opposing party and opposing counsel to understand their experience, typical litigation behavior, and common strategies. With Lex Machina’s party analytics, you can quickly research your opponent’s background in similar matters including their track record before specific judges and courts, their typical timing from filing to certain key case events, and the damages they’ve won in past cases. You can also gain insights into how often they file and succeed on various motions and how often they settle.
Similar insights are available for opposing counsel. Lex Machina can focus in on specific law firms with the Law Firm Comparator tool or even specific practice groups within a law firm with the Attorney Team Analyzer. In just a few seconds, you can compare various attorneys’ past track records and analyze their areas of strength to inform your litigation strategy. Has opposing counsel handled 50 similar cases before the same judge and settled half the time? Do they frequently file for summary judgment or take cases to trial? Or is this one of the first cases of this type they’ve ever tried? With Legal Analytics, you can know the answer to all those questions almost instantly.
Size Up Your Judge
The judge assigned to your case or the court where the case is filed can have a significant impact on your ultimate outcome. For example, you may have heard by word of mouth that plaintiffs tend to be more successful before certain judges. That’s not always the whole story, however.
Lex Machina can show you not only how often cases resolve in the claimant’s favor before specific judges, but also success rates in your specific kind of case, which can make all the difference. You can also compare outcome trends for different courts. Sizing up your court and assigned judge is critical to whether or not you advise your client to consider pursuing a change in venue or settling the case.
Anticipate Time to Resolution
When it comes to litigation, time is money in your clients’ eyes. Aside from any potential damages, clients most often want to know how long a case will take — after all, the longer the case goes on, the more fees they have to pay you. When you use Legal Analytics to assess a matter, you can view the typical time to various judgment events in front of your judge, including time to termination and trial.
If similar cases before your judge often go to trial and are decided in favor of the claimant, your client is looking at far greater legal fees than if the case is likely to terminate early in motion practice. These sorts of insights are critical to informing realistic settlement and long-term litigation strategies, and they are key to happy, long-term relationships with your clients.
Understand Potential Damages
The other factor impacting how much your clients will ultimately spend in litigation is their potential exposure. Lex Machina provides valuable intel on typical damages awards in similar cases, cases in your court or before your judge, cases involving your opponents, and more.
Further, those damages can be broken down by type, such as lost profits or punitive damages, so you can really understand where your client’s potential exposure lies. When your clients fully understand what’s potentially at stake, they can make better decisions on how to proceed and you can craft a better strategy geared toward their case goals.
When it comes to remaining competitive and offering your clients the best possible representation, having an informed litigation strategy is critical. With Lex Machina, you can gain the in-depth insights you need to help your clients understand their cases and craft the best possible strategies for success.