eDiscovery Daily Blog

A New Product Helps You Get “Context” on Judge’s Opinions and Expert Witnesses: eDiscovery Trends

A legal analytics product being launched last week by LexisNexis analyzes the language of specific judges’ opinions to identify the cases and arguments each judge finds persuasive as well as analytics on expert witnesses.  And, we remember one judge who, sadly, passed away over the weekend.

According to Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites blog (‘Context,’ Launching Today from LexisNexis, Applies Unique Analytics to Judges and Expert Witnesses), the new product, Context, is “déjà vu all over again” (my second favorite Yogi Berra line). The original version of these judge analytics was launched by Ravel Law in 2015. After LexisNexis acquired Ravel in June 2017, development pivoted to incorporating Ravel’s tools into the Lexis Advance legal research platform. The first stage of that incorporation came last June, when Lexis Advance integrated Ravel’s case law visualization tools as a product called Ravel View. Last week’s launch of Context is the second major step in that integration.

Last week’s launch, with judge analytics and expert witness analytics, is the first phase of Context. Future releases will add court analytics, company analytics, and lawyer and law firm analytics.

Bob broke down the capabilities, as follows:

Judge Analytics

What makes this product unique among litigation analytics tools is that it analyzes the language of court documents.  Unlike other products, which can only tell you information such as how long a particular type of case is likely to last, how a judge is likely to rule on a particular type of issue, or how other lawyers have fared before a particular judge, Context analyzes the text of court documents to find language and citations that could prove persuasive to a particular judge. Specifically, it tells you how a judge has ruled on 100 different types of motions and the judges, cases and text the judge most commonly relied on in making those rulings.

Say you are filing a motion for summary judgment. Using Context, you could look up the judge and determine the rate at which that judge grants or denies summary judgment. You could see all of the specific cases in which the judge made these rulings. Then, going deeper, you can see the opinions that the judge most frequently cites in summary judgment cases, and even the specific text from those opinions that the judge most frequently relies on.

With this information, you can tailor your memorandum to fit the judge. You can cite the judges, cases and even passages that you know the judge has relied on in the past and finds persuasive.  Context’s judge analytics cover all federal judges, including appellate judges, and some, but not all, state court judges.  And, there is no backward time limit to Context’s coverage. If a judge has been on the bench for decades, the entirety of the judge’s output is included in Context’s analytics.

Expert Witnesses

The expert witness analytics released last week are a new analytics product not previously offered as part of Ravel’s original set of analytics tools. The reason for that is simple: Ravel did not have data on expert witnesses, but LexisNexis has an extensive set of such data, covering more than 380,000 experts.

For each expert covered by Context, a user can see an overview that provides biographical and experiential information about the expert. For many experts, this includes not only the expert’s current CV, but also prior versions of the CV as it has been presented over the years. The overview also shows whether the expert is typically hired by plaintiffs or defendants, the number of cases per year the expert is engaged in, and the expert’s experience by jurisdiction and areas of law.

Pricing and Availability

LexisNexis is offering 30 days of free access to Context to any Lexis Advance subscriber who registers at www.lexisnexis.com/context. The free trial will run from Jan. 2 to Jan. 31, 2019. In addition, LexisNexis is providing free access starting today to all law school faculty, and to all law students who have a Lexis Advance ID starting Jan. 2.   You can read more about Context (and see screen shot examples of the product) via the link to Bob’s article above.

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Also, The Sedona Conference® yesterday announced the passing of U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer of the District of Colorado, who passed away after a battle with cancer in the early hours of Saturday, December 1.  Judge Shaffer—“Craig” to everyone in The Sedona Conference—was a regular dialogue leader at Working Group 1 meetings and a member of the faculty of three Sedona Conference Institute programs.  In addition to his long legal career, Craig was an invaluable contributor to several Working Group Series publications, including the Commentary on Proportionality in Electronic Discovery (May 2017) and Commentary on Defense of Process (September 2016). He was also one of the original signatories to the Cooperation Proclamation and served on The Sedona Conference Advisory Board since 2006.  You can read more about Judge Shaffer at the TSC website here.

While I never met Judge Shaffer personally, I am certainly aware of him by reputation and it’s clear he has had a significant impact on the legal profession.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

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