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The Eye of the Storm: Legal Analytics In Corporate Legal Departments
January 5, 2023
Another hurricane season. It came, and then it left, clearing a path of destruction across the Southern United States. Insurance carriers in these climates have learned to be nimble. The market requires them to proactively manage several forms of risk, utilizing past claims data to predict future loss exposure and establish coverage rates. But the business executives in these companies are not the only ones harnessing the power of big data to manage uncertainty. So are their legal departments.
QUANTIFYING THE LAW
What happens when a disputed insurance claim becomes a legal matter? How can attorneys, like insurance agents, apply predictive analytics to assess their company’s legal exposure? How can legal analytics be used to improve their chances of success in court? By compiling, synthesizing, and analyzing data from state trial court records, legal analytics technologies provide corporations and their legal departments with insights into the behaviors of court participants. Legal analytics helps lift the fog that obscures the litigation process, allowing legal teams to understand how legal disputes are actually handled in practice.
The moment an action lands on the desk of a company’s legal department, in-house counsel turn to legal analytics. Their work begins with a quick Google-like search through the millions of state trial court cases that have been curated by a legal analytics platform. The goal? To learn more about the party that has filed the complaint and the legal issues addressed in the action. Attorneys can type the name of a party into the platform’s search function and see how often this party has filed similar claims in other jurisdictions. With a few more clicks, they can learn the status of those cases. How often did the party settle? How often did they make it to trial? This is the kind of information that can help in-house counsel pinpoint nuisance cases that can be swiftly resolved internally without the aid of an external law firm.
If that pending legal action is more than a nuisance, in-house counsel can use that same search function to screen prospective outside counsel. This is one of the most common use cases for a platform like Trellis. With Trellis, in-house counsel can sift through a vast collection of state trial court records, building the litigation histories of each individual law firm. This search, which can cross jurisdictional boundaries, uncovers the dockets, documents, and rulings associated with the firm, allowing in-house counsel to learn how that firm drafts motions, approaches legal issues, and shapes case timelines. This is where insights get granular. In-house counsel can zoom in, studying individual attorneys and their litigation teams to understand the types of cases they tend to litigate as well as the frequency with which they work together.
The power of legal analytics also extends throughout the litigation process. Legal departments use legal analytics to probe state trial court records in order to aggregate statistically significant answers to questions about the estimated length of a case, its probable cost, and its likelihood of success. These insights, which can be gleaned from portals that provide verdict data and judicial analytics, help in-house counsel get a feel for the types of motions and the kinds of resources needed to resolve a particular kind of action. In-house counsel can then collaborate with the demands of their company’s financial departments, monitoring the spending of external law firms to ensure that budgets are used efficiently and effectively.
FORECASTING THE STORM
Janet Yellen, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, responded to the devastation of Hurricane Ian by launching an assessment into how extreme weather impacts the cost of insurance. The assessment, which aggregates postcode level data about the prices and policies offered by various companies, will provide the “consistent, granular, and comparable insurance data needed to help assess the potential for major disruptions of private insurance coverage.” But the power of big data isn’t just integral to the insurance market. It has also become a necessity for the contemporary practice of the law, creating a positive synergy between the legal departments and the executive suites in virtually every single industry.
By Nicole Clark
Nicole Clark, a business litigation and labor and employment attorney, is CEO and co-founder of Trellis Research.
Trellis is an AI-powered legal research and analytics platform that gives state court litigators a competitive advantage by making trial court rulings searchable, and providing insights into the patterns and tendencies of your opposing counsel, and your state court judges. To learn more, visit www.trellis.law.
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