Articles Posted in Legal Technology

In Part 1 of this two-part series of posts, I described — how “judges’ personal foibles and idiosyncrasies — I mean their distinctive, well-informed, jurisprudentially ingenious perspectives — can drive litigation outcomes more than any objective view of the law or evidence would seem to warrant”. 

From there I compared the relatively new (circa 2006) legal analytics technology to a courtroom grapevine that colleagues and I used in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in the 1980s to ascertain such personal foibles and idiosyncrasies when our case was assigned to a particular judge for trial.

By this time legal analytics is old news — at least among the largest law firms and for specific categories of major business litigation. But recently this technology has moved beyond just big cities and elite law firms to Main Street and to small law firms.

Witness the example of Gavelytics’ announcement a few weeks ago.

Gavelytics — the legal analytics company — announced a new partnership with a company called “CourtCall”. In my own courtroom experience, CourtCall has functioned as a conference call service — just that this one involves judges and is deemed a formal court appearance for the participants (there’s a video offering feature too apparently).

My first experience with CourtCall came when I had a case in a small city. Until then, my experiences doing conference calls with judges and lawyers — in place of an actual visit to the court — had been confined to the well-equipped federal courts, who have their own, ample facilities for such things.

The fact that Gavelytics has partnered with CourtCall tells me that this legal analytics offering is not confined to big cities and elite law firms. It’s now coming to small cities and small law firms.

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In a recent post I wrote that judges’ personal foibles and idiosyncrasies — I mean their distinctive, well-informed, jurisprudentially ingenious perspectives — can drive litigation outcomes more than any objective view of the law or evidence would seem to warrant:

“My introduction to this came when I was a prosecutor in Manhattan. When my colleagues and I brought a felony case we knew all of the personalities among the judges on the trial court to whom that case might be assigned.

“And our prosecutors’ grapevine functioned well. We had either firsthand experience — or readily available, reliable accounts of a professional colleague — to inform the way we argued law or handled evidence before any particular judge.

“Some judges tended to disbelieve police testimony. Others would never impose a greater sentence than the law absolutely required. Some were meticulous on evidentiary objections. Others were relatively loose on such rulings. Some were temperamental. Others were reasonable.

“Learning the judge’s personal idiosyncrasies was always my first order of business when I was assigned to a particular judge for trial.”

This is the outlook of every lawyer assigned to try a case before a particular judge: Who is this person who’ll be calling the shots on my case, and how have they handled cases like the one I have before them now?

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