Machine analysis of judges’ language will help lawyers argue their case

The research company LexisNexis is launching a service in the UK next year that will allow lawyers to analyse the language of judges to help argue their cases, according to Legal IT Insider.

Unlike Lex Machina, the firm’s flagship analytics tool that mines the metadata contained within vast quantities of public documents, its new service, Context, examines in great detail the language used by judges, including the cases they cite.

“Context allows people to analyse language to make informed decisions,” said Jeff Pfeifer, Lexis’ vice president of product management. “By mining the data, we can isolate the argument the judge will find most persuasive.

“Judges generally apply the law consistently and we can say ‘in more than 100 motion types, the judge has ruled this way on a motion to dismiss’ and we can see if the motion was granted, partially granted or denied and what the rationale was.

“The next level of citation analytics looks at what language does she cite. For example, she cites Adams v Johnson 37 times, or repeats it at every instance. So, from that you may conclude that your case is unlikely to be persuasive.”

Lexis is planning to launch Context first in Canada and will then focus on the UK, which significantly trails behind the US in terms of its ability to use analytics to help guide decision making within the litigation process.

“We’re working at the intersection of law and human behaviour,” said Pfeifer. “When we talk to judges, they say ‘I tell you what to argue – the roadmap is in the judgment.’”

In the US, Context extends that analytical capability to expert witnesses, where Lexis has refined its language recognition capability and applied it to much bigger data sets.

“We’ve been collecting expert data for a while,” said Pfeifer. “We can say ‘this expert was either admitted or fully or partially excluded, and work out what has the judge said about his appearance. It’s very difficult to get this information and there have been no good sources until now.”

The release is part of a move by Lexis to dominate the analytics scene which is bringing results; 70 of the top 100 US law firms now use Lex Machina as well as dozens of corporates.