Technology and the law currently overlap in meaningful, but largely incomplete, ways. This is an opportunity to bridge the gap and change the legal landscape forever.
- Understanding the problem.
The entire legal industry is premised on the notion that rules, statutes, and prior decisions by judges and courts (caselaw) govern the decision-making process for lawyers when representing clients. Of course, a lawyer's education, perspective, and unique problem-solving abilities will affect the decision making process, but not as much as you might think. Almost invariably this is how a lawyer makes a decision for a client:
- What does the rule of procedure say we must do?
- Is there a statute that controls this situation?
- How have prior judges and/or courts ruled on similar arguments under similar circumstances
Stated another way, lawyers rely almost exclusively on the already-existing law (rules, statutes, caselaw) to create arguments and advance a certain strategy instead of another--nothing else. This is how we are trained in law school; this is what other lawyers and judges expect; this is how the system has always worked. But there's more data/information out there that already exists and is NOT being utilized. Data that could prove to be far more valuable in terms of correct decision making than any rule, statute, or case.
- Technology and the Law: Some Meaningful Overlap, but Something is Missing
It wasn't that long ago that if a lawyer needed to research a rule, statute, or caselaw he or she would have to phsyically go to a law library, located and retrieve books, and read them. Then, with the advance of technology, came web-based databases that stored the information but allowed lawyers to browse them at lightining speed (e.g. Westlaw and LexisNexis). That markeplace exists, is controlled by major players, and lawyers' use of their products are ubiqutious.
More recently, law firms were managed in paper-heavy, intensive phsyical environments. Physical files, endless documents, all created inefficient management of legal operations. Needless to say creating and managing task assignemtns and workflow was really challenging. Then came seemingly dozens of vendors all proclaiming to have the solution (e.g. PracticePanther, RocketMatter, FileVine, etc.). And they all help in many ways. Lawyers are beginning to use them more and more.
In conclusion, systems exist for help lawyers research the law, communicate with their colleagues, organize and store information, and even automate certain proceses (i.e. timekeeping, form document generation, etc.). And while that may seem like a complete solution, it's not.
- The Most Important Data Lawyers Should Consider Before Making a Decision Is Not Currently Available to Them: We are Going to Create It!
Lawyers who handle litigation (that is, lawsuits or criminal prosecutions where cases are actually fought in courts) are working at a serious disadvantage--they just don't know it. (Trust me, I am a litigation lawyer).
Yes, whether a rule or statute exists and addresses a particular concern is important to know.
Yes, a judge or court's prior decision in a written opinion is important, but doesn't give the full picture. It's too surface level.
What if a criminal defense lawyer currently represents a white, male, 26 years old, no prior criminal record, in Miami, Florida, for DUI, and has judge John Smith, prosecutor Jane Doe, and wants to know:
- Does this particular prosecutor ever negotiate plea bargains to amend the charge to a lower level instead of just DUI?
- What is the likelihood that this prosecutor will offer jail time in exchange for a guilty plea?
- If my client pleads guilty, what is the likelihood that this judge will sentence him to jail? What if we go to trial instead of a guilty plea but at trial the jury still finds my client guilty? Will that affect the way this judge sentences my client?
- There are literally hundres if not thousands of other similar queries litigation lawyers always think but can never know...until now.
We are looking for one or more creative, innovative, hard-working people to help developing a web-based environment for litigation lawyers that both pulls data from available public records, but also is driven by those same user-lawyers to input case- and client-specific information about judges, other lawyers, witnesses, insurance adjusters, jurors, etc., to eventually create the capability of showing statistical probabilities of certain outcomes based on specific queries, and in some instances, demonstrate predictive outputs. This enviornment will be largely driven by users who input data from around the country while prompted in a non-exhausting, inviting way repeatedly.
At first, my own law firm can provide lots of data (and guidance) to help build this platform. We can even beta test it. The ultimate goal is to commercialize the platform. We are looking for long term developers, not just a one and done.
This project will require immense and particular knowledge of how litigaiton works. The nuance is so complex that only a lawyer would understand. However, I am confident that I can translate it and work diligently to help whomever works on this project get it done.
Imagine if lawyers could predict the future? This could and would change the practice of law forever. Completely disrupt the market.
- We are Open Minded To The Best Path to Reach Our Goal, But Here Is My Rought Idea of the Journey
- Explore - Using my own law firm and tons of data for personal injury and criminal defense cases in Florida, we can provide both data and tons of example queries and factors you should consider when developing the platform. This is more exploration for you to gain deeper insight into how litigation works and what times of data will be needed; what types of queries will the system need to be able to process.
- Test and Fix - We can first start beta testing with my own law firm.
- Limited Launch - Launch the platform and begin to market it without to other attorneys we know.
- Fix the Bugs - Absorb the feedback and fix the problems that need to be addressed
- Major Launch - Develop a website to accompany the platform and to drive traffic/potential users too. That website will also be where users login, where info on our platform is stored, and other basic company stuff. But this is the first meaningful step in commercializing the product via subscription or license model.
- Ongoing Development and Support - Even after the launch, keep you on board for the future to help continually develop, fine tune, and better the platform.
We are looking to first build an MVP. In your proposal please submit the milestones for the MVP.