“Information is all”

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5 November 2015


Premonition200That’s what the villain in the latest Bond movie, ‘Spectre’, (long but enjoyable) says.

Imagine, then, what it would be like to have developed the world’s largest legal case database, having analysed court data in many of the busiest jurisdictions on the planet, and being able to present all the available information about any particular case.

Possessing the detail of the lawyers with the best track record for winning, the performance of judges, the length of trial, the interim/final settlements, the most reliable expert witnesses and a host of other data would give any user of this information a distinct advantage over their competitors

That’s exactly what Premonition have done. Developing proprietary data gathering technology and a sophisticated artificial intelligence system to mine big data and relentlessly refining the results for accuracy Premonition have left any potential competitors well behind.

Staring with the USA, where there are 41,000 cases/day, Premonition can provide anyone considering litigation with absolute and comparative facts in an objective and quantitative form on any of the cases.

So, even allowing for the general hyperbole and over-excitement we, often cynical and suspicious, Brits reserve for some elements of the American investment community raising funds which value the business at $100m barely a year after start-up is, to put it mildly, astonishing.

The two founders of the business, Toby Unwin and Guy Kurlandski, are young, British born and educated, entrepreneurs and haven’t let the Florida sun (where Premonition is based) go to their heads.

Refusing to be carried away by further offers of investment or an early buy-out from interested law firms the two are patiently building what will be a much bigger, better and more valuable company. Consequently, a fast-growing client base of top US law firms is availing itself of their services.

Here in the UK, Premonition has analysed the, almost, 12,000 High Court case records from the past three years and the results are now available.

Strangely, the bar in England & Wales are uninterested in this. Strange because there are some stellar performers and the casual observer might have thought that promoting this would be beneficial for the barristers and their chambers.

Strange also because this information is the intellectual capital of the bar yet, as in many other ways, they seem happy to let others invent and define their future.

The reaction of those solicitors and others who instruct the bar for High Court cases is better. They can recognise the value of the data but, given that it’s liable to be disruptive of their traditional ways of working, are only slowly coming to the acceptance of its worth.

The General Counsel, CEOs and CFOs of those firms, businesses and organisations who find themselves on one side of a case are much more enthusiastic. While the Premonition data might not completely replace their normal methods of choosing counsel they quite plainly see how it can give a new dimension and edge to that process.

Even more interested are the litigation funders. Considering that they are willing to punt several £m of, often, someone else’s money on a case with a 50/50 chance of success and with no more than qualitative and subjective information on the previous performance of their barrister having hard facts is very appealing.

So, the market will decide if Premonition’s products and services are worth buying and using. Given the increasing client base this is what is happening.

The undeniable tipping point will be when the insurance industry takes it up. Insurance claim settlements outstrip all others by a magnitude and any reliable means to reduce the value of claims, say by choosing the proven best lawyers, will be taken up voraciously and rapidly.

The insurance companies will then make it mandatory for those on their legal panels to use this data. Solicitors instructing counsel, in their turn, will insist on those with the best track records, as shown by the Premonition analyses.

It’s no surprise, then, to learn that Premonition are in advanced discussions with major insurance businesses and expect to be able to make announcements shortly.

Information is all.

By Ian Dodd
UK Director, Premonition.



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