Start-up partners with law firm to predict judges’ rulings

David Cohen: Solicitor co-founded Solomonic

Litigation outcome prediction has taken a further step into the mainstream with a partnership between a major litigation law firm and a start-up that presents lawyers with data on how judges have ruled in the past.

Solomonic, which specialises in data science and litigation analytics, is scheduled for commercial launch in the autumn.

Stewarts, which calls itself the UK’s largest litigation-only law firm, will help Solomonic trial its new platform.

Law firms employing Solomonic are presented with statistics on the record of the judge in their case and the statistical likelihood of these patterns continuing.

Solomonic was co-founded by a tax specialist solicitor David Cohen, a partner at Norton Rose for 15 years and now a consultant with Keystone Law, One Essex Court barrister Gideon Cohen, and behavioural scientist Henry Stott.

It has as advisers Ian Terry, former Freshfields head of dispute resolution and worldwide managing director, and Christopher Styles QC, former head of disputes at Linklaters and now an arbitrator at One Essex Court. Solomonic’s chair is Natalina Bertoli, managing partner of specialist M&A and strategy advisory firm Bertoli Mitchell.

Chief operating officer Tom Jewkes told Legal Futures that the aim of its product was “to help a litigation lawyer to contextualise the features of their case against the historic trend pattern of outcomes”.

He added that as well as the historic rulings of judges, predictions were also broken down according to, for instance, factors such as “length of hearing, length of case, counsel team size, the type of evidence used, and counsel instructed”.

He explained that the collection of data has been “almost completely manual”. Solomonic’s attempt to use artificial intelligence to extract data from court documents such as judgments and claims forms were frustrated because the formats used gave results that were “too inaccurate to be usable by litigators”.

Stewarts’ knowledge management and compliance partner, Julian Chamberlayne, said: “A key part of litigating successfully is making the best possible decisions on everything from tactics to personnel, from arguments to settlement or taking a case to trial.

“The outcome of cases is influenced by the cumulative effect of those decisions…

“The use of data extracted from judgments, and smart analytics derived from that data, is one more way to supplement our expertise and further enhance our innovative approach to litigation – including litigation funding.”

Dr Stott said: “We have developed a meticulous process for extracting high-quality data from court documents and have observed reliable and interesting patterns within that data which support statistical and algorithmic modelling. This has yielded significant insights for litigators.”

Prediction systems have been in use in the US and UK for some time. In the UK, law firms have created their own systems to predict case outcomes and several commercial products are also available.

These include Thomson Reuters’ upgrade to its Westlaw platform. Standalone products include CaseCrunch and Sibyl, which claim predictive accuracy of 87% and 81% respectively in relation to some types of claim.

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