Minority Report: Automated case prediction software attracts the attention of litigation funder

September 30, 2020

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2 min read

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What's going on here?

Major litigation funder, Therium Capital Management has teamed up with the London based artificial intelligence startup, Solomonic Litigation Analytics to predict the likelihood of success in its prospective cases.

What does this mean?

Solomonic, a start-up which combines legal, analytics and behavioural sciences expertise, uses detailed court data to enhance predictions, optimise case research and potentially improve outcomes. This data will help Therium to assess potential outcomes, and thus inform key strategic decisions such as potential settlement offers based on previous precedents.

Several academic groups have highlighted the ability of machine learning software to forecast the outcome of cases more accurately than human experts. However, the adoption of AI technology among lawyers still remains low. According to a survey conducted by the University of Oxford and the Law Society, only 16% said they apply AI technology to due diligence and 12% for e-disclosure or technology assisted review. Yet many remain hopeful that the legal profession will begin to embrace the exciting new field of legal technology in the near future. Indeed, Therium’s announcement is just another indication of the growing commercial application of this technology. Last year litigation funder Apex announced a partnership with another UK startup, CourtQuant, to assess the risk of litigation.

What's the big picture effect?

Many questions still remain unanswered regarding the strength of legal technology. The more ambitious start-up Atrium, a hybrid legal software company and law firm, shut down in March 2020 after receiving $75.5million in funding from investors. It found that it was difficult to build software for third-party lawyers, many of whom have entrenched processes and older leadership. The streamlined workflows may not have seemed worth the upheaval of adopting new technology.

In contrast, some observers fear that AI technology may become too accurate, thus undermining the justice system as a whole. This threat to justice led the French government to outlaw the publication of all aggregated data about judges’ rulings last year. The use of internal data may deliver a more comprehensive view of the risks and rewards of disputes, for both funders and litigators. This could further undermine the role of the judiciary if individuals become more risk averse; forcing them to back track on cases that would usually go to litigation.

Yet for those looking to profit from the legal industry, the wider use of this predictive technology is likely to strengthen their profits. The nuanced insights resulting from partnerships similar to that of Therium and Solomonic will result in more informed decisions, with corporate clients then placing increased emphasis on analytics alongside smarter knowledge management and legal project management skills from lawyers. This in turn reduces the risk involved when funding litigation and could dramatically increase revenues for the companies who invest in this technology.

Report written by Kasey Cummings

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