The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

CBA/ABC National

Legal start-up spotlight: Loom Analytics

March 22 2016 22 March 2016

Loom Analytics is a new arrival on the legal start-up scene.  Based in Toronto, it bills itself as an analytics firm that can drill down into legal documents, organize targeted data on past rulings and offer insight into case outcomes.  This month it joined LegalX Cluster at the MaRS Discovery District.  CBA National caught up with the company’s co-founders (pictured above), CEO Mona Datt, and Raj Datt, a civil litigator at the firm Cozen O'Connor.

CBA National: What does Loom analytics do?

Raj Datt: The best way to describe it is that it’s Moneyball for lawyers.

Mona Datt: So we’re taking all the unstructured data in Canadian decisions, actually putting it into structured format, so that people can search through drop-downs. You can pick your case parameters through a dropdown and click Search and find a matching item. Or if you want to know what your chances of success and failure are at a certain type of motion, be it a family judgment or any other type of motion, or even trial for that matter, at a certain court level. So you can actually pick your case parameters and run a report. It helps lawyers decide whether they want to take a case on, based on what their chances of success and failure in a certain type of case are. It also helps strategy: Do I want to move for a certain type of motion, or do I want to move for another type of motion? Am I going to get friendly judgment with this judge or another judge? How is a certain judge going to react – you know, you can search by judges as well.

N: What’s your target market?

MD: All firms, but not just firms; we’re talking mainstream consumers too. Like a self-rep could easily go in and look for their chances of success and failure in a certain case type, and whether they should be a self-rep, or are they better off being represented by a lawyer in a certain type of case.

RD: researchers in the legal field who are looking to collect data have also approached us. And for clients it means they can evaluate or get a sober second opinion on advice that you're getting from their counsel.       And it also helps you evaluate counsel and their track records. And also if you're a counsel, you could see the track record of your opposing counsel and see, statistically, what they’ve done in the past. Are they more liable to bring certain types of motions or they try certain types of cases? It may allow you to connect the dots in terms of figuring out what their litigation strategy may be.

N: Do you find the use of legal analytics to be unsettling for lawyers?        

RD: Oh yeah, but having said that this is all publicly available information. It’s just not presented in a structured format. If somebody wanted to get down and compile all the cases I’ve ever done, you know, in terms of reported cases, and come up with a win/loss formula, then they could do that. But whether they’d want to spend the hours to do that, I mean, that’s another question.

N: Where do you want to take this product next?

MD: But we’re going court level at the time. We are researching machine-learning options too, because we realize that there are some patterns that can be used in a decision. We’re experimenting with different machine learning options to get as much data as possible through machine learning and fine-tuning it through the human layer.

N: What are your general impressions of legal tech and legal innovation in Canada?

MD: So things are heating up. Things are moving a lot faster than they have in the past few years. There’s definitely more expectance of legal tech. A few of the apprehensions, about machines taking over, are starting to subside, which is good. It’s important. I’ve got an engineering background and so for me, coming in from the outside, the fact of the matter is, lawyers are definitely adapting and they have to, because users embrace it or it’s going to be hard to grow.

RD: I’m with a U.S. firm called Cozen O’Connor, based in Philadelphia. And my perspective is a bit different, because it’s a US firm, I see a lot of what’s going on in terms of the innovations that have been done in the U.S. and in my firm specifically. And my observation has been, you know, that the U.S. seems to have embraced legal tech and innovation to a more significant extent than we have up here, right or wrong. But it’s picking up here as well.

This interview was edited and condensed for publication.

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