Monday, November 21, 2016

Judge for Yourself

Data analytics are a rapidly-growing feature in legal research services. From the intellectual property predictive analysis in Lex Machina (now owned by LexisNexis) to the recently-unveiled Bloomberg Law Litigation Analytics, many legal research services are offering their users charts, tables, and other information about the connections between court opinions and orders, lawyers, judges, and companies.

Judges are a particularly interesting use case. Most research services provide a basic biographical profile of current judges, along with links to their full-text opinions and orders. However, some research services provide a bit more analysis and examination of individual judges.

The Judge Analytics module of  Ravel Law, featured in Forbes earlier this year, is one example of the possibilities. Duke Law students, faculty, and staff may request an Educational Account. Judge Analytics' coverage includes current and historical federal judges, as well as current state appellate court judges. Type a judge's name into the main Ravel search box and select their name from the "Judges" auto-suggest in order to view a dashboard. The "Opinions" tab provides quick access to the judge’s authored opinions. The "Analytics" tab includes lists of their most-cited opinions, judges, and courts. The "About" tab links to biographical information and available news articles.

Westlaw Profiler and Lexis Advance Litigation Profile Suite both include basic biographical information for state and federal judges, as well as links to opinions, court filings, and secondary sources, such as news. Westlaw and Lexis also include selected charts and tables, where available, of topics like ruling history and judicial reversal rates.

Bloomberg Law's Litigation Analytics module is currently limited to U.S. District Court judges, but includes profiles and analysis of opinions and orders, such as frequently-cited opinions, motion and appeal outcomes, and average length of case.

For more sources of information about judges, including access for the always-illuminating anonymous lawyer survey comments in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, visit the Goodson Law Library research guide to Directories of Courts and Judges or Ask a Librarian.