1. Legal Technology, Content and Solutions
  2. Insights
  3. Use litigation data to gain leverage


5 reasons to leverage litigation data for your case

Rachel Beithon
Reference Attorney

Legal research for litigators is unique because litigators need strong insights into judges, courts, and opponents to be competitive. The job of a litigator is to win, and they don’t usually have the time to find, let alone fully digest and analyze, all the data that could provide advantages in court.

Litigation research options just got a major upgrade. Using Litigation Analytics on Westlaw Edge, litigators can amplify their case strategy, better manage client expectations, understand assigned judges, gain competitive insight on opponents, and have access to the best legal research support in the industry.

Furthermore, Precedent Analytics, fully integrated within Westlaw Edge, allows you to dive deeper to understand your judge’s citation patterns, which can help you determine your drafting strategy. Using Precedent Analytics, you can examine the cases a judge tends to rely on for specific legal issues. You can also filter all the cases the judge has cited for their opinions on that particular issue.

1. Amplify litigation strategy and build stronger arguments

Crafting the best approach to litigation involves analyzing dozens of variables, usually at every point of the matter in question, beginning with whether even to take the client. Regardless of experience, each case typically presents itself as unique, requiring attorneys to flex their strategy accordingly. With Litigation Analytics on Westlaw Edge, attorneys can amplify their litigation strategy through data-driven insights they can trust.

Industry-leading filtering capabilities, including 28 different motion types and a custom “search within” function, let them focus on their specific needs. They can easily gather relevant information on the potential outcomes and timelines of a case, and better determine the likely associated costs. Precedent Analytics within Litigation Analytics allows you to filter by Key number, Judge, Court, Reported Status, and Date to bring you the most relevant information. Dig deeper into this related content to further build a strong case strategy.

Only Litigation Analytics searches across dockets, as well as the full text of related trial documents, to find arguments, issues, and fact patterns that apply to the case. Plus, Litigation Analytics saves the time of searching through an entire docket, which can be hundreds of pages long. From the results list, researchers can get right to the exact portion of the docket that references the information needed. All of this is fully integrated with Westlaw Edge for a seamless legal research experience.

The need for good data doesn’t stop once the trial starts. Motion strategy plays a crucial role in developing litigation. Litigation Analytics lets users see how judges and courts have addressed each of the 28 available motion types. Then they can narrow motions within judge and court search results by case type, filing role, even the party name, attorney, and law firm. These refinements let litigators determine what made a case successful in the past, so they can more easily clear the way for the judge to follow the same path for their case.

2. Understand courts, jurisdictions, and judges’ propensities to rule

If an attorney is appearing in front of a judge they’ve never encountered, they want all the information they can get, including docket history and outcomes of similar cases. Think about how many billable hours you have spent analyzing judicial language to find out if a judge is familiar with your issue, weighing how likely your judge is to cite another judge, or assessing the outliers. Now you can get that information – and more – with a simple click of a button.

Precedent Analytics provides a deeper understanding of the judge you are researching with analysis derived from editorially created content. Precedent Analytics goes beyond standard judicial research to help you quickly determine outliers, acceptances within the industry, and landmark cases. Additionally, this tool allows you to see how often your judge cites a particular case compared to how often the case is cited to nationally.

Litigation Analytics pulls reliable information from dockets to show the types of cases a judge usually has before them and how often, so users can formulate the strongest possible strategy. Litigation Analytics also includes motion outcomes, how a judge handles expert challenges, and appeals rates for decisions they overturn from lower courts and appeals from their decisions that are reversed by higher courts.

Regarding appeals, knowing how often a judge is reversed or affirmed can help set outcome expectations for an appellant or relieve concerns of an appellee. While finding out the answer to affirmed or reversed immediately is game-changing for research, appeals analytics on Westlaw Edge go even further than other online legal research tools. Precedent Analytics allows for more granular filtering - providing options for dismissed appeals, remands, partial affirmance or reversals, and denied petitions for appeal, among others.

3. Choose the best expert

One of the more frequent questions trial attorneys ask the Westlaw reference attorney team is how a specific judge handles expert challenges. Litigation Analytics streamlines the answer to this question. Locate how often a judge has viewed areas of expertise for an expert, the result of expert challenges, and even if a judge admits more testimony from plaintiffs’ or defendants’ experts, all of which can influence how to proceed in a matter.

4. Get insights on opposing counsel

From first-year associates to partners with 30 years of experience, litigators consistently ask about who they’re facing across the aisle. Knowing more about an opponent’s tendencies, habits, and legal career helps predict their likely moves. Now, research about an opponent is easier and faster than ever.

Litigation Analytics users can locate the docket history, outcomes, and motions for individual attorneys and entire law firms as well. This gives them a full picture of the support structure upon which the other side relies.

Litigation Analytics can also provide support when it comes to hiring outside counsel. All dockets and available outcomes of counsel are a few clicks away, analyzing where an attorney has litigated, their role in proceedings, the parties they’ve represented, and how active they’ve been each year. If an attorney you’re planning to hire hasn’t worked in a certain area of law for twenty years, you can make an educated decision about whether they are right for your case.

5. Manage client expectations

Managing client expectations can be one of the trickiest parts of practicing law. Attorneys are typically concerned about the best way to advocate for their clients, while clients are generally concerned with remaining informed about their issues and keeping costs down, as much as they are concerned about the outcome of their case.

With Litigation Analytics, attorneys can easily address common client questions about the likely outcome, cost, and timeline of their case by accessing clear data on how the judge has ruled on similar cases. With information at their fingertips about judges, opponents, and more, litigators can provide data-backed updates and probabilities during conversations with clients - without spending inordinate time researching - helping to keep clients better informed and happier.

Ready for Westlaw?

Take the next step today