The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. And, 22 months later, the legal implications of these changes remain largely unknown. Across the United States, the number of coronavirus-related complaints filed in federal and state courts continues to rise. These legal actions are complex. They’re testing contemporary legal understandings of negligence, causation, and liability, terms that had initially been defined and adjudicated in contexts of relative normality. As Barb Dawson, chair of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, explains, “[w]e’re seeing a collision of old laws and frameworks for justice that will be colliding with all new facts.”
While nobody is certain how judges will handle the COVID-19 cases that appear before their benches, it’s important to remember the level of uncertainty that has always existed within the legal system. It can be easy to overlook these uncertainties. After all, the legal system here in the United States relies on legal precedents, a situation which suggests that the outcome of any single case should be fairly predictable. According to Gail Gottehrer, an emerging technologies attorney based in New York City, “[i]f your case is similar and has similar facts to another case, the results shouldn’t be too surprising.”
The problem, however, is that the results often are surprising. Judges aren’t computers. They are people, filled with their own beliefs and their own experiences, both of which shape how they interpret laws, apply facts, and consider arguments. With that said, lawyers can’t simply feed competing arguments into the bench and expect predictable outcomes. Something else is needed, a tool that can help attorneys navigate through the uncertain, uncharted waters of a lawsuit. By harnessing the power of state trial court data, judicial analytics is poised to fill this gap, helping attorneys grapple with the twists and turns of the litigation landscape in our unprecedented times
Nicole Clark is a business litigation and labor and employment attorney who has handled litigation in both state and federal courts. She’s worked at a variety of law firms ranging from mid-size litigation boutiques to large firms, and is licensed to practice law in three states. She has defended corporations and employers in complex class action and wage and hour disputes, as well as individual employment matters ranging from sexual harassment to wrongful termination. Additionally, Nicole is the CEO and co-founder of Trellis Research, a legal analytics platform that uses AI and machine learning to provide litigators with strategic legal intelligence and judicial analytics. Nicole has an intuitive understanding of technology and is deeply committed to helping lawyers leverage technology to gain a competitive advantage and achieve a more favorable outcome for their clients.
Keeping up on the litigation landscape with AI-powered legal analytics can help cultivate productive and meaningful client relationships.
“As someone who had his own law firm, I learned very early on that without clients, you had no business,” says Cole Silver, Chief Client Officer at Blank Rome. The statement is as bold as it is obvious. Still, it bears repeating. We all know that operating a law firm involves more than just practicing law. There is also the business behind the law. That is, all of the labor involved in marketing and managing client relationships.
The business of the law requires a certain set of skills, as legal markets are generally soft, filled with more sellers than buyers. There are myriad ways to cultivate connections with prospective clients. Some legal teams rely on networking — meeting the right people, and fostering the right reputation. Others place their trust in marketing campaigns, scooping up space on highway billboards, television programs and radio voiceovers.