California litigator Nicole Clark knew that she could make her briefs more persuasive if she better understood the presiding judge. But the only tool at her disposal consisted of sending an email to colleagues and hoping for helpful anecdotes. In 2016, she took matters into her own hands and built artificial intelligence (AI) software to analyze California trial court orders and opinions. Clark’s win percentage skyrocketed and she found herself in high demand. Eventually, Clark decided to share this treasure trove of data.
Trellis in One Sentence
Trellis is a state trial court legal research and analytics platform with AI-based insights on judges, opposing counsel, motions, dockets, and legal issues.
The Killer Feature
Clark describes Trellis as “Google for state court data.” Search for your judge and you’ll instantly find a Judge Report with that judge’s bio, including education, articles, political affiliations, and court rules.
Even better, Judge Reports help you predict the likelihood of success on dispositive motions such as motion to dismiss and summary judgment, discovery motions, and other common pre- and post-trial motions (including motion to compel, attorney’s fees, class certification, and peremptory challenges).
For each motion, the Judge Report summarizes the grant rate and provides charts for deeper insights such as comparisons to other judges in the county and state. If you decide that removing your judge makes sense for your case, you can get insights into likely judge reassignments, research that panel of potential judges, and get a more holistic understanding of the risk of reassignment before an even more difficult judge.
“Trellis Judge Reports help state trial court litigators understand where their judge is an outlier, set client expectations, and make data-driven decisions from the start of every case,” says Clark. “If opposing counsel has Trellis and you don’t, you’re at a serious disadvantage.”
Jack M. Rubin, an associate at Newmeyer & Dillion, agrees with Clark. “I have a moment with Trellis almost every day finding results I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else,” says Rubin. “The information in Trellis changed my cases from being on defense to offense. Trellis is an essential tool for litigators.”
Other Notable Features
In addition to Judge Reports, use the Smart Search tool in Trellis to search state court dockets and documents and learn how the courts, judges, and opposing counsel have handled similar matters in the past. You can create email alerts for specific parties, judges, opposing counsel, statutes, and/or any of your saved searches.
Use cases for Trellis range from developing litigation strategy to business development and marketing. Find a model complaint with the elements of a cause of action, see the win/loss record of opposing counsel or the current lawyer of a target client, identify which class actions are the most lucrative by reviewing settlement amounts, etc.
Trellis also features a growing Motions & Issues Library — a browsable and searchable treatise-like resource of practical guidance to help litigators swiftly understand the current threshold applied by trial court judges. Learn all the steps involved in filing a particular motion, get up to speed on common and obscure state law issues, find recent filings pertaining to a motion or issue, and see examples of how judges rule.