Moneyball Law

I get a lot of junk email and most of it gets immediately deleted. But I noticed one last week that I had to click on because it came from “ Partners” and had a surprising subject line: “Injured in an accident? Sachs Law, It’s Not Business, It’s Personal.”


Usually what I get from the Angels is some breathless news item about a player I’ve never heard of or a pitch for some sort of ticket plan. But a lawyer ad?


You don’t expect to see a lawyer ad when you click on a message from a baseball team, so those of us who click can’t be an obvious market for legal aid. And why the Angels? If you’re someone claiming to win cases, wouldn’t you want to be associated with a winning team? Your slogan might as well be: “If you’re a loser like the Angels, you might as well hire me!”

Maybe a Dodger ad costs too much.

There are other odd things about this ad. For one thing, it contains an endorsement from a radio sports guy that says that the lawyer “will treat your case like it’s his only case.”

I don’t know about you, but that makes me think he’s looking for his only case. (I guess I should note here that the guy’s website says he’s handled thousands of cases and recovered millions. It’s a mixed message.)

But maybe, just maybe, all of this does make sense. After all, lawyering is becoming an awful lot like baseball — there are more and more analytics governing every move.

You can get stats for just about everything legal these days if you’re willing to spend some money and there are people all over the internet telling you that it may be malpractice not to make the investment.

You can get stats on almost everything from judge tendencies — does he hit to left field or stick to the Constitution? — to verdicts in various venues (which should be referred to as VVV).

Like baseball, this takes some of the fun out of the game, but it also may be essential to winning — or at least essential to not losing too badly, since all the major players may be doing it.

There are so many companies — who all want your money — doing this that it’s hard to keep track.

For example, at Casetext, you can “Just drag and drop your complaint or brief to get started.” That ought to scare some lawyers: They may be unnecessary.

At Vlex, you can have “peace of mind when applying the law” using “information you can trust with the help of algorithms that expand your reach.” Let’s hope you can also trust the algorithms.

At Attorney IO, you can get “a selection of stunning relevant legal cases” just by submitting a document. There’s also this rather frightening warning: “Humans can no longer compete without AI in chess. They should not be without AI in litigation either.” Soon you’ll be looking at opposing counsel and seeing only a server.

Or you can get “the most granular mapping of US case law” at casemine, with a program called CaseIQ that can move “beyond mere keywords and retrieve relevant results using entire passages and briefs.” Why bother with mere words?

So we wonder: “What if your legal research takes you places it never could before?”

The Final Frontier?

You’ll notice quotes around the first question because it comes from a Lexis/Nexis web page. This is where we learn that “the Lexis Advance service provides today’s data-driven attorneys with the power to know what was once unknowable.”

Data has become a religious experience.

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