The Future of Legal Search: Meeting Lawyer Requirements by Delivering More Contextually Sensitive and Relevant Results
 

The Future of Legal Search: Meeting Lawyer Requirements by Delivering More Contextually Sensitive and Relevant Results

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Automated search engines can parse complex legal information and return more contextually-sensitive and relevant results that can be easily integrated with a law firm’s existing knowledge management ...

Automated search engines can parse complex legal information and return more contextually-sensitive and relevant results that can be easily integrated with a law firm’s existing knowledge management systems and workflows.

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The Future of Legal Search: Meeting Lawyer Requirements by Delivering More Contextually Sensitive and Relevant Results The Future of Legal Search: Meeting Lawyer Requirements by Delivering More Contextually Sensitive and Relevant Results Document Transcript

  • • Cognizant 20-20 InsightsThe Future of Legal Search:Meeting Lawyer Requirements by Delivering MoreContextually-Sensitive and Relevant Results Executive Summary Need for Change Research is one of the most vital and time-con- Legal research is the backbone for building a suming activities in a lawyer’s workload. While strong case. For decades, lawyers have been the legal information industry has innovated by dependent on the duopoly of Lexis.com and improving search efficiency, the effectiveness of WestLaw to provide vast information databases, search largely relies on the research expertise combined with internal expertise and experience of lawyers, paralegals and law librarians. The in searching, to uncover relevant results. While the vast growth of available data adds additional industry has always focused on expanding cover- challenges to the task of identifying the most age of legal information sources, it is ultimately critical and relevant information to a case or the relative ease and accuracy of finding relevant client matter. resources that can generate maximum value for the legal community. Information service pro- With access to activities and data that a lawyer viders are providing options to allow lawyers to manages — including client information, current search more efficiently, but the overall results are matters and ongoing client development opportu- still largely a measure of the lawyer’s inputs. nities — next-generation search algorithms should be able to understand lawyer research require- The industry has operated in a “pay-per-search” ments and automatically parse legal information or flat-rate subscription model, which has forced databases to extract relevant resources. The vast lawyers to be judicious in their use of search. search history and usage patterns available from While large law firms have often negotiated information service players can be leveraged to flat-rate subscriptions to large comprehensive build intelligent search systems that can largely databases, smaller firms and sole practitioners automate much of the tedious research work and have felt the pinch. In many cases, the emphasis present relevant results directly, improving speed, has been on paying for search rather than the accuracy and relevance. results. Attorneys’ clients pay for results, not the process. A similar practice can be adopted in the This white paper explores a scenario for con- legal information search industry, with revenues structing an automated search engine that parses derived from returned results — not the search complex legal information and returns more process. contextually-sensitive and relevant results that can be easily integrated with a law firm’s existing Market trends — such as the rise of alternative fee knowledge management systems and workflows. arrangements and initiatives like the Association cognizant 20-20 insights | september 2011
  • of Corporate Counsel’s Value Challenge — have to become a one-stop shop for not only all cat- forced law firms to find efficiency while not sacri- egories of legal content, but also any content that ficing accuracy and comprehensiveness. As such, can have a bearing on a case. any ability that lawyers have to quickly obtain the most accurate and complete set Truly intelligent search has arrived. Examples Social media, of results is likely to help them include the iSeek capabilities currently in use at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School crowdsourced data meet this efficiency goal and and Wharton Business School, as well as the client needs. and other sources semantic search capabilities of TotalPatent and of information Large law firms have built their other similar solutions.1 Information services own knowledge management consumers expect integration into their workflow,continue to generate databases and have huge such as Jigsaw Data Fusion’s seamless connectionvolume and increase volumes of work products with Salesforce.com and D&B 360’s interoper- complexity. available. Integrating these ability with Microsoft Dynamics. As consumption data sources along with the patterns shift, so does the expectation of infor- public legal sources can maximize the collective mation services providers to provide meaningful knowledge for members of the firm. insights and contextually-rich content that is easily accessed, searched, found and applied. Changing Industry Themes While numerous developments have impacted With the rise of newer players in the market (i.e., information services players, several critical Bloomberg Law) that are seeking to expand their themes have emerged to truly transform the reach through novel pricing models and growing industry: price sensitivity among users, a push toward a pay-per-results model could emerge. Free content • The explosion of complex data. providers such as Google Scholar have also • Changing consumption patterns. impacted pricing and revenue models. With new tools and smart content available, information • Conditions for business model innovation. services providers are able to offer micro-seg- As the sheer volume of data increases, so does mented and localized data on a scale previously data complexity. Consumers of information now not possible. All of these conditions have created see the rapid rise of audio and video not only as opportunities and even mandates for innovative part of multimedia sources but also as a primary business models. means of delivering a variety of content types. As more and more courts digitize, some are going Collectively, these trends make clear the need a step further. For example, the Illinois State for information services providers to innovate on Supreme Court has eliminated their core search platforms and provide additional Leveraging search print records of its cases, value-adds for the legal industry. history, information fully digitizing them butaudio providing near-real-time also A New Look at Search search providers and visual feeds of court pro- The current search model involves lawyers who can start analyzing ceedings. Social media, crowd- use their intellectual capacity to determine appro-how lawyers actually sourced data and other sources of information continue to priate keywords and specifying filters. Results are determined through strict keyword matching search to build generate volume and increase and use of synonyms. Leveraging search history,artificial intelligence complexity. information search providers can start analyzing how lawyers actually search to build artificialtools for constructing Consumption patterns con- intelligence tools for constructing queries based queries based on tinue to evolve, even beyond on cases on which a lawyer is currently working. cases on which a the obvious impact that mobile devices have had on the indus- Factors such as the metadata for the case and lawyer is currently try. Users are increasingly com- the position of the lawyer, along with the stage working. fortable with content formats of the proceedings, can be used to determine other than text alone. User- the lawyer’s research objective. Search engines generated content, audio, video and podcasts are translate this objective into a search query, now considered relevant sources of information. which can be run against the legal information Many users expect information services providers database. cognizant 20-20 insights 2
  • Search Model involves analyzing the pleadings to understand the legal issue. A case keyword list is generatedBuilding the Search Framework by running the legal search ontology against theBy analyzing search queries run by lawyers, as case documents to uncover keywords related to awell as using standard dictionaries, it is possible specific case. The output will form the backboneto build a legal search ontology (see Figure 1). The of context. For example, for patent-related cases,following dictionaries can be utilized to do this: the presence and absence of keywords typically associated with “patents” will• Legal terminology dictionary (a dictionary of be checked to form context legal terminologies that also shows similar and Deriving context (i.e., violation of patent, inappropriate licensing fees, involves analyzing related legal terms).• Practice-specific dictionaries. objection to granting of the pleadings to• Industry-specific ontologies. patent, etc.). Product line understand the and litigant involvement can• Keyword dictionary based on keywords used in be generalized to enhance legal issue. search. context by using attributes• Corporate and legal directory showing major such as industry and category of litigant (multi- corporations, legal firms, etc. national, government organization, small firm, individual, etc.). This will aid in finding resourcesSearch Query Pattern relevant to this case category.Search queries of successful searches can beanalyzed to discover patterns for searches across Metadata for each case will contain context andvarious case types (see Figure 2). Patterns would case information, such as case type, jurisdiction,cover the usage of filters like jurisdiction, date industry, litigants, attorney, judges and stage ofrange, litigants, Boolean operators used between proceeding, along with keywords derived.keywords and type of keywords used. Search ProcessDeriving Context Sensitivity Building the Search QueryTo understand what a lawyer requires in his The purpose of search entails:research, the system should be capable of iden- • Identifying resources that are related to thetifying the context of any case. Deriving context context of the case.Building a Legal Search Ontology Common keywords from search history Legal terminology Practice-specific dictionaries Build legal search ontology Industry ontologies Corporate and law firm directory Metadata creation Tag content Legal content Smart contentFigure 1 cognizant 20-20 insights 3
  • Using Pattern Recognition to Optimize Search Query Results Smart content Analysis of Analyze usage of filters, successful Boolean operators Generate search searches used in search query patterns Search and results viewed hsitory Run automated search query Build search query Smart based on metadata Compare Update search content and tags for sample result sets query patterns legal resource Run searches in which this resource featured as result Search and results viewed historyFigure 2• Uncovering information related to litigants mining which results presented in the search are involved in the case. selected, etc.).• Discovering trends with potential ramifications. Similar ResultsWhen a lawyer indicates the case being worked By leveraging user history, it is possible to identifyon, the system generates multiple search queries results that are similar in nature but do not meetto address various categories of search. Metadata the search criteria. When two or more results fromfrom the case, including context, will form the a search are viewed, there is a high possibilitybuilding blocks of the search query. The search that the results are related. By combing throughquery will be formed by arranging these blocks the result view history, it is possible to identifyin a suitable pattern, with a relevance score groups of resources that reveal a high degreeformula set based on search pattern history. This of similarity based on user perception. If one ofsearch query will be run against the database to the results matches the search criteria, there is adetermine results. The scoring formula will assign strong likelihood that other similar resources mayweights to various parameters based on how be relevant. By presenting these resources as a,relevant they are to the search. “You may be interested in these results” section, the lawyer is provided a broader range of poten-Resources matching the case context are tially relevant search findings.considered most relevant. “Keyword matching”search results will be ranked at a lower priority. Fine-tuning for Optimal ResultsKeywords still need to be considered to ensure no In case of searches that generate very few or norelevant results are missed even though they may results, the search query may need to be modifiednot match the exact context. A wider interpreta- to generate results that are of lower relevance.tion is required for trends. Search results will be Options include broadening date ranges, jurisdic-classified into various categories during display tions, industries involved and more lenient con-to allow the lawyer to quickly drill down to what sideration of keywords.is required. Display of ResultsThis system learns how best to search by continu- Display results clustered around various viewsously updating patterns based on user behavior (filters) — source, industry, litigant, jurisdiction,(e.g., modification of the query by the user, deter- date range, etc. — will lead to better organiza- cognizant 20-20 insights 4
  • tion of results. Selecting a particular view will Modification of Search by the Lawyerallow the lawyer to drill down into the results. If a lawyer is not satisfied with the search runAdditional relevant resources that cover profiles, by the system, he can view the query run by theanalytics, public records, etc. can be shown in a system and modify it. Thesesidebar to deliver complete coverage. Integration modifications will be stored Color-codingof “similar results” and relevant work products by the system and used tofrom the firm’s knowledge management system, refine its search algorithm. schemes can bewhen possible, will deliver comprehensive results Lawyers can also view options used to indicateand ensure tighter integration of research with to set preferences for searches whether a result hasinternal work products. Leveraging other online generated. They can specifylitigation products can display filings made by the which parameters to strictly already been viewedfirm, enabling additional productivity and effec- ensure, which to ignore, as by the lawyer ortiveness. well as relative relevancies and another colleague, threshold relevancies. They can also customize the views as well as previousColor coding of results can further help lawyersselect what is most important to them. Color-coding schemes can be used to indicate whether to match their priorities. involvement ofa result has already been viewed by the lawyer Extension of Search the law firm or itsor another colleague, as well as previous involve- Proactive Search client and whetherment of the law firm or its client and whether theresult has been recently modified. Lawyers are willing to pay the result has been a premium for timeliness of recently modified.Lawyers can also set alerts for any view displayed critical information and accessin the results page to allow for more timely and to high-value expert content. Legal informa-effective change tracking. tion services providers typically tend to provideAutomated Search Process Anticipate lawyer’s interest from client list, current matters and client development opportunities Dockets Determine research context Publications Retrieve user preferences Industry News Search Build search queries Content enrichment, Articles including tagging and Law firm metadata creation Legal knowledge Score results information management on relevance Citations repository system Generate clusters from results Profiles Analysis Additional resources like analysis, Social Media similar resources Reports/profiles Court recordings, including audio/video Display results Log results viewed Usage database Fine-tune search algorithmFigure 3 cognizant 20-20 insights 5
  • alerts on a daily basis, summarizing all the key Litigation Workflow Platform changes that a lawyer wants to keep abreast of. The search platform can be extended beyond the Newer players, such as Law360, are addressing traditional research space to cover other areas of this gap by providing near-real-time alerts and the legal value chain. Integration with online filing expert opinion.2 However, they still rely on lawyers systems can help lawyers quickly retrieve work explicitly configuring the system to follow alerts. products from their firm with a strong bearing to the motion currently being filed. The platform can The intelligent search system can be used to also be extended to help people who are searching proactively find information that is relevant to for a lawyer. Based on the keywords and other the lawyer. By knowing which cases a lawyer is details entered, the system can retrieve a list currently working on, as well of lawyers who have worked on similar types of Proactive search is as the lawyer’s long-term issues by searching for cases with similar context an ideal opportunity clients, the system can search and extracting lawyer names from the metadata. for new and interesting devel- It can also show resources such as lawyer profiles,to highlight the value opments and deliver them in which can help users make smarter decisions on of paid content. By the form of real-time alerts. hiring lawyers and verdicts for similar cases to providing relevant A customizable home page analyze the possibility of winning cases. free content and that makes relevant content New Social Sources of Content abstracts of paid collections easily accessible The proliferation of user-generated content, provides a valuable service content, the legal to lawyers by keeping them videos and social media is challenging the currentinformation industry up to date with the latest legal research system. Most of these new sources of content can help lawyers gauge public percep-can target upgrading happenings. Based on user- tions that can help them win over juries, such as stated information and of customers. usage patterns, the page video proceedings of court activities that can help them analyze nuances such as non-verbal could emphasize different communications. Given that Twitter, Facebook resources to solo practitioners, for example, than and other social media postings may become vital for a litigator at a large firm. The legal informa- evidence in many categories of cases (e.g. dis- tion industry divides content into “paid” and crimination actions), lawyers need to be aware of “free” categories. For long-term growth, infor- such postings made by their clients or opposing mation services providers need to increase the parties. conversion rate of free content consumers to paid content consumers. Proactive search is an ideal The current challenge is how to help legal profes- opportunity to highlight the value of paid content. sionals easily discover such information. Much By providing relevant free content and abstracts of this content is fragmented across the Internet of paid content, the legal information industry with very little value-add in terms of making it can target upgrading of customers. discoverable and easier to analyze. Feeding these sources of information into the context-based Educational publishers give students the option to search framework will enable the co-mingling of buy portions of content that are tailored to their new, relevant multimedia content alongside tra- needs. Licensing rights also include access to ditional sources of legal information, providing a content that they own in perpetuity or for a specific one-stop research solution. duration of time (i.e., a semester). Similarly, rights to content assets can be made available through Collaborative Search bundles or collections that are convenient to the Search results and alerts can be used to populate end user. Proactive search can enable creation research repositories for various contexts. These of such bundles that will be available for specific repositories can be shared with colleagues, periods of time (e.g., duration of a trial). allowing them to view results, suggest new sources for the repository and add comments. Reposito- Proactive search is also an ideal way to consume ries allow for the tracking of who has viewed and research when using smartphones and tablets. downloaded results and also partitioning results This reduces the need for users to physically type into subsets that can be reviewed by different keywords and search; instead, they only need to members of the team. A colleague can also follow navigate through returned research content. a repository via alerts that are sent to subscribers cognizant 20-20 insights 6
  • when new results are added. Repositories can be performed. A second shift is now on the horizonstored in the firm’s own knowledge management in which the medium of consuming researchsystems or service provider’s cloud infrastruc- will expand from PCs to encompass alternateture, allowing easy access from any device. electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets and e-book readers. The legal search industryLawyers can share abstracts of user-generated needs to address content dis-content and other results from the repository tribution and accessibility lim- Better valuewith acquaintances in their professional network itations of their products toto get advice on source reliability. Unreliable ensure an optimal experience propositions suchresults can be discarded from the repository. across electronic devices. as pay-per-resultUser-generated ratings can be used to guide therelevance of results. Integration Across and assistance in Litigation Products discovery of relevantFuture of Work results can improve Large legal information ser-For a long time, legal research products havebeen targeted for legal professionals, government vices players like LexisNexis conversion rates. and WestLaw also developinstitutions and law schools, and the products other products targeted at lawyers (e.g. case man-have been developed in silos, away from other agement and analysis, CRM and practice manage-tools used by the legal profession. Legal search ment tools). However, development is often con-needs to be better integrated with other aspects ducted in silos and provides limited opportunitiesof lawyers’ and other legal professionals’ daily for collaboration among lawyers.tasks and also address the needs of non-profes-sional users. Ideally, a single-sign-in, cloud-based solution that provides access to various tools and ensuresThe Non-Legal Community maximum integration of research and case dataThe “do-it-yourself” trend is invading the legal with litigation tools will benefit lawyers the mostspace. Rather than approaching a lawyer at the and also help to attract users and keep them loyalfirst instance of trouble, many people now conduct to one platform.initial research themselves before contacting a Ideally, a single-sign-in, Current examples of collabo-lawyer. To cut costs, many individuals often draft ration services — such as Lexis cloud-based solutiontheir own contracts, wills, etc. rather than usinglawyers. for Microsoft Office, which that provides access combines Outlook, Word and to various tools andMany of these individuals rely on free sources SharePoint — that provide col-of legal information such as Google Scholar and laboration tools and include ensures maximumFastcase. These players offer little value-add but search functionality for integration of researchare often seen as the only affordable sources of desktop and internal docu- and case data withinformation. Incumbent legal information service ment management systemsplayers such as LexisNexis and WestLaw now need to be extended to cover litigation tools willoffer free versions of their search products with the entire litigation platform.3 benefit lawyers thelimited functionality and content. However, they Personalization most and also helphave had limited success in converting free usersto their paid products, which is their ultimate aim. Legal search providers need to attract users andBetter value propositions such as pay-per-result to personalize content based keep them loyal to oneand assistance in discovery of relevant results can on stated interests (registra- platform.improve conversion rates. A new intelligent search tion), electronically recordedframework can help them in this regard. Further habits and aggregated data. News needs to beintegration of search with other products — such as available in real-time for lawyers to be aware oflegal form downloads, blogs for expert legal opinion, the latest happenings that can affect their clients.community forums for discussing legal topics and This includes fully customizable U.S., local andlawyer leads — can provide a one-stop solution for other news, along with the latest business andaddressing the needs of this community. professional news covering practice-specific arti- cles, client news, verdicts and noteworthy cases.Legal CommunityDevice Agnosticism Original contentThe shift in research from print to electronic has Search providers need to make available originaldrastically altered the way legal research is being content, apart from acting as information aggre- cognizant 20-20 insights 7
  • gators, to maintain their relevance to lawyers, be an effective way to acquire customers for lim- as well as tackle the growing threat of free legal ited-use sites such as EZ Law that are generally information aggregators. The combination of used only as needs arise. in-house journalism, licensed Addressing Lawyer Concerns Ultimately, search content contentand user-gen- erated feeds can ensure There are always misapprehensions regarding providers must that better information is new technology whenever it is introduced. There engender loyalty by delivered to users. Certified is a high probability that lawyers and librarians offering more utility experts can provide no- or low-cost blog and video blog may be skeptical of the system’s ability to judge what is relevant. To build initial accuracy ofin one place, deriving content. Search providers can system while not compromising the quality of value through social also build online communities results provided to lawyers, such systems should media resources and of legal to each other who can link professionals and debut first in law colleges, where law students can rate the results provided and suggest modi- creating a captive also share discussions, best fications to the search engine. These recommen- base to cross-sell practice tips and network. dations can be used to tune the search system before it is rolled out to a wider audience. This other products and Ultimately, search providers approach may lead to quicker acceptance by the services. must engender loyalty by legal fraternity. offering more utility in one place, deriving value through social media Another issue that can hinder adoption is resources and creating a captive base to cross-sell the legal staff’s perception that their years other products and services. of expertise in research are being rendered obsolete, which might make them resist adoption Free Users of such platforms. Librarians and other legal staff Legal search providers need to convert free users may also feel threatened by automation in their into a loyal and captive audience that becomes traditional research domain. To address these familiar with their brand and frequently returns concerns, search automation can be positioned as through e-mail alerts, newsletters and social a tool that can help legal staff reduce time spent media updates. This well-indexed and constantly in mundane search activities and focus more on refreshed content creates a larger Web presence understanding and analyzing results to generate and search engine optimiza- maximum value. Search automation tion advantage to further Final Arguments promote usage and minimize can be positioned as the reliance on advertis- With the growing advancement of search a tool that can help ing spend to build brand. technology, it is possible to automate large parts of legal research. Leaving the tedious work oflegal staff reduce time Revenue can be derived searching to computer systems allows lawyers to through advertising, pay- spent in mundane per-results and conversion focus on building a strong case. The explosion of search activities to paid services. Frequent complex data makes this capability not only more relevant but also more critical to ensure that and focus more on trial offers can be used as a lawyers arrive at the right answers quickly and promotional tool to provide understanding and partial functionality. efficiently. analyzing results to Leveraging search and usage history can result in Similar user experience for generate maximum paid and non-paid users the construction of more effective search systems value. with more functionality and that anticipate what a lawyer requires and quietly additional access to content work in the background, delivering relevant infor- for paid users needs to be provided. For example, mation directly. a certain number of placeholder content boxes In the future, the entire process of search may, might always be persistent on the screen, even in fact, disappear from a lawyer’s workload. Infor- though the services have not been activated. If mation systems will continuously keep track of users select a content module to which they’re not changes and download relevant information subscribed, there will be a call to action on how to directly to the lawyer’s work folders. subscribe and activate it. Similarly, this may also cognizant 20-20 insights 8
  • About the AuthorAmbika Sagar is an Associate Consultant within Cognizant’s Information, Media and EntertainmentConsulting Practice. She has previously worked at online job search portal Naukri.com, where she focusedon improving the search experience for recruiters. Ambika is an information technology engineer withan MBA in marketing and systems from XLRI School of Business and Human Resources. She can bereached at Ambika.Sagar@cognizant.com.About CognizantCognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process out-sourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered inTeaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industryand business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50delivery centers worldwide and approximately 118,000 employees as of June 30, 2011, Cognizant is a member of theNASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing andfastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant. World Headquarters UK Headquarters India Operations Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. 1 Kingdom Street #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA Paddington Central Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Phone: +1 201 801 0233 London W2 6BD Chennai, 600 096 India Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Ph: +44 207 297 7600 Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 Fax: +44 207 121 0102 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 Email: inquiry@cognizant.com Email: infouk@cognizant.com Email: inquiryindia@cognizant.com© Copyright 2011, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein issubject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.