November 2018 Business Meeting Roundup at The Berghoff

 The meeting was held on the Berghoff, 17 W. Adams St., Chicago, IL 60603 on November 8, 2018.

CALL president Joe Mitzenmacher opened the meeting at 12:00 p.m. There were 90 CALL members in attendance, including three new members: Angela Arroyo, Foley & Lardner LLP, Kelsey Cox, student member, and Leslie Strauss, DuPage County Law Library.

CALL vice-president Jessie LeMar introduced and thanked the meeting sponsors, Ellen Ryan and Tami Carson from Thomson Reuters. Ellen spoke very briefly about Westlaw’s latest enhancement, Westlaw Edge and it is enhanced search functions and enhance litigation analytics.

Next, Jessie introduced the meeting’s speaker Fastcase’s Ed Walters. Walters just published a book on data driven law called Data Analytics and the New Legal Services. Walters’ presentation to CALL was about data analytics and Fastcase’s analytics capabilities.

He framed his discussion around cartography and travel. In antiquity before good maps travel was rare and if one were traveling a navigator would be hired. Over time navigators began to record travels aggregating maps, which became strategic assets. For example, kings would horde them and in the modern context Churchill’s war room was kept top secret, primarily because of the maps. Over time maps become democratized when they were printed and made available to everyone, and in modern times maps have become even more sophisticated and accessible. Photos for maps are taken from the air by pigeons, satellites, and drones, or information is collected in real time with apps like Waze. Due to the innovations from map design and dissemination to travelers, the act of travel is now less risky and more affordable.

Walters’s stated that the map/travel analogy is applicable to the legal landscape: lawyers are the navigators and clients are the traveler. Clients are no longer content with the “it depends” answer. Before making a decision about how to proceed with a legal matter clients want to know: How much will the matter cost? Will I win? How much should I offer in settlement? In the past, lawyers typically answered these questions based on their past experience or on hunches. This approach to law is like traveling without a map, making legal services risky and expensive. Through analytics this approach is no longer necessary. Lawyers can now answer data driven questions with data driven answers because data analytics (just like maps) lay out the most accurate and predictable choices and outcomes available.

Extending the metaphor, Walters’ used a docket sheet as an example of a “Map of the Case”.  As such, once many docket sheets get aggregated you start to see really interesting information. Fastcase has a docket aggregating tool called Docket Alarm that maps docket information, which can be mined to help build business and firm management tools since more information is now available: you can see who is doing what, what arguments are working, and who is winning.

Walters believes that the legal landscape is changing and analytics will transition from “nice to have” to “need to have”. He also believes that legal analytics will live in the law library, and the library will become the map room for firms.

At the conclusion of the presentation, members had several questions:

Q: Do you know of a case where a firm used analytics to drop a case?

A: This tends to be confidential but it happens. Probably happens with settlements.

Q: Who are the new cartographers in this era?

A: It’s information professionals, for the most part not data scientists. AI sandbox is training these skills and competencies within law firms.

Q: What’s the impetus for a court to move into the brave new world?

A: We hope it is generational. The old school clerks are retiring.  Or, shame because courts need to get with the times.

Q: Can algorithms determine outcomes that have to be hand coded in the past?

A: Fastcase has an analytics workbench that does this. You can run all sorts of reports and customize them.

Q: What skills do law students need to have use analytics?

A: Curiosity. Never stop asking hard questions.

Q: How do you run the search?

A: It is different for everything that you are doing. You can build a search based on what you need for a particular research problem. It is a multi-stage process but not like computer programming.

After the presentation, several committees made announcements:

  1. Community Service (Nan Norton):

The committee was collecting for Safe Haven in honor of Veteran’s Day. Collection canisters were on the tables, in kind donations and online donations were also welcome.

  1. Mentorship & Leadership Development (Lindsey Carpino):

The committee introduced its new page on the CALL website and reminded members, if they are interested they should fill out a mentor/mentee application form.

  1. Grants & Chapter Awards (Clare Willis)

The committee reminded the membership that grants were available to attend conferences and continuing education events.

  1. Continuing Education (Tom Keefe)

The committee announced that it will be hosting an introduction to securities webinar.

  1. Bulletin (Matt Timko)

The committee announced that it was looking for content for the Winter edition of the Bulletin.

  1. Government Relations Committee (Sarah Sherman)

The committee reminded the membership that AALL was hosting a webinar on the incoming Congress. The committee was also looking for more people to join the committee.

  1. CALL Listserv Reminder (Jessie Bowman)

Jessie announced that the old listserv was no longer active.

  1. Nominations & Elections (Todd Ito)

Todd announced the slate for the 2019 election. The candidates were: Vice President Lindsey Carpino and Matt Timko, Secretary Todd Hillmer and Philip Johnson, Directors Sarah Andeen and Megan Butman.

Then, Eric Parker announced the vote for the proposed amendments to the Bylaws. The membership needed to vote to put the Bylaws change proposal on the ballot. The proposal is to eliminate the associate member and eliminate the rule that to be a retired member you had to be a CALL member for 10 years. Eugene Guidice moved to vote. Clare Willis seconded the motion.  The membership voted unanimously to make the change and the measure will move to the ballot.

The meeting ended with the door prize sponsored by LexisNexis.  Matt Timko and Keith Ann Stiverson were the winners.