The «Smart Lawyer» project
On 11 May 2017, the French Cour de cassation handed down its decision n° 561 (16-13.669) on which it acknowledged the importance of online services and platforms offering comparative assessments of lawyers and law firms, including through rankings and ratings, for the protection of consumers of legal services. However, the Court also affirmed that such services must ensure a certain level of quality. The lack of reliable information about the quality of legal services delivered by lawyers in the courtroom is a worrying and widespread phenomenon in all jurisdictions across the European Union, but also in other jurisdictions such as the United States and Canada. This project aims to fill this gap by combining legal expertise with data science research.
The goal is to develop a meaningful and reliable measurement tools of legal performance in the courtroom that can help improving access to justice and the quality of legal services, while also helping law firms assess the performance of lawyers and the quality of jurisdictions.
This research project starts from the observation that the expansion and globalisation of legal services contrast sharply with the lack of sophistication of its performance measurement tools and the strong information asymmetry existing between providers and consumers of those services.
Existing performance measures—which include several types of perception and expert-based ratings, indicators and rankings— are generally not appropriate to assess legal services. Setting a collaborative project between lawyers and data scientists to develop trustable and more objective measures would be a leap forward in the field. In terms of output, the project will deliver original data and a proof concept of a rating of legal services in the courtroom, which will be tested and disseminated among market participants.
The key objective of this project is to develop an automatized system of exploitation of case law in France, Belgium and Canada with the purpose of rating the quality and performance of legal services in the courtroom, and in particular lawyers and law firms.
The project will seek to create metrics based mainly on the analysis of court decisions and, where appropriate, on other social network mined data (such as twitter, linked-in and blogs) in the field of administrative and commercial law.
In particular this project will seek:
- to measure the rate of success of lawyers in relation to the field and difficulty of the issue at hand
- to assess their preference or aversion for transactional or alternative dispute resolution methods
- if applicable, to identify the average of damages obtained compared to the damages requested
- to measure their success rate in each jurisdiction and in relation to specific judges