Judicata, a startup based in Silicon Valley, is working on some serious next-level legal research tools. Their site is (intentionally) bare of any details, short of saying that they are trying to “map the legal genome.” What does that mean? They are converting judicial opinions into rules that computers can understand.
I had the privilege of visiting their headquarters recently, and saw a demo of their product. It is pretty cool. First, their algorithms can categorize and parse judicial opinions. The same way a 1L would highlight different portions of a case in different colors (Facts in pink, posture in blue, analysis in green, holding in purple, etc.), their program, with a pretty high accuracy, can automatically pluck out the different portions of an opinion–with minimal human intervention. From there, Judicata is able to extract different legal rules. With the data structure in a machine-readable way, instead of searching for keywords or headnotes, you can drill down based on the specific fact pattern and legal rule you are searching for. I hope that they post a demo sometime soon.
For now, they have raised some serious funding, with another $5.8 million round.
Keep an eye on Judicata.