A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… I was an attorney.
Indeed, I devoted most of the 1990s to the practice of law, clerking for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and then litigating for the preeminent Wall Street law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell.
As a young lawyer, most of my billable hours were devoted to legal research and writing. I recall slaving away at my computer, endlessly querying LexisNexis and Westlaw and becoming frustrated with the limitations of crude keyword search and arcane Boolean operators. Indeed, my hack was to spend many days and nights in the library reading cases in printed books to track down the key facts and subtle distinctions that the “computer” could not grasp.
Of course, most of the world of technology has advanced since those dark days. But not legal research. Until now.
Fixing legal research is a major task. To start, it requires a scalable method of extracting meaning from millions of cases, not just adding a more advanced search engine on top of the text.
Judicata is developing an intuitive search technology that groks all of the facets of legal precedent. In a matter of moments, their software helps a lawyer retrieve everything she needs, comprehensively, accurately, and painlessly. By early next year, the team will ship the new tool of choice for California’s 180,000 lawyers.
According to Crunchbase, legal technology attracts fewer investment dollars than any other sector, and perhaps for good reason; the problem is difficult, and most companies are taking incremental approaches. Yet there is a lucrative market awaiting the right team with the right approach: the two industry giants generate over $2 billion annually from their legal research products, and the largest 100 law firms alone generated $70 billion of revenue last year.
Real innovation is possible in legal technology, and it is on the horizon. We at Khosla Ventures are excited to be working with the Judicata team to prove it.