15 July 2020

Interview with Carla Rydholm about Lex Machina´s new COVID-19 App

Carla Rydholm, Director of Product Management at Lex Machina, responds to The Impact Lawyers´ questions regarding the new COVID-19 Impact Analyzer App they have launched in June in order to track the litigation impact of the COVID-19 crisis.  

First of all, could you explain me a bit about Lex Machina in general? How was the company founded, what are the main services, who are your clients? 

Lex Machina's goal is to bring legal analytics to all areas of the law and to equip our customers with litigation data to drive decision making when counseling a client or seeking to win new business. The company spun out of Stanford after being a public interest project. The main services are a subscription-based website that clients access to get analytics on cases like theirs. Lex Machina collects, improves and presents searchable data for nearly 2 million cases in federal district court and 1.3 million cases in state courts.  

Our clients are law firms and corporations. We also maintain a public interest program. 

How did you come up with the idea of the new COVID-19 Impact Analyzer App? 

We knew that the legal community was wondering what was going on in the courts given the social & economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. With such a fluid situation, we thought that giving easy access to data on filing trends, court activity and new cases related to COVID-19 was a meaningful contribution to make as a legal analytics company. 

What is its purpose? 

The App helps users analyze the impact of COVID-19 on the federal district court system. 

Who are the main users of the app? 

Anyone interested in what's happening with the US court system. The general public may access the app from this page: https://lexmachina.com/legal-analytics-apps/ 

How do you obtain the data? 

We collect all new cases filed and classify them by practice area using proprietary algorithms that are applied over documents (e.g. Complaints). Our legal data team analyzes high value practice-area specific findings (e.g. ruling on summary judgment, trial) and verifies what happens in each case that is decided on the merits. 

What are some key findings provided through the analysis of the data? 

Filings have been down overall from March through June but it varies by practice area. Insurance and securities filings, for example, have consistently been up. 

Court activity has been consistently down. 

Complaints citing COVID-19 keywords increased rapidly in March and April, peaked in May, and then dipped and plateaued in June. 

To sum up, what is the impact of COVID-19 on Federal Litigation? 

Some practice areas are seeing an overall increase (insurance, securities) driven by claims on business interruption (insurance) and public disclosures during a fluid and unpredictable time. 

Is it planned that the COVID app expands to other court orders in the US? 

We are tracking what happens in federal court cases and aim to present the most meaningful data to users. We don't have specific plans right now on how the COVID app will change but plan to evolve the app based on user feedback.   

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