Unravel | Ravel Law's Blog

How to Improve your Legal Research

By Raveler | Feb 3, 2016

Getting stuck with your legal research and need a quick refresher (but don't have the time)? Check out this video by Ravel CEO and co-founder Daniel Lewis to help you kick start your legal research process. 

Topics: Legal Research, Legal Analytics, Big Data in Law, how to

UnRavel Making a Murderer

By Raveler | Jan 26, 2016

There are two types of people in the world: people who are obsessed with Netflix’s Making a Murderer, and people who haven’t seen it. Admittedly the latter are few and far between as Netflix has successfully grabbed the attention of virtually every young lawyer in the country. Making a Murderer has created media frenzy regarding Steven Avery’s guilt (or otherwise). Regardless of which side you come out, the documentary puts a valid spotlight on the inequities of the American legal system.

The cases against Avery and Dassey are merely a microcosm of a much larger problem that plagues the legal system - access to information and understanding of that information (click to read the Avery and Dassey court decisions on Ravel). Information asymmetry and limited access to resources hurts the American public and our profession at large.

Topics: Legal News, Public Access, Making a Murderer

California Case Law Now Live

By Daniel Lewis | Jan 20, 2016

We just took a big step forward in making the law freely and easily available.

Starting today, as part of the Harvard-Ravel digitization project, the comprehensive, authoritative collection of California case law is available online at Ravel. For the first time, anyone can search and read all California court opinions for free, including landmark rulings on every topic, from same-sex marriage (In re Marriage Cases, 2008) to separation of powers (Houston v. Williams, 1859). Each case is accompanied by a high-quality scan of the original book in which it was published, providing an authentic version that can not be found anywhere else but Ravel.

Topics: Legal Research, Legal News, Public Access, Harvard Law School, Harvard Law Library

Making America's Laws Free and Open

By Daniel Lewis | Oct 29, 2015

For too long, our country’s court records have been closed off to public access. They’ve been unreachable behind paywalls, locked up in archives, and left behind as books in a world that’s gone digital. Today we are announcing that we’ve teamed up with Harvard Law School and launched the “Free the Law” project to change that. Together with Harvard, we will make America’s court opinions available online, for free, to anyone in the world.

Topics: Legal Research, Public Access, Harvard Law School, Harvard Law Library

3 Ways to Increase Your Legal Analytics Budget and Look Like a Hero

By Kerry Kassam | Sep 10, 2015

At first thought, requesting a budget increase doesn’t sound like a great idea. There are risks involved, and rocking the boat can disrupt the traditional structure of managing and rewarding individuals for their ability to work within a set budget. Great managers, however, understand the bigger picture and know that increasing their budget is often a necessity to achieve great gains (that outweigh this increase!) for their firm. When is the last time you heard of a company or law firm failing despite being able to tightly manage their budget? Answer: all too often. When is the last time you heard of a company or law firm failing due to their dedication to being forward thinking and innovative? Answer: all but never.

Topics: Legal Analytics

How Much Does Legal Research Software Actually Cost?

By Cory Bray | Sep 2, 2015

It’s commonplace in today’s fast paced world to make impulse decisions with limited analysis. In status quo situations these impulse decisions are fine - you often have a right sense of correct and incorrect because it is intuitive. This decision making methodology can be dangerous though when applied against innovative technologies. Innovation is by definition not intuitive. People on the front lines evaluating legal research software typically look at monthly or annual cost of a tool and immediately react with “Wow that’s expensive” or “I don’t have room in the budget for this.” The issue with this decision making methodology is a decision will be made before a proper holistic analysis has been done or cost-benefit has been thought through.

Topics: Legal Research, Legal Analytics

10 Sources of Legal Research Inefficiency

By Kerry Kassam | Aug 27, 2015

LegalTechAudit.com recently found that lawyers at 0 out of 9 law firms could pass basic Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF tests. It’s easy to see the direct correlation between loss of efficiency and inability to properly use these basic, standard tools. The interesting nuance is, compared to everyday legal research tools, Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF are incredibly simple. All lawyers recognize that legal research is time-consuming and often frustrating and inefficient. Take a look at our top 10 sources of legal research inefficiency and see how well they resonate with you.

Topics: Legal Research

3 Ways to Decrease Non-Billable Hours for Litigation Associates

By Kerry Kassam | Aug 19, 2015

Every hour that isn’t billed is painful. Not only does it result in a loss of pure profit, but it also keeps associates further from their annual billing targets. It’s a lose-lose, for partners and associates. There are 3 key ways we see that litigation associates can decrease non-billables.

Topics: Legal Research

How to Ask Law Firm Management for a Research Budget Increase

By Cory Bray | Aug 10, 2015

Recently, a new employee started on a Monday morning, and by Friday afternoon she had asked for $300/month in new software. Though skeptical colleagues balked at the brazen request from a new employee, I signed the check. Compared to the salary and overhead of an additional employee we planned to hire, this cost was tiny. The tools would multiply her productivity and decrease my total outlay. After reviewing the business value proposition, it became obvious that these products would drastically increase efficiency. A difficult purchasing decision became easy.

Topics: Legal Research, Legal Analytics

3 Ways Attorneys Use Data Visualization to Improve Legal Research

By Kerry Kassam | Aug 4, 2015

Imagine you’re on a cross-country road trip, and instead of navigating with a map, navigational choices include only the following options:

  1. An alphabetical list of cities near your route;

  2. A list of cities near your route, sorted by population; and

  3. Either of the lists above, plus basic filtering options (distance, city size, etc.)

You’d probably cancel your trip with that kind of navigational system. Though each of these pieces of information are extremely important, in isolation their utility is limited. This is exactly the problem with legal research today. To improve the legal research process, we’re big fans of using data visualization. Data visualization allows you to: (1) better understand the legal landscape, (2) mitigate the risk of missing a diamond in the haystack, and (3) improve your personal efficiency.

Topics: Legal Research, Data Visualization