Unravel | Ravel Law's Blog

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

3 Ways to Increase Law Firm Associate Productivity

By Cory Bray | Jul 23, 2015

Getting to be a law firm associate is no joke. To have beaten the industry odds and get a job as an associate you have to have excelled at law school (preceded by excellence at the undergraduate level) and made it through the bar exam. One of the biggest challenges for law firm management today is to make sure they are maximizing the productivity of these individuals and placing them in a position to continue excelling. A key to succeeding on the job is on-the-job training; in fact this might be one of the most unique aspects of being a law firm associate, as opposed to having a job in another industry. Looking across law firms of various sizes, there are three common threads that emerge which lead to maximum associate success.

Evolve Your Training Protocol

Topics: Legal Research

Out with Judge Anecdotes, in with Judge Analytics

By Cory Bray | Jul 16, 2015

Michael, a partner at a large law firm, feels his smartphone vibrate. He opens up the message titled “Judge Williams?” and notices that the entire 180-person litigation department is copied. He thinks, “That email just took me one minute to read. At a bill rate of $500 per person per hour, that one email just cost our firm $1,500 in nonbillable work…assuming I’m not the only one who ignored it.”

Topics: Judge Analytics

3 Key Questions Every Litigator Should Ask About Their Judge

By Cory Bray | Jul 7, 2015

thinking_judgeA good lawyer knows the law, but a great lawyer knows the judge. To help you move from a good to great lawyer, make sure that the next time you deal with a judge, you know these details about them.

What has my judge authored?

Topics: Judge Analytics

Step One: Apply Modern Technology Step Two: Earn Bonus on way to Happy Hour

By Kerry Kassam | Apr 30, 2015

Ravel-meme

Good-looking, right? Though David Lat was talking about Ravel founder Daniel Lewis, recently honored as one of Forbes’s 30 under 30 for law and policy, the flattery suits Ravel’s Stanford-designed interface even more aptly. Said Lat: “If you’re not familiar with Ravel, you should be.”

Don't File That Brief! The One Thing You Must Check Before Submitting

By Kerry Kassam | Apr 14, 2015

You stumble upon a fellow associate who had a disastrous motion hearing and a few drinks, in that order, now searching for his lost house key beneath a streetlamp. Helping your compatriot, you crawl the sidewalk with him until he mentions he heard it clink loudly as it dropped—a mile down the foggy road. So why is he looking here? Your inebriated colleague responds:judge-finger-wagging-pointing-300x449

Well, counselor, it’s much easier to see under this streetlight.”1

Topics: Legal Research, Big Data in Law, Data Visualization

7 Rising Star Judges You Want To Clerk For

By Kerry Kassam | Apr 7, 2015

A judicial clerkship can be a major launching pad for your career in the law. By clerking for the right judge, you can build expertise, win a prestigious, high-paying job afterwards, and also develop a life-long mentor who can help you along. But not all clerkships will provide the same experience, so it’s important to do your research. How do you find judges who will check all of those boxes? And, once you’ve found them, how do you win one of their highly competitive clerkships?James-E-Boasberg-Judge-Jeb-Boasberg

Topics: Clerk, Judges, Judge Analytics