Unravel | Ravel Law's Blog

Now Online: All Massachusetts and Delaware Caselaw

The court opinions of Massachusetts and Delaware just became more digital. For the first time ever, the comprehensive collections of caselaw in the two states are now online via Ravel, and freely available to anyone with an Internet connection.

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Thank You to AALL for Awarding Ravel Best New Product of 2016

As a company founded by lawyers, we developed Judge Analytics to answer questions we and our peers had in practice: What factors do judges consider in making a ruling? How do they rule on particular motion types, and why? What language influences judges and what cases do they consider the most persuasive? In short, we created Judge Analytics to deliver those insights with hard data. 

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The Ice Palace Guards (Here's to the Legal Archivists)

They protect our future by guarding our past from fires and floods. From hell and high water. And most frequently, from apes with chisels and hammers.

I attended a fantastic presentation about archive digitization at SEAALL/SWALL’s annual conference this month, themed Big D: Data, Discovery, and Dicta. Erik Beck of Colorado Law described how archivists protect digitized treasures, from moving a laptop upstairs to save research from a 2013 campus flood to dispersing digital files in different formats across multiple continents. He compared in partial jest patrons in the library to apes with hammers and chisels in an ice palace who might either  “carve crystal swans... or shatter your ice table.” Beck honed in on the importance of making resources available for doing great things, while protecting unique material from injury and tampering. For our part, Ravel and Harvard Law Library are collaborating to preserve American case law by digitizing the school’s corpus of case law for free access worldwide, and storing physical backups in a salt mine in rural Utah where primates can’t get to them. Great archivists are innovating constantly to protect big data, and daydream about ideas like using cloud storage hosted in dispersed and isolated electrical grids to keep irreplaceable information safe. The contiguous United States has two major and one minor electrical “interconnections”; as Beck described them, there’s East, West, and Texas.

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New York Case Law: Digitized and Analyzed

In our digital age, data is an essential currency. Government at all levels, from local municipalities to the White House, has started to recognize the opportunities that come when open, machine-readable data is the default for government information.

Still stuck in an analog age, however, is the judicial branch. Legal materials largely remain locked behind expensive paywalls or archived in books gathering dust. Our collaboration with Harvard Law School is changing that, and we’re taking the next step in making the law open and accessible to all.

Starting today, for the first time ever, the comprehensive, authoritative collection of New York case law is now digitized and available to anyone with an internet connection. Everyone can search and read all of New York’s cases for free, including milestone cases like Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad, which greatly influenced the development of American common law on negligence and torts. Using our visualizations, anyone can explore a case map to identify key cases and trace the evolution of legal topics, taking the guesswork out of research.

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The Law School with the Most Influence Will Surprise You

Forget Yale and Harvard as the training grounds for future judges. It turns out that Michigan Law has the most concentrated impact on national jurisprudence. Surprised? So were we.

In Ravel’s new power ranking of law schools based on which schools turn out influential judges, Michigan Law tops the list. Instead of looking just at the number of judges a school graduated, we used a new data analysis to rank judges based on both quantity and quality of their work, and then we connected that analysis to where the most influential judges studied.

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