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Legal research on the shoulders of giants.

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Annie Kadavy@akad · VC, CRV
thanks @razvanr for posting this! @rrhoover do we have the founders of casetext on here? i am fascinated by companies disrupting the legal system... of the 3 major pillars of "work" from literally thousands of years ago - business/commerce, medicine, and law - legal is the last to be touched or transformed by technology. it's actually amazing to watch how lawyers STILL use fax machines, printers and red pens to mark things up... it is 2014. it seems like the technological transformations happening in the legal space are where healthcare was ~10 years ago and where business/commerce was ~15-20 years ago. a few questions: 1. what is the incentive for people (professors, lawyers, etc) to add annotations? 2. do you plan to get ALL case law on the platform? if so, how do you pry some of what is locked up in LN/WestLaw? 3. if you don't have a full data set, how do you plan to monetize? to law firms or individuals who are perusing themselves? thanks!!
Razvan RomanHunter@razvanr · Cofounder CEO, Two Tap
@anniekadavy great note & perspective, let me pull in the founder in the discussion
Jacob Heller@jacob_heller · CEO, Casetext
@anniekadavy, I absolutley agree that law technologically lags behind the rest of the world by at least 10 years. You can imagine that, as a technologist working at a large law firm, I was persistently frustrated. To answer your questions: 1. Law firms and professors annotate for a variety of incentives, but the most powerful (especially for law firms) is to establish themselves thought leaders in a particular niche to the 100,000 people who research on the site every month. Law firms already collectively publish literally thousands of articles every month on recent cases and developments in the law to demonstrate to present and potential clients that they're apprised of recent developments and can suss out business impact. Hundreds of professors publish blogs and articles where they establish themselves as the leaders in their fields. As a first step, we've collected tens of thousands of these (in part in partnership with and associated them with the cases they discuss (e.g, Now some major law firms are annotating exclusively on us. 2. We are aggressively expanding our database, but the goal in the medium-term won't be to get literally every court document (like the Wyoming small claims court or every family court). We'd rather have 100% of the cases that people are writing and annotating about -- since those are likely the cases that will actually help you research a point of law. When attorneys need no stone overturned, they can turn to WL/LN -- hopefully we'll save them thousands doing research on our site to get the most important questions answered, only turning to the tools that charge per search and per document read when they absolutely must. 3. Our main source of revenue will be (future tense -- right now we're focused on making the free tool as useful as possible) using Casetext as a knowledge management tool for large law firms. The same technology we use to associate articles, blog posts, and client alerts with the cases they discuss will also be used to associate the law firm's internal knowledge (memos, briefs, etc.) with those cases. For law firm attorneys, this means that as they do research, they get to see decades of previous work on the subject produced through the firm directly at their fingertips and in the same workflow they're accustomed to (researching cases and statutes). Better yet, they can use the site's annotating technology to privately collaborate in teams as they do their research -- and that knowledge will be saved forever going forward for future firm researchers touching upon the same body of texts. In a sense, our business model looks a lot like GitHub: a majority of the site's use is public, free, and open-source; and this is how the majority of users will discover and interact with the site. High-need users pay to use the site's functionality in private, shared groups. Happy to answer any more questions about Casetext -- I can go on for days!
Annie Kadavy@akad · VC, CRV
thanks so much @Jacob_Heller!! super helpful. love the idea of knowledge management for law firms - i am not a lawyer myself but from my conversations with many others who are, this is a HUGE problem that needs to be solved. let me know if i can ever be helpful to you - i think what you are doing is very cool. :) thanks also @razvanr for looping him in!