The traditional platforms like Westlaw and Lexis governed the way many of us learned to do legal research. We were taught in law school to start with broad searches and systematically narrow them down, inefficiently navigating an upside-down research pyramid. Not surprisingly, that approach was heavily dependent on using the legacy platforms’ proprietary materials. “Good” legal research began by reviewing secondary sources such as treatments and restatements to build a foundation. Only then could you transition to the primary authority such as statutes and regulations that you would actually cite to a court. To complete your research you were taught to rely on human editors to retrieve static categories of cases indexed according to the editors’ logic, not your query. It was--and remains--a time consuming and tedious process.
The ROSS artificial intelligence legal research platform flips the hidebound “general to specific” inverted research pyramid. Unlike legacy systems, ROSS takes you directly to the best cases to support your argument. ROSS ranking and retrieval algorithms replace the curation function of secondary sources to provide you with the correct universe of relevant cases in response to your first natural language query. The system is also dynamically indexed to respond to your research queries rather than relying on an inflexible cadre of human editors. Once you have reviewed the most relevant cases you can then expand your search if you need more context. The result is far more productive research that your clients won’t hesitate to pay for.
In the dark ages before ROSS applied natural language processing and machine learning to legal research, secondary sources provided a necessary curation function. But the selection of cases and scope of the commentaries weren’t tailored to your research. That’s why secondary sources form the broad base of the research pyramid. Secondary sources also lag behind the development of the law. By the time a treatise has been updated it is often already obsolete, especially in the many areas in which the law is evolving quickly.
ROSS eliminates the need for human authors to assemble groups of cases that are relevant to a static topic and obviates the need for commentaries that weave cases into very general themes. The ROSS algorithms use context and syntax to improve the curation function. Our system performs the broad base of legal research automatically by immediately retrieving and ranking cases that are responsive to subjects that you’ve selected to advance your research. That process narrows the research funnel sharply before you’ve read the first case. You can draw your own conclusions without relying on dusty dated commentaries.
The broad approach to research was also necessary—and still is on traditional platforms—because you had to weed through many irrelevant decisions to be confident that the keywords you entered had effectively identified the complete universe of controlling law on a specific topic. Even in your areas of expertise, traditional systems make it impossible to confidently skip more general cases and go directly to the most relevant.
Unlike those traditional keyword searches, the ROSS machine learning algorithms retrieve the decisions that are most relevant to your query and then ranks those cases so that the first decisions you see you are directly on point. You get to the narrow end of the research pyramid first. You can be confident that ROSS AI has already reviewed the relevant universe of law. No need to lay awake at 3:00 a.m. worrying about what you might have missed on other systems.
ROSS completely flips the hoary inverted pyramid by eliminating the need for human editors to create static indices like West’s KeyCite categories. ROSS artificial intelligence uses its machine learning capabilities to retrieve cases that correspond to the query you’ve selected. That’s more efficient, accurate and comprehensive than relying on cases grouped into categories created 100 years ago by West editors with huge bushy sideburns.
We’re certain that if you try ROSS you’ll see how quickly you’ll add value to your client relationships--and increase your realization rates--by turning legal research on its head. You can try ROSS free for 14 days. Then let us know what you think. We love to hear from lawyers about how our state of the art system has improved their practices.
Charlie von Simson is a legal subject matter expert at ROSS. He practiced law for twenty years before running away to join a startup.