Published September 7, 2016 in the International Business Times
Premonition is an Artificial Intelligence system that mines Big Data to find out which Attorneys win before which Judges. According to the company, “It is a very, very unfair advantage in Litigation.” Premonition’s system can identify top performing Lawyers by win rate, case type, case duration and, most importantly, Judge. The company claims that the Attorney/Judge pairing to be worth 30.7% of case outcome on average. “The old saying that ‘A good lawyer knows the law, but a great one knows the Judge,’ is true,” says Guy Kurlandski, CEO.
The sudden arrival of analytics to law, an industry that traditionally selects Counsel by law firm brand and peer recognition, has not been universally welcomed. “Law has historically been a credence good. This means the market relies on elite credentials and firm reputation as a proxy for skill,” explains Professor William Henderson, of Indiana University Maurer School of Law. To analyze the effectiveness of the traditional approach to attorney selection, Premonition undertook the largest legal study ever conducted in The United Kingdom. It found that a law firm’s choice of Barrister was 38% worse than random. It also found that pricing and performance are weakly correlated, due to the opaqueness of the legal market.
While some view legal analytics to be controversial, Corporate General Counsel see value in Premonition’s ability to select litigators based on actual performance. “Performance transparency is more important than that”, says Nissan Canada General Counsel and Premonition Board Member, Fernando Garcia. “For the first time ever, companies can make true color and gender blind hiring decisions. Women and minorities are under represented in small to medium sized law firms that have traditionally been ignored by major corporations. The era of guesswork is over. Hiring by metrics has arrived.”
Premonition is one of the fastest growing companies in law, though its ambitions stretch far beyond. “We are a ‘Perception/Reality Arbitrage’ firm,” states Premonition’s inventor, Toby Unwin. “We’ve had many clients ask us to add Canada and we’ll soon be rolling out a loss database that can reveal the financial damages and legal fees amounts for any particular case type and subject matter. Cyber security, drones, medical malpractice, etc, we’ll be able to predict losses and outcomes with infinite granularity.”
Premonition raised a seed round of funding in October 2015 at a $100M valuation, among the highest ever. The company will soon be releasing some of its preliminary Canadian studies and is interviewing candidates to head up Premonition Canada. Premonition has expressed interest in Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands as further targets for expansion.