August 19

Behind the Scenes at the CBA’s “The Pitch”

Canadian Bar Association conference in Ottawa August 12, 2016. | Photo by Blair Gable

At the beginning of May, an interesting email landed in my inbox from Aron Solomon. He was encouraging Loom (along with the rest of the LegalX crowd) to apply for a startup competition sponsored by the Canadian Bar Association.

Fast forward three months and I was standing on stage, about to pitch my legal tech product to a room full of lawyers, VCs, and industry experts. Rap music was blaring. Robotic stage lights were shining behind me. Lawyers in their very best business attire were lounging in stage-side beanbag chairs. Audience members were chowing down on the popcorn thoughtfully provided by the CBA, anticipating a show (and maybe some serious startup drama). There was a luxury car hanging out at the back of the room.* And for one brief moment, I thought, “What did I get myself into?”

When I got Aron’s email, we had been in beta for about three months, and were eager to have a platform to gauge market reaction to our product. So it was with great excitement that we read the June announcement from the CBA that we had been selected as one of the five ‘The Pitch’ finalists from 32 initial submissions. We were in good company, as Beagle, Blue J, Knomos, and Rangefindr made up the rest of the field.

This was the basic concept of The Pitch: Five start-ups, five judges. Seven minutes to pitch, followed by a five-minute question and answer session. And may the best pitcher win.

We had about a month and a half to prep for the competition, and on occasion it involved some seriously comical moments. One day that will definitely go down in Loom Analytics history was when we got an email from the CBA asking us to provide a short video describing our company. The kicker? The deadline was in 48 hours. Not only were we in the middle of trying to meet a product release deadline at the time, but we had exactly zero pre-recorded footage and had to run around looking for an employee with a decent-looking manicure in order to shoot a clip of someone interacting with the product. Then we struggled with trying to dub my voice over a video shoot on a windy day in front of a courthouse in Kingston (this had… mixed results). We got the video in just under the wire — and still had to submit a corrected version the week after.

And in the lead-up to The Pitch, CBA National was publishing interviews with all five companies. My team and I got into a protracted battle about how I should answer the question, “What do you think is the best thing since sliced bread?” I wanted to say ‘Moore’s Law,’ and they adamantly thought I should go with something a little bit cooler. You can check out the interview to see who walked away as the winner of that fight. (Hey, I have an engineering degree! I’m a tech geek. No shame.)

Of course, in the midst of all this prep, we had our noses to the grindstone trying to expand Loom Analytics’ data coverage, introduce a new report, as well as lay the groundwork for new features we’re planning to launch in the near future.

So August 11th, the day of the dry run, came up fast. Really fast. And I think I can speak for the whole team when I say that our reaction upon walking into the boardroom where I was going to pitch was, “…whoa”.

The Pitch dry runTalk about production value.

On the actual day of The Pitch, my family, including my kids, my mother-in-law, and my husband, the co-founder of Loom, were in the audience, along with my management team of Lisa Kadey and Nicole Watts. I was pitching first, as decided by a random draw the night before.

ThePitchDrawThe draw was done by the official ‘The Pitch’ youth representative (aged two).

This was perfect because, I’ll be honest — any position other than first would have had me getting more anxious with each passing presenter. I’ve done plenty of presentations and public events in my time, but not usually while squinting into a rack of Source Four stage lights, and definitely not in front of a panel of judges. When Aron introduced me, I stepped onto stage and was visibly nervous for the first ten seconds. But then something clicked. I was here on stage, with nothing to lose. And then I was comfortable. In fact, it felt like I was back at my desk on a cold call with a C-suite exec of an insurance company telling them what Loom was about. The train had left the station, and all I could do was keep going. Once the seven minutes were up, I could rest easy.

The rest of the presentations were great, and it was nice to be able to sit back and enjoy them knowing that my part was done. When the results were announced, we were absolutely thrilled to take home The People’s Choice award, which was decided on by audience voting. Cian O’Sullivan’s excellent pitch impressed the judges and netted the top prize for Beagle (and we’re sure his mom is proud!). But the event wasn’t just about the awards. If we take a broader view, The Pitch really was a win for the entire Canadian legal tech sector, which in many ways is still in its infancy. It signalled a serious commitment to fostering technological innovation from the country’s largest bar association. Perhaps even more promising, the audience response was extraordinarily enthusiastic and contradicted the still-pervasive stereotype of tech-phobic lawyers.

Canadian Bar Association conference in Ottawa August 12, 2016. Photo by Blair GableCanadian Bar Association conference in Ottawa August 12, 2016. | Photo by Blair Gable

Huge thanks to Aron Solomon, Jason Moyse, and Farah Momen of LegalX and Leslie Lenton of the Canadian Bar Association, who all worked tirelessly to put together a seamless, top-notch event. I hope we get to see a new iteration of The Pitch next year, and I’m excited to see how far the Canadian legal tech industry will progress by next summer.

*(I still want to know why the car was there. Feel free to send me a message if you know.)

June 29

59% of defendants win motions to deem litigation as vexatious in the ONSC

Nuisance claims can be a huge drain on a defendant’s time and resources. Thankfully, Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure provide a few different remedies for dealing with vexatious litigation.  Below is an Outcome Report from the Loom Analytics system that shows how often a defendant who brings a motion to deem litigation as vexatious in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice actually wins that motion (click to see full image). The odds appear to be good, as these motions have historically been successful about 59% of the time.

vexlitigation_outcome

 

We also ran a second report on motions to deem litigants as vexatious (click to see full image). Though this motion is much rarer (motions to deem litigation as vexatious are brought more than six times more frequently), it has an even higher win rate at 68%.

vexlitigant_outcome

 

Below is a video showing how you can run this report yourself using your Loom Analytics account.

All reports and statistics discussed in Loom’s blog posts have been run on Loom Analytics using decisions that are available on CanLII.  If you would like to run these reports or customize them further to fit your parameters, please visit http://www.loomanalytics.com.

June 23

54% of plaintiffs win at trial in Wrongful Dismissal suits in the ONSC

Last month, the OCA decided in favor of the plaintiff in a major wrongful dismissal lawsuit brought by an employee of Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. To get a sense of how courts have ruled in the past on similar cases, we ran an Outcome Report in the Loom Analytics system to see the outcomes of wrongful dismissal cases that were brought to trial in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (click to see full image).

wrongfuldismissaltrialoutcomes

Below is a video showing how you can run this report yourself using your Loom Analytics account.

All reports and statistics discussed in Loom’s blog posts have been run on Loom Analytics using decisions that are available on CanLII.  If you would like to run these reports or customize them further to fit your parameters, please visit http://www.loomanalytics.com.

June 22

Ontario Superior Court of Justice: How We Chose Our Starting Point

Loom’s goal is to give our users the flexibility to slice and dice legal data in as many different ways as possible. However, finding structure in unstructured data isn’t always easy. Below, Loom’s Data Manager, Nicole Watts, describes the process of choosing our data sources and the early challenges we faced when deciding how to structure the Loom database.

Canadians are lucky to live in a country where there is a strong, nation-wide commitment to making legal data publicly accessible through venues such as CanLII. With an abundance of unstructured Canadian legal data openly available, the first thing we had to determine when beginning work on the Loom system was our starting point.

We chose to begin with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for a few reasons. The data set for this court is the largest in Canada, with over 60,000 published decisions available on CanLII. Working off of the theory that it’s easier to scale down than to scale up, we decided that beginning with the largest data set would allow us to create an extensive database network containing as many relationships as possible. We would then be able to use this same structure and apply it to other provinces and court levels. Starting with a smaller data set would certainly have been easier, but going that route meant that we might run into major structural issues when we tried to apply this database structure to larger and potentially more complex data sets.

Another consideration was that the Law Society of Upper Canada is the largest law society in Canada with over 50,000 members. It was clear that beginning in Ontario would allow us to provide relevant data to the largest Canadian legal community. (That said, we are aware that over 60% of Canada’s population resides outside of Ontario and are actively working to provide data for the rest of the country as well.) Within the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, we found that half of the decisions were civil decisions, while Family Law and criminal decisions accounted for a smaller proportion of the data set. Again, taking the approach of providing data to the largest population possible, we decided to begin our data analysis in the civil practice area.

We have a team of lawyers and legal analysts whose job is to review each published decision and ensure that they are all accurately categorized. We started out by asking them to track simple decision metrics such as the name of the judge who authored the decision, hearing dates, party types, counsel, case parameters, and which motion was brought. The more decisions we went through, the more relationships and trends we observed. While this was an exciting process, it was was also an uphill battle, as we would discover new items that we wanted to track only after having already reviewed several thousand decisions. We then had to go back and review the exact same decisions again in order to track this new metric.

We’ve found that we need to constantly restructure our database to account for new data and relationships as we come across them. We have discovered new relationships and patterns in Criminal and Family decisions and will be adding even more searchable fields for these practice areas to provide the most granular searches for the user. Overall, our goal is to track as many metrics as possible.

We are continually updating our data coverage, and new reports with new searchable fields will be added on a regular basis, so check back frequently to see what new searches you can perform.

June 20

Loom is open for business

Loom Analytics is out of beta and we’re ready for individual users to start registering for accounts! Below, Mona Datt describes the Loom Analytics journey to date and our plans for the future.

I’m very pleased and excited to announce that Loom is now out of beta and is open for registration. Starting today, we have a 30-day free trial for all new registrants, with access to all features of our highest valued plan during the trial period. Once the trial period is over, users can choose one of our available plans, which range from light to premium level features.

It’s been an interesting ride so far with Loom. We first conceived the idea in January 2015 after a lawyer approached us about automating some of the repetitive case precedent research that took up so much of his day. With a small team of lawyers, engineers and legal analysts, we studied the problem for months. After many long (and sometimes quite loud!) brainstorming sessions, we arrived at what we believed was a workable solution and began development.

We announced Loom Analytics to the public for the first time on September 24th, 2015 at Legaltech Toronto 2015. Through a combination of aggressive development and long hours, our team was able to launch Loom in open beta on February 1st, 2016. Now, just three months later, we’ve expanded our data coverage to the point where we believe our service is ready for consumers. We now have complete data coverage for Ontario Superior Court of Justice civil decisions for 2011 to present, and are well on the path to completing our Canadian national coverage for all practice areas and all jurisdictions.

We have received tons of constructive feedback during the last year and a half. We’d really like to thank everyone who has been so generous with their time and expertise, especially the folks at MaRS, Stem Legal, and all the individual lawyers, law professors, and legal tech experts we’ve connected with over the past 18 months. We’ve carefully considered all of the feedback we’ve gotten and, where it made sense for us, took it on board to enhance the Loom user experience. The whole process has been a fascinating learning experience, which we will talk about in further blog posts later this week.

To give you an idea of some of the positive feedback we’ve received from users, we have had several senior lawyers in the industry confirm for us that they have successfully won motions in court using Loom data in a time crunch. Others have said they’ve found it to be a very useful starting point to map out case strategy.

Going forward, we’ll be regularly adding new reports and extending our data coverage, and would love to continue receiving feedback to help you in your research. Happy Looming!

NEWER OLDER 1 2 4 5