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Legal research is more than just looking up who won or lost a case. With the explosion of data points available to law firms today, litigators now have the ability to go inside a case, exploring how lawyers argued for one side or the other, how a judge’s decision lines up with past actions and precedent, and what a case means moving forward in other, similarly situated cases.

Released nine months ago, Casetext’s CARA (Case Analysis Research Assistant) platform introduced artificial intelligence into the case research mix, helping users predict relevant cases when researching their own. But a conversation with a law firm senior partner opened Casetext CEO Jake Heller’s eyes to another use for the AI research platform: case briefs.

“As soon as he said it in the feedback session, it just clicked,” Heller said. “As lawyers ourselves, that could be something that we could use before filing a brief, when responding to other people’s briefs, and we immediately started researching whether it’d be possible,” Heller said.

The result is CARA Brief Finder. The companion platform to CARA allows users to input briefs, memos, and other legal documents into the system. Using text analysis artificial intelligence, the platform finds similar cases to your own and the briefs that were submitted for those cases.

How it works. Users log in to the CARA system at Casetext.com, then navigate to a user interface that features a drag-and-drop box for various legal documents. This is where the brief you’re working on, opponent briefs, etc. go. In less than 5 seconds, the system analyzes the documents, then will open up two tabs: cases and briefs. From there, users can explore further, redo a search with different documents, or follow CARA’s recommendations for what to research next.

So What’s Different from CARA? The briefs tab is what’s new, and in that tab, users see not only what the CARA system determines are the most relevant briefs, but also brief excerpts “that CARA believes are most relevant and on point to the research you’re currently doing,” Heller said.

“Now CARA can do something it never did before, which is provide people not just with case recommendations and what to research next, but how some of the best attorneys in the country have formulated arguments similar to the one you’re currently grappling with,” he explained.

Who’s It For? Casetext said the company isn’t really looking to move into any new target markets with the product; if you’re already doing legal research, then you’re likely a fit for both CARA and CARA Brief Finder alike. What’s different is the times you may use the tool. The senior partner mentioned above, for example, told Heller that his associates handled most of the case research, but he preferred a “second level” search to look into the intricacies of how a case was handled.

“We’re expanding the different use cases for it, the different times you may turn to CARA, and the different things you might expect to get out of it,” Heller explained.

When’s It Available, and for How Much? Now. Heller said pre-existing users of CARA will automatically gain access to CARA Brief Finder, and new customers will also gain access to both tools. Casetext offers one-week free trials from the company’s website, and individual pricing starts at $119 per month when paid on a monthly basis ($99 per month for a full year subscription). Firm-wide pricing is handled on a case-by-case basis.

But I’m Not Sure About This AI Thing. Many people aren’t; the applications of artificial intelligence in law are numerous and not yet well defined. Heller, though, told Legaltech News that he found more people are coming around to it, adding that many firms he has talked to have even appointed a point person for AI projects. This is because of two things happening at the same time: economic pressure, and a fear of missing out.

“There’s this ever-present pressure for lawyers, in research especially, to feel like they haven’t missed something important,” he explained. “A terrifying moment for any lawyer is feeling like they missed out on a key case, a key precedent, a key piece of information that your opponent may use against you later, and it puts you in a place where you can’t advocate the best for your client.”

 “Something that lawyers are gleeful about is finding the case that their opponent missed, that you can bring out in court and say, ‘This is the case that will win it for us,’” Heller added.

Where Else is This AI? There are a number of players in the current legal space. The giant is IBM’s Watson, which recently expanded its Watson Discovery Service for partner companies to help find relationships in structured data and unstructured data. ROSS Intelligence is among those using the Watson platform for legal research. Long-time legal research giants Thomson Reuters Legal and LexisNexis have also integrated elements of artificial intelligence into their own offerings.

And venture capital money continues to flow into the space. For proof, one needs to look no further than Casetext itself, which in March closed a $12 million funding round led by Canvas Ventures, whose partners have also invested in Evernote and Siri.

Legal research is more than just looking up who won or lost a case. With the explosion of data points available to law firms today, litigators now have the ability to go inside a case, exploring how lawyers argued for one side or the other, how a judge’s decision lines up with past actions and precedent, and what a case means moving forward in other, similarly situated cases.

Released nine months ago, Casetext’s CARA (Case Analysis Research Assistant) platform introduced artificial intelligence into the case research mix, helping users predict relevant cases when researching their own. But a conversation with a law firm senior partner opened Casetext CEO Jake Heller’s eyes to another use for the AI research platform: case briefs.

“As soon as he said it in the feedback session, it just clicked,” Heller said. “As lawyers ourselves, that could be something that we could use before filing a brief, when responding to other people’s briefs, and we immediately started researching whether it’d be possible,” Heller said.

The result is CARA Brief Finder. The companion platform to CARA allows users to input briefs, memos, and other legal documents into the system. Using text analysis artificial intelligence, the platform finds similar cases to your own and the briefs that were submitted for those cases.

How it works. Users log in to the CARA system at Casetext.com, then navigate to a user interface that features a drag-and-drop box for various legal documents. This is where the brief you’re working on, opponent briefs, etc. go. In less than 5 seconds, the system analyzes the documents, then will open up two tabs: cases and briefs. From there, users can explore further, redo a search with different documents, or follow CARA’s recommendations for what to research next.

So What’s Different from CARA? The briefs tab is what’s new, and in that tab, users see not only what the CARA system determines are the most relevant briefs, but also brief excerpts “that CARA believes are most relevant and on point to the research you’re currently doing,” Heller said.

“Now CARA can do something it never did before, which is provide people not just with case recommendations and what to research next, but how some of the best attorneys in the country have formulated arguments similar to the one you’re currently grappling with,” he explained.

Who’s It For? Casetext said the company isn’t really looking to move into any new target markets with the product; if you’re already doing legal research, then you’re likely a fit for both CARA and CARA Brief Finder alike. What’s different is the times you may use the tool. The senior partner mentioned above, for example, told Heller that his associates handled most of the case research, but he preferred a “second level” search to look into the intricacies of how a case was handled.

“We’re expanding the different use cases for it, the different times you may turn to CARA, and the different things you might expect to get out of it,” Heller explained.

When’s It Available, and for How Much? Now. Heller said pre-existing users of CARA will automatically gain access to CARA Brief Finder, and new customers will also gain access to both tools. Casetext offers one-week free trials from the company’s website, and individual pricing starts at $119 per month when paid on a monthly basis ($99 per month for a full year subscription). Firm-wide pricing is handled on a case-by-case basis.

But I’m Not Sure About This AI Thing. Many people aren’t; the applications of artificial intelligence in law are numerous and not yet well defined. Heller, though, told Legaltech News that he found more people are coming around to it, adding that many firms he has talked to have even appointed a point person for AI projects. This is because of two things happening at the same time: economic pressure, and a fear of missing out.

“There’s this ever-present pressure for lawyers, in research especially, to feel like they haven’t missed something important,” he explained. “A terrifying moment for any lawyer is feeling like they missed out on a key case, a key precedent, a key piece of information that your opponent may use against you later, and it puts you in a place where you can’t advocate the best for your client.”

 “Something that lawyers are gleeful about is finding the case that their opponent missed, that you can bring out in court and say, ‘This is the case that will win it for us,’” Heller added.

Where Else is This AI? There are a number of players in the current legal space. The giant is IBM’s Watson, which recently expanded its Watson Discovery Service for partner companies to help find relationships in structured data and unstructured data. ROSS Intelligence is among those using the Watson platform for legal research. Long-time legal research giants Thomson Reuters Legal and LexisNexis have also integrated elements of artificial intelligence into their own offerings.

And venture capital money continues to flow into the space. For proof, one needs to look no further than Casetext itself, which in March closed a $12 million funding round led by Canvas Ventures, whose partners have also invested in Evernote and Siri.