Try Lex Machina for Legal Analytics

  • E-mail E-mail
  • Google+
  • Reddit Reddit

Have you been hearing all the buzz about legal analytics on Westlaw Edge and Lexis Advance? Don't forget that you also have access to legal analytics platform Lex Machina!

Lex Machina , a LexisNexis research tool, provides litigation and business data for legal professionals. The tool harvests data from a variety of resources to enable users to identify meaningful patterns that aid in the practice of law. Sources include PACER, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the International Trade Commission, and other primary docket-based sources.

Practitioners can use Lex Machina to gain important information about judges, opposing counsel, parties, and cases (for instance, biographical information, rulings and damages awarded statistics, case type statistics, etc.). Lex Machina was started by legal and technology experts at Stanford Law School and Stanford’s Computer Science department. Their homepage explains their mission for legal professionals as follows:

“For the first time, lawyers can combine insights gleaned from bottom-up data with traditional top-down controlling authority found in statutes, rules, and court opinions. It’s new, it’s unorthodox and it’s extremely valuable. But Legal Analytics also brings lawyering back to its roots It provides lawyers with facts on which to base opinions – the core element of good lawyering. Objective data replaces subjective anec-data.”

Students can benefit from the information provided by Lex Machina in a few important ways. First, you may want to track the way a renowned judge has ruled over the years to understand his or her judicial motivations and philosophy. Second, you may have a writing-intensive course and are assigned a paper on a particular case. You could use Lex Machina data about the attorneys and judges to show a trend in arguments and rulings to predict an upcoming outcome in a higher court. Finally, you may have a transition-to-practice course in which you are to consider your strategy for a hypothetical issue and client. You could consult Lex Machina's analytics to prepare your approach. It could be useful to know how many trademark cases the presiding judge has heard over his or her career, for example. 

Lex Machina began as a data tool focused on intellectual property law, but the scope has been expanded in recent years. Data is now available about anti-trust, bankruptcy, employment, product liability, and securities cases.

Access Details

If you are interested in using Lex Machina and are affiliated with UNC, you can request a “public-interest” account free of charge by visiting this webpage. UNC academics and students must have a “.edu” email account to gain this free access. You must complete a brief online training module prior to receiving your account credentials. These trainings are held once a month, typically mid-day.

You can also view Lex Machina data in Lexis Advance. For some cases, you will see a "Legal Analytics" feature on the right side of your page.

Screenshot of case showing Legal Analytics tool

Lex Machina data in Lexis Advance is not comprehensive. For the above 2017 trademark case, you can access information about the respondent's attorney only. For other cases, you may be able to access data about the presiding judge and law firms involved in the case.

Screenshot of case showing Lex Machina data in the Legal Analytics tool

*NOTE FOR LEGAL SCHOLARS AND STUDENTS: Lex Machina is a great resource for empirical research, which is an increasing important part of legal scholarship. Data can help tell your story and make your case!

Posted by Emily E. Roscoe on Fri. October 4, 2019 11:00 AM
Categories: Uncategorized

If you are seeing this, you are either using a non-graphical browser or Netscape 4.x (4.7, 4.8, etc.) and this page appears very plain. If you are using a 4.x version of Netscape, this site is fully functional but lacks styles and optimizations available in other browsers. For full functionality, please upgrade your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer or Firefox.