The Quantification of Law: Counting, Predicting, and Valuating
Legal reasoning is increasingly quantified. Developers in the market and public institutions in the legal system are making use of massive databases of court opinions and other legal communications to craft algorithms to assess the effectiveness of legal arguments or predict court judgments; tasks that were once seen as the exclusive province of seasoned lawyers’ obscure knowledge. New legal technologies promise to search heaps of documents for useful evidence, and to analyze dozens of factors to quantify a lawsuit’s odds of success. Legal quantification initiatives depend on the availability of reliable data about the past behavior of courts that institutional actors have attempted to control. The development of initiatives in legal quantification is visible as public bodies craft their own tools for internal use and access by the public, and private companies create new ways to valorize the “raw data” provided by courts and lawyers by generating information useful to the strategies of legal professionals, as well as to the investors that re-valorize legal activity by securitizing legal risk through litigation funding.