UniCourt CEO Josh Blandi Joins eDiscovery Leaders Live Hosted by ACEDS
Legal data is changing the legal industry, and there’s no going back. From advancements in eDiscovery to litigation support, legal operations, and legal tech, legal data has become an integral part of transforming the business of law and the way other industries like finance, insurance, and investigations are modernizing their business operations.
As a leader in making court records and other public records more accessible and useful, UniCourt’s Legal Data as a Service (LDaaS) is powering automation, innovation, and intelligence across a span of industries with real-time API access to normalized legal data.
Our CEO and Co-Founder, Josh Blandi, recently shared more about what UniCourt is working on now and some real-world applications of LDaaS on the latest episode of eDiscover Leaders Live.
eDiscover Leaders Live is a weekly webcast interview series that started in 2020 and is hosted by ACEDS, the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists. ACEDS is a global professional association that “provides training, certification and professional development courses in e-discovery and related disciplines to law firms, corporate legal departments, service providers, the government, and institutions of higher learning.”
In addition to being hosted by ACEDS, the webcast is also sponsored by Reveal-Brainspace, a leading AI-powered eDiscovery platform, and the webcast has been run since its inception by George Socha, Senior Vice President of Brand Awareness at Reveal-Brainspace.
Highlights from Josh Blandi’s Interview on eDiscovery Leaders Live
Josh Blandi and George Socha covered a range of topics in the interview on eDiscovery Leaders Live, and we want to share some of our favorite quotes and moments with you here.
UniCourt as a Public Records Company
Josh Blandi: “Even though our roots are in legal tech because of where we started with court records, as a company, we’re really a public records company. We just happen to be very focused on court records.
We also collect all of the bar data across the United States, which is important for linking to court records for identifying attorneys. We collect Secretary of State data, because it’s important for linking to corporate entities and law firms and normalizing them, as well as other data sets like EDGAR data sets on publicly traded companies.
What we’re trying to zero in on with our APIs is being able to give people the ability to access this information, and merge it with their internal datasets. That’s when you can really derive some real intelligence and value from it.”
Creative Uses of APIs by Law Firms
George Socha: “What are some of the most creative things you’ve seen law firms do using your APIs and the data available through them?”
Josh Blandi: “I see a lot of work by the alternative legal services providers, in terms of being able to take on tasks that were traditionally law firm tasks in law firm markets. For example, IncuBaker does this really well from BakerHostetler, where they’re developing, using UniCourt and lots of other data sources, outsourced legal services at scale, so they can do something really well and very cost effective, but also tie that in with the expertise that a firm has to offer.
Nobody wants to do some of these rote tasks. Imagine most of that’s going to be done in the future through process automation. Where you can insert an attorney into that process that can actually give guidance, I think that’s really where the future is heading. Where attorneys do what they do best, and firms do what they do best, which is give guidance, and the rest of it I think will be automated. So I see a lot of amazing things happening across legal on that front.”
Better Uses of Legal Data and APIs
George Socha: “What do you see as some gaps in terms of types of organizations that could be making better use of this data, better use of your APIs, but aren’t yet doing so?”
Josh Blandi: “I do think BigLaw has a long way to go. From the pulse I have, they all say they’re doing amazing innovative things, and I’m sure they’re doing some amazing things, but from the interactions I’ve had with AmLaw 200 firms, maybe only about 10, maybe 20 percent actually have data science teams, and are actually working to integrate data science into their operations. So I think there’s a lot of room for improvement for the bigger firms.
I also think there’s a tremendous potential in eDiscovery in terms of uncovering information that’s buried in court documents. Your industry already has an amazing set of tools to do this. I am always amazed about what’s happening in the eDiscovery space. You really were the first legal technologists in law — the real legal technologists in law. I remember when we first started in ‘14, we would go to legal tech conferences and 90 percent would be eDiscovery companies.”
Leveraging SALI Standards for Case Classifications
Josh Blandi: “We’re also working with organizations like SALI… I really believe that what they’re doing is the future, where they’re mapping out the legal genome. Everything from billing to litigation, to how a firm runs — the type of data you’d need structured at a firm level. And some of that, and specifically litigation data, overlaps with our data.
There’s going to be some stuff that overlaps where we just have our own system, but we’re going to map a lot of our data to SALI standards. Meaning, hey, this is what we call it what we do with it, but it’s also equivalent to this SALI standard, so everybody has a universal system to talk to each other.
When you’re exporting stuff out of a matter management system or client experience system and you have your SALI tags on it, you can line it up with UniCourt’s data, and then boom you have your dataset you want.”
What’s Next with UniCourt’s Apollo APIs
George Socha: “As we draw to a close here, are there any previews you care to share for what’s coming next with what you have to offer?”
Josh Blandi: “We’ve been working on our latest version of our APIs, called our Apollo APIs. Imagine when we initially started we had this app and that provided access to court data and trial records, and we got a lot of requests saying, hey, do you guys have APIs for this. We made our initial version of our APIs, and imagine when we created the first version of our APIs, we didn’t really know what people would want to use it for, so we got all of this fantastic feedback, and we’ve been collecting that for about four years.
So in 2020, we began a pretty impressive project to rebuild our APIs from the ground up with the concept of being API first. Meaning, we develop APIs, so that there can be an ecosystem of people who want legal data. They can develop off of those APIs. And then we can decide to make products off of them, or other people can make products off of them.
We’ve been working on our Apollo APIs since January of 2020, for almost two years with over 120 engineers designing this. And we’re pushing this out to Alpha in November. And the key things that distinguishes these APIs from our predecessor ones are the deep integration of entities involved in litigation and this deep integration with analytics. So now you can pull, hey, this attorney, what type of litigation does he do, how much, where, show me all the people he’s ever opposed, all the law firms he’s ever worked for, all the judges he’s ever been before, filtered by virtually any data object we have.
I really believe this is going to provide a good foundation on the analytical front, so you don’t need to pull out 10,000 records and do your own data science on it. You can pull the analytical data from our side, and if you want to validate or actually pull those dockets, you can do that, too.”
Learn More and Get In Touch With Us
We really enjoyed working with the team at ACEDS and speaking with George Socha on this episode of eDiscovery Leaders Live. You can watch the full interview with Josh Blandi here.
If you’re interested in learning more about UniCourt, how you can use Legal Data as a Service, or have a question for Josh, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch.