UniCourt 2021 Year in Review
2021 was a year of incredible growth and opportunity for the legal tech industry as a whole and UniCourt in particular as we continue to chart a path forward in our mission to make court data more accessible and useful through our Legal Data as a Service.
In this year’s 2021 Year in Review, we have some wonderful highlights to share with a range of awards and recognition for UniCourt and our senior leadership, dogs of legal tech pics and legal memes you won’t want to miss, recaps from our articles, interviews, and Influencer Q&As, and a sneak peak at what’s in store for next year with our Apollo APIs.
Year of Growth for UniCourt
To say that 2021 has been a year of growth for UniCourt is a bit of an understatement.
This year, we expanded the reach of Legal Data as a Service (LDaaS) to other industries outside of legal and solidified the key use cases and user experience for the core industries who rely on UniCourt’s infrastructure to collect, structure, and normalize the legal data they need.
Though there are numerous industries and innovators leveraging LDaaS in their day-to-day operations, here are the top five industries and their use cases we’re focusing on in 2022.
Law firms, legal support firms, legal tech companies, and legal departments are using LDaaS to modernize their litigation management, power their business development, gain competitive intelligence, build legal analytics dashboards, support their knowledge management initiatives, and perform in-depth case research.
LDaaS provides banks, lenders, investment managers, private equity firms, FinTech companies, and others in the financial services industry with a trusted, authoritative source of state and federal court data for due diligence, compliance, real-time bankruptcy checks, underwriting, investment management, and process automation.
Within the insurance space, LDaaS supports traditional, nationwide insurance firms, professional liability insurance providers, reinsurers, and InsurTech companies with the litigation intelligence needed for better underwriting, business development, litigation risk models, trial and settlement strategies, and developing claims analytics, machine learning models, and outside counsel benchmarking dashboards.
LDaaS instantly empowers investigations professionals with real-time, bulk access to normalized criminal, civil, and bankruptcy court data for conducting more thorough compliance checks, enhanced corporate security, gathering protective intelligence, and providing clients with self-service reporting tools for on-demand investigative intelligence.
National, state, local, and niche news outlets, from The Wall Street Journal, to The New York Times, NBC News, and investigative journalists, crypto currency reporters, and online publishers are leveraging LDaaS to report on breaking news developments in litigation happening in state and federal courts and to significantly reduce their PACER fees, while getting unfettered access to court data enriched with public records data.
Due to our intentional expansion beyond legal and the great work of our entire team, we’ve also seen exponential growth in the number of new client signups. Just this December, we had a record-breaking number of new signups for UniCourt with over 240 signups in a single week.
In addition to seeing a record number of signups to cap off 2021, UniCourt’s operations in Mangalore, India have also grown to meet the needs of our clients. With 200+ employees, including over 100 engineers, UniCourt’s Dev Center in Mangalore now represents one of the largest legal tech companies in all of India, and is a sought after destination for engineers who want to build a career in legal tech.
Interested in joining our team? You can learn more about opportunities in India and the United States on UniCourt’s Careers page.
Awards and Recognition
As a leading provider of legal data through our online app and APIs, we were honored to see UniCourt, our CEO, Josh Blandi, and our CTO, Prashanth Shenoy, all recognized for their wonderful accomplishments in 2021.
At the beginning of December, Josh Blandi was named as a finalist for the Innovators of the Year award of the Legalweek Leaders in Tech Law Awards. We’re eager to find out whether Josh will win the award and will be tuning in when the winners of the Legalweek Awards are announced live in New York on February 2, 2022.
Last, but certainly not least, Prashanth Shenoy received a prestigious recognition from Asia Law Portal as one of the 30 People to Watch in the Business of Law in Asia. This year’s 8th consecutive annual list highlights the work of legal innovators across Asia, and we’re happy to see Prashanth get some well-deserved recognition for building UniCourt into the legal tech powerhouse that it is today.
UniCourt Dogs of Legal Tech
No year in review would be complete without the dogs of legal tech! UniCourt is a pet friendly office and we’re grateful for all the hard work and determination of our furry employees, even if they do get caught napping on the job from time-to-time.
Insights from UniCourt’s Influencer Q&As
Since we started UniCourt’s Influencer Q&A series in 2019, it has been one of or favorite and most engaging series to date. We love getting the opportunity to talk with and learning from innovators across a range of industries, and this year we were fortunate enough to speak to legal tech CEOs, protective intelligence experts, legal innovation managers, access to justice advocates, and more.
Here are some words of wisdom from this year’s Influencers:
“COVID-19 exposed the deficiencies in our system’s technology abilities, and a scramble to implement technology exposed the deficiencies in the system overall… The biggest victory of 2021 wouldn’t be more technology, more service innovations, or even more regulatory reform experiments across the country. Instead, the real prize is a truly collaborative justice system.” Amanda Brown
“The most helpful saying for me in understanding how the world works is my own reminder: ‘Justice is the antidote to chaos.’ We saw that last year with the widespread revolt over historic racial injustice in the U.S. Chaos is a consequence of injustice.” Sonja Ebron
“Follow your dreams. Most people quit before they start.” Fred Burton
“‘Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.’ In law, there is pressure to be perfect from creating a document with zero errors to being a perfect spouse, parent, adult, child, neighbor, practitioner, employee, boss, manager, or leader. Since perfection is rarely obtained but always strived for, many legal professionals are worn down and burned out, suffering mental health and physical wellness. Every single project does not have to be perfect. Our best is usually more than enough, and sometimes good is all that’s needed.” Camille Stell
“In law school, you will encounter a lot of pressure to conform and/or to follow a prescribed career path. Do not give in to peer pressure. Follow your own path. Follow your interests and your passions.There are many paths one can take within the legal field. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find the right path for you.” Colin S. Levy
“Legal Engineers understand how to combine law and technology. Given how software is revolutionizing the legal industry, it’s imperative that we’ve got professionals that understand the complexities and potential consequences of mixing these.” Rebecca Holdredge
Here’s the full list of all the Influencer Q&As from 2020:
- Amanda Brown of Lagniappe Law Lab
- Sonja Ebron of Courtroom5
- Camille Stell of Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services
- Mike Muse of LawChamps
- Fred Burton of Ontic
- Colin S. Levy
- Claudia Johnson of Pro Bono Net
- Susan Sommers of Ogletree Deakins
- Rebecca Holdredge of Husch Blackwell
UniCourt in the News
On top of a great year of growth and recognition for UniCourt and our senior leadership, we also had another excellent year of publications. This year, we had two well-received three-part series in Attorney at Law and Legaltech News, and we published again with the American Bar Association, Above the Law, Artificial Lawyer, and Legal Business World.
ABA Law Practice Today
Above the Law
- The Open Courts Act: Modernizing PACER and Realizing Criminal Justice Reform
- Outranking The Rest: Vorys Takes First Place In The 2020 TrueLaw Litigation Index
Attorney at Work
- How Attorneys Can Use Legal Data for Business Development and Intelligence
- How Attorneys Can Use Legal Data for Legal Recruiting
- How Attorneys Can Use Legal Data for Strategic Law Firm Positioning
Legal Business World
- Why Build Your Own Analytics Discipline?
- The 2020 Litigation Roller Coaster: A Case Study on Litigation Analytics
- The 2020 Litigation Roller Coaster: Managing Litigation at Scale with Data & Legal Tech
- The 2020 Litigation Roller Coaster: Proactively Positioning for Future Litigation Risk
Apart from our outside publications, UniCourt’s Josh Blandi and Prashanth Shenoy we’re also featured in interviews with the Geek In Review Podcast, eDiscovery Leaders Live, and Prolawgue. We’re also excited for the release of two interviews with Josh Blandi on the LAWsome podcast and the Legal Karma podcast in the new year.
Legal Memes of the Year
In the spirit of keeping things light and having fun (largely at the expense of legacy legal data providers), we’re thrilled to share some of our favorite legal memes of 2021.
We also want to give a special shoutout to our resident legal meme creator in chief and legal intern, Alyssa McPike, who’s a 3L at Campbell Law School.
UniCourt at ILTACON and CLII Launch Event
Even though UnCourt scaled back travel for conferences and events this year, we were excited to attend ILTACON 2021 and be a part of the Campbell Law Innovation Institute (CLII) Launch Event.
ILTACON was the first conference we’ve attended in-person in over a year and half, and it was great to see familiar faces and get to talk with leaders in knowledge management, analytics and data science across the legal spectrum. From the topics covered, to the hybrid, virtual and in-person model, and COVID health safety protocols, we felt that ILTACON adapted to cover the moment the legal industry as a whole found itself in and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
The CLII Launch Event, which took place in downtown Raleigh, NC at Campbell Law School, was a wonderful success with a great lineup of speakers in the legal education and innovation space, including Daniel Rodriguez, Ed Walters, Daniel Linna, Nicole Morris, April Dawson, Amy Stein, and David Colarusso. Another great part about being in Raleigh, NC for the CLII Launch Event, is that we got to meet our legal interns from Campbell Law for the first time since the pandemic started.
UniCourt’s PACER API
To keep pushing forward in our mission to improve access to court data and enhance the way our clients are able to interact with PACER, UniCourt released our PACER Case Locator API (PACER API) in 2021.
Through our PACER API, UniCourt clients can easily search PACER’s full civil and criminal dataset with a modern search tool, instantly save money on expensive PACER bills, and quickly automate workflows to transform their business operations.
Now, when our clients search for court cases using our API for PACER, their search results show (1) which cases are already available in UniCourt, so they don’t have to pay for data in our CrowdSourced Library™, (2) when those cases were added to our database and last updated, and (3) the UniCourt Case IDs for each case so they can easily pull any additional data they need.
Combined with our Court Data APIs, UniCourt’s PACER API streamlines tracking litigation at scale. Clients can automatically track PACER cases with ease and receive alerts as soon as new docket updates are available in PACER.
And, in addition to the substantial cost savings from leveraging all of the cases in UniCourt’s CrowdSourced Library™, our clients can also reduce their PACER bills significantly by taking advantage of the sophisticated algorithms we’ve developed to intelligently track PACER cases in bulk without incurring over-the-top, unnecessary fees from PACER.
UniCourt Holiday Celebration
One of our favorite company events of the year is UniCourt’s annual Christmas Ball. We decorate our Dev Center, have live music, gifts and a Santa, and it’s always a wonderful, joyful time for our team and their families. Since we weren’t able to host our Christmas Ball last year, it made being fortunate enough to celebrate together this year even more special.
Call for Content In 2022
Have a story to share? Want to educate others on the latest in legal innovation, the open legal data movement, access to justice, or why normalization matters? Or have a novel use case for leveraging LDaaS and APIs?
While we don’t accept paid posts or purely promotional posts, we are always open to great guest post content. For a flavor of what we’re looking for, here are the two first guest blog posts in a three-part series from Claire Raba Johnson, who is a Clinical Teaching Fellow at the University of California, Irvine School of Law Consumer Law Clinic, where she teaches law students in direct services and policy advocacy, who are working to advance the rights of low-income consumers and eradicate unconstitutional legal fines and obligations.
- Court Data Access Drives Legislative Change: A Story From California
- Court Record Data Shows Enduring Harm from Private Student Loan Default Judgments
To get your guest post published on UniCourt’s blog, Contact Us with your pitch and proposed title and our content team will get back to you.
What’s In Store for 2022
Of the many items in store for 2022, the most exciting update we have to share relates to the upcoming GA release of our new Legal Data APIs, codenamed Apollo in Q2 of 2022. These new APIs will integrate our analytics and normalization technology on top of docket data and documents, so you can seamlessly move between data points to uncover critical connections and insights more easily.
We’ve leveraged years worth of feedback from AmLaw firms and Fortune 500 companies to develop our next generation of Apollo APIs, which were designed around real-world use cases to provide the enhanced functionality you need for business development, litigation intelligence, case tracking, investigations, underwriting, news reporting, machine learning models, and much more.
Along with the release of these APIs, we will be launching a new version of UniCourt’s website that showcases the features and use cases of our new Court Data API, PACER API, Legal Analytics API, and Public Records API. The new website launch will also include a series of industry pages that highlight how professionals in legal, finance, insurance, investigations, and news and media can make the most of our Legal Data as a Service.
But the fun doesn’t stop there! Using the new infrastructure of our Apollo APIs, we’ll also be releasing a new and improved version of our web app next year with upgraded search features, new streamlined entity tracking options, and embedded legal analytics allowing you to easily gain litigation intelligence from any of the billions of data points in our legal database. Stay tuned for more updates by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!
From everyone at UniCourt, including Olivia, Max, Jewel, and Toby we wish you and yours a Happy New Year!