Wednesday, June 21, 2006

CourtLink Strategic Profiles

CourtLink is a subsidiary of LexisNexis with docketing information for various courts. Most academic subscribers do not have access, but now LexisNexis has made CourtLink "Strategic Profiles" available to law school users. (In the Legal tab, look in the right column, under Briefs, Motions, etc.)

With Strategic Profiles, you can get a statistical report of a lawyer's practice. For example, here is part of the report showing Michael Reiss's cases in federal district courts:

It's not surprising that this former EEOC regional counsel has a practice dominated by employment law -- but it's cool to have the figures. You can also get a list of parties represented. Another pie chart will show whether the attorney has representated defendants, plaintiffs, or other parties. (In Reiss's case, it's almost entirely defendants.)

You can get a similar profile for an entire firm. Here is a portion of the profile for Seattle's Schroeter Goldmark and Bender:

You can also generate profiles of judges. Here's one for Judge Robert Lasnik:

You can also research a litigant. For instance, in the last couple of years, Microsoft has been a party in more trademark cases than copyright cases, over 40% of its federal cases have been in the Western District of Washington, and it's been represented by Preston Gates & Ellis in over 40% of its federal cases.

Note: Be careful when you read the charts. At first glance, I thought the big red pie slice for Microsoft was coded for personal injury but when I double-checked I saw it was trademark (which, of course, makes more sense). Look for name variants -- for instance Microsoft has been represented by both "Preston Gates & Ellis" and "Preston Gates & Ellis (Sea)," and if you only paid attention to one name you'd think the firm handled only a fifth of Microsoft's litigation.


  • The federal district court information is for civil litigation only. You won't be able to find the criminal cases prosecuted or defended by a particular attorney.
  • State information is limited. You can find data about trial court cases in New York and selected counties in California, Florida, and Illinois, as well as Delaware Chancery cases. But this service does not have information about most states. A company rep told me they plan to add coverage of more states.
Obviously this has many uses. Students, in the short term, think about preparation for job interviews! Lawyers can find out about opposing counsel or the experience of counsel they'd like to call on in another jurisdiction.

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