Illinois Bar Journal

January 2016Volume 104Number 1Page 52

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Biz & Tek

Researching Opposing Counsel, Judges, and Juries on the Internet

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Researching Opposing Counsel, Judges, and Juries on the Internet

What Internet tools are available to dig up valuable information about judges, juries, and your opposing counsel? In a recent post on Lawyerist.com, Anna Massoglia provides an overview of the best tools, from basic to complex.

First, always start with social media. Facebook and Twitter have helpful advanced search features, as does LinkedIn. These social media sites could provide a wealth of information about your research subjects. But make sure to consult the rules of ethics - especially before interacting with the social media profiles of judges and jurors. (For an overview of ethics opinions relating to online juror research, see the ISBA's book Picking a Civil Jury, bit.ly/1PM2oWX).

When researching judges and other lawyers, you can get basic information (e.g., law school and date admitted) from legal directories like Martindale-Hubbell (www.martindale.com/). For more specific information, LexisNexis has a Litigation Profile Suite (bit.ly/1Ca8kDW), which provides detailed information about judges' opinions and judgments, with links. It also provides helpful information about lawyers, including links to cases, the jurisdictions they practice in, the length of their cases, and links to briefs, motions, pleadings, and other documents.

For researching the public, LexisNexis has a tool called Accurint for Legal Professionals (bit.ly/1HkiPHi). It draws information from the same database as Litigation Profile Suite, which includes over 10,000 distinct sources with over 45 billion records.

If you don't think you have the psychological training to draw useable inferences from the information you find, Massoglia points out a few "cool and creepy" tools that do the heavy lifting for you. She recommends Crystal (www.crystalknows.com), which purports to detect a person's personality based on their online presence.

It works by gathering public information from the Internet and using it to classify the person into one of 64 personality types. It then provides you with best practices for communicating and working with that person. For example, Crystal predicts things like the most-effective language to use in negotiating a settlement and whether a juror might be more persuaded by logic or emotion.

To learn about a few other Internet-based research tools, read Massoglia's full post on Lawyerist.com.

Illinois Blogs Make the ABA Blawg 100

The ABA Journal recently released its 9th Annual Blawg 100, which includes the following Illinois-based legal blogs:

  • "Illinois Estate Plan" (listed by the ABA as "Plan for the Road Ahead") (www.illinoisestateplan.com/blog/) is an estate planning blog maintained by ISBA member Jeffrey R. Gottlieb, who practices in Palatine.
  • "FMLA Insights" (www.fmlainsights.com/) covers the Family and Medical Leave Act. It is maintained by ISBA member Jeff Nowak, who is a partner at Franczek Radelet in Chicago.
  • "2Civility" (www.2civility.org/category/blog/) is the official blog of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.

SOURCES

Anna Massoglia, Internet Tools for Researching Opposing Counsel, Judges, and Juries, Lawyerist.com (Nov. 16, 2015), https://lawyerist.com/92442/internet-tools-for-researching-opposing-counsel-judges-and-juries/.

American Bar Association, The 9th Annual Blawg 100 (Dec. 1, 2015), http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_9th_annual_blawg_100.

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