Company readies launch of searchable trial transcripts

A former Delaware trial lawyer is preparing to launch a Web-based service that will search trial transcripts the way other research sites search court opinions. Although not ready for full launch, the service, SocraticLaw, has opened a Web site and is expected to be ready for a partial launch soon.

SocraticLaw will use databases of trial transcripts obtained from court reporters or transcribed from copies of audio recordings obtained from the courts. Its database so far has transcripts from the Delaware Chancery Court and Delaware Supreme Court and will soon include the U.S. District Court for Delaware. Eventually, the company will add transcripts from state and federal courts outside Delaware. Selection of transcripts will lean towards those relating to corporate and securities law, bankruptcy and intellectual property. Editors then index and outline the transcripts for the database. Search parameters will include court, judge, lawyer, party, expert witness, case number, date of proceeding, type of action, case law, statute and legal issue.

The company anticipates lawyers will use this service in a variety of ways, including to research how a judge presided over a particular type of trial, to obtain oral arguments on specific issues, to review the courtroom performance of particular lawyers or expert witnesses, and to see how courts dealt with issues of law or evidence.

Pricing has not been published.

The service is being developed by W. Wade W. Scott, a former partner with the Wilmington, Del., firm Prickett, Jones & Elliott, where he managed the litigation section from 1996 to 1999.