With $3.2M in Second-Round Funding, Gavelytics Plans to Expand Its Judicial Analytics

The judicial analytics platform Gavelytics is today announcing that it has closed a $3.2 million funding round that will support the development of new features and the platform’s expansion into new jurisdictions. The company had previously raised $2.5 million in funding.

As I reported here when it launched last September, Gavelytics uses artificial intelligence to extract data from court dockets and applies analytics to reveal insights about judges, such as how they might rule on particular matters and in what timeframe. It was founded by Rick Merrill, a former biglaw litigator who because frustrated over his inability to get meaningful information about the judges before whom he appeared.

Rick Merrill

The funding round announced today includes investments from several well-known Southern California investors, including Brian Lee, the co-founder of LegalZoom, Shoe Dazzle and The Honest Company; David Nazarian, an early investor of Qualcomm; Bruce Karatz, former chairman and CEO of KB Home; L.A. businessman Jarl Mohn; and Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO of the Tennis Channel and chairman of Ovation TV.

All of the company’s original investors also participated in this second round, including the cofounders of video game company Riot Games, Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill. (Marc is Rick’s brother.)

“This is a ringing endorsement that a bunch of sophisticated investors believe in us,” Merrill said.

The funding will enable Gavelytics to expand its coverage into new jurisdictions, Merrill told me yesterday. So far, it provides analytics on judges in Los Angeles and Riverside counties in California. Within the next three weeks, it will add San Francisco County. During the second quarter of the year, it will rapidly add most of the rest of California.

Later this year and into next, analytics will be added for additional states. Merrill declined to say which states he is targeting for the initial expansion out of California or exactly when they would be added.

“It takes time to do what we do and to do it right,” he said.

The funding will also be used to move to a larger office space and add more staff.

New Features Coming Soon

In addition to expanding its coverage of courts, Gavelytics will be releasing two new features in the coming months, Merrill said:

  • Arbitrator coverage. For mediators and arbitrators who are former judges, Gavelytics will provide full analytics from their time on the bench. A lawyer could use this, for example, to find out if an arbitrator tended to rule for plaintiffs or defendants while on the bench.
  • Trial court rulings. Gavelytics is adding several hundred thousand rulings by trial judges from throughout California. These will be fully searchable by keywords and indexed by type of ruling. Users will now be able to see not only how judges tend to rule on certain types of motions, but they will also be able to see the actual rulings.

Further down the road, Gavelytics will also add selected arbitration decisions issued by arbitrators in California. For certain arbitrators, this means, users will be able to see their analytics as a judge, their rulings as a judge and their decisions as an arbitrator.

Four Categories of Analytics

As I explained in my prior post about Gavelytics, its platform provides four categories of analytics about judges:

  • Motion Analyzer. Shows how a judge tends to rule on more than 100 different types of motions compared to the average judge in the jurisdiction.
  • Judicial Workload. Shows how the judge’s workload compares to the average judge in the jurisdiction.
  • Gavelscore. Scores each judge on the judge’s propensity to rule for plaintiffs or defendants.
  • §170.6 Analyzer. California Code of Civil Procedure §170.6 gives parties the right to disqualify a judge from a case without having to show a reason — a move described as “papering” a judge. This analyzer tracks how often a judge is papered, from what type of party, and in what type of case.

Gavelytics also provides contact and biographical information for each judge, as well as each judge’s courtroom rules.

No Details on Pricing

Merrill declined to say what his company charges for its service, except to say that it is sold on a subscription basis.

All of its current customers are larger firms, Merrill said, but the company is hoping to add more smaller firms.

Existing customers tell him they consider it a good value, he said, and many use the platform’s analytics to help them pitch for new business.

“We really try to push with our clients that this is a revenue generating tool that allows for greatly improved pitches,” Merrill said. “If you land a single case because of this product, you will have paid for many years of this service.”