The 2017 American football season has begun but we have our sights set on another type of fantasy league: Fantasy SCOTUS!
Fantasy SCOTUS is the leading Supreme Court Fantasy League, whereby thousands of attorneys and law students make predictions about cases before the Supreme Court of The United States.
This data provides researchers with an ample source of information to predict SCOTUS outcomes.
There are three strategies Fantasy SCOTUS employed to predict legal outcomes:
1. Expert opinion;
2. Crowd-sourcing; and
But which is the most accurate?
Experts on the 2002 – 2003 Supreme Court Term predicted 58% of cases and 67.4% of Justice votes. The champion of predicting Supreme Court cases was Jacob Berlove, who correctly predicted cases more than 80% of the time.
LexPredict uses crowds to predict Supreme Court cases, although not all crowd-members are treated equally. LexPredict’s super crowd, dubbed the “Expert Crowd”, is composed of the most accurate predictors of SCOTUS cases. The Expert Crowd predicted…84.29% of cases and 84.18% of Justice votes.
Meanwhile, a team of researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and South Texas College of Law threw their hat into the ring by developing an algorithm that predicts SCOTUS cases. The algorithm correctly predicted 70.2% of the Supreme Court’s 28,000 decisions and 71.9% of the Justices’ 240,000 votes.
So which approach is best? At Wortzmans, we believe that Lawyers + Machines > Humans or Machines. The most accurate method is a combination of experts, crowds and algorithms, but the apportionment of weight is critical.
Experts argue that a combination of a “super crowd” and machine learning could assist lawyers in framing their arguments to be successful in the courtroom. Law firms, corporations and banks could use a combination of experts, crowds and algorithms to predict how courts will decide a commercial matter. In the criminal law sphere, an algorithm, a combination of experts, crowds and algorithms could predict the likely sentence of an accused according to a specific judge.
Our team at Wortzmans uses a combination of highly skilled experts, review lawyers, cutting edge e-Discovery technology and techniques to give our clients the best possible results.
Canada’s Privacy Commissioner recently stated in a report that the RCMP has used Stingrays, contrary to section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Stingrays are cellphone surveillance devices that mimic cellphone towers, enabling them to capture data from nearby devices. They have several different names - International Mobile Subscriber Identity catchers (IMSI – catchers) or Mobile Device Identifiers (MDIS) - but all variations are used to conduct surveillance on cell phones in a specific location.
The report noted that the RCMP offered no rebuttal to the finding that its use of Stingrays were unconstitutional. The RCMP, in a statement, advised that the force had already taken steps to remedy the unlawful use of MDI devices, since they now require prior judicial authorization, unless presented with exigent circumstances (to prevent imminent harm or death).
The Ontario Superior Court recently held that $1 million to conduct a document review is not, per se, unreasonable. In Ernst & Young Inc. v. Essar Global Fund Limited et. al. the Defendants argued that they should not be responsible for paying the Plaintiff’s document review costs because their own review costs were significantly less.
Justice Newbould, however, disagreed. He suggested that an apples to apples comparison was not appropriate in the circumstances. He stated that “[a] comparison of numbers alone does not permit a conclusion that the expense incurred by Algoma … was an unreasonable expense”.
While we often budget for document review of our own client’s records…. beware – the buck doesn’t necessarily stop at the end of your own document review.