For legal professionals, it can be a challenge to keep up with the legal news that matters to your practice. Later this month, ALM, the publisher of Law.com, The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, and other legal publications, will release a product designed to address that challenge: Legal Radar, a website and app that uses artificial intelligence to rapidly deliver legal news personalized to the reader.
“Legal Radar combines the expertise and power of the ALM newsroom with AI and high-speed data processing to create a personalized news feed that’s very rapid and very broad in what it covers,” Vanessa Blum, ALM director of newsroom innovation, told me during a demonstration of the product.
When it launches Feb. 25, Legal Radar will deliver news drawn from PACER — the federal courts’ electronic docket system — as well as from everything coming out of the Law.com network. It will include updates on new lawsuits and filings in federal courts, federal litigation trends, breaking news, and other legal news reported by ALM journalists.
Summaries of new lawsuits are generated by an algorithm.
Customization will be a key feature, making each feed unique to the user. A first-time users will be guided through a series of choices to personalize the news feed by selecting the industries, practice areas, law firms, companies and regions the user wants to follow.
The service will be optimized for use on mobile devices, but can also be used on computer desktops. It will include the option to receive push notifications, either in the app or browser, for updates involving specific companies or law firms.
ALM says the service will be ideal for business litigators as well as for attorneys who want to keep up with industry and practice-area trends, get alerts for news involving clients or other firms, and cut through information overload.
The service will be offered for free in both the desktop and mobile versions. For some articles, clicking through to the full text may take the user to ALM publications that require a paid subscription.
The service will include news extracted from PACER as well as the full source documents. A story about a new litigation filing, for example, will include a link to the full complaint.
Legal Radar’s summaries of PACER news will be generated algorithmically, rather than by human editors. Although editors will not review each summary, they will quality-check the summaries’ overall accuracy.
The service will check the dockets of the nation’s busiest federal courts hourly and less-busy courts four times a day. From the time Legal Radar receives an update from the court to the time the summary appears in a user’s news feed will be roughly 20 minutes, Blum said.
In customizing the feed, a user can choose to track:
- Industries, including aerospace, AI and automation, biotech, cannabis, education, entertainment, fintech, government, health care, renewable energy, and technology.
- Practice areas, including antitrust, consumer protection, employment, intellectual property, product liability, securities and trade secrets.
- Companies, from the U.S. and globally, spanning the Fortune 500, major global companies and emerging fast-growth startups.
- Law firms, including the Am Law 200, NLJ 500, elite plaintiffs’ firms, the largest global law firms, and alternative legal services providers.
- Regional news covering all 50 states as well as some global regions.
Blum said that Legal Radar is a step towards ALM’s goal of providing news across a spectrum, from early awareness provided by Legal Radar, to analysis and trend stories provided through Law.com, to deep research and strategic intelligence provided through Legal Compass, ALM’s data and research arm.
“This is just the beginning of a new approach to journalism at ALM that combines human experience, judgment and insight with the latest technology to better serve readers,” Blum said.
Legal professionals operate in an environment in which there is an overabundance of news and only limited time to sift through it all. The challenge is even greater when it comes to tracking the news that specifically matters to your practice — your practice area, your jurisdiction, your clients and your competitors.
I have not used Legal Radar, but based on the demonstration Blum gave me, ALM has designed a service that effectively addresses legal professionals’ need to know about the news that matters to their practices. Users can personalize the news feed as much or as little as they want and then get updates in the manner they prefer, mobile or web.
Legal Radar seems particularly suited to litigators or those who closely follow litigation. While other options exist for tracking PACER, Legal Radar’s advantage is that it delivers these updates quickly, in summary form, and in an app that also serves up relevant news from the Law.com network.
Even for non-litigators, the ability to track news of practice areas, industries, firms and companies should be useful, even though it is limited to larger firms and companies.
The best part is that this is free. Although access to some of the stories fed through the app will require subscriptions, the news alerts are valuable, even in summary form, and the PACER alerts are delivered free, including the underlying documents.
In writing this, I remembered back to 2013, when ALM launched an earlier app, a Law.com app for iPhones and iPads that I praised for its “seamless, stylish and customizable interface.” That app is no more, and I do not know why ALM killed it off. But Legal Radar seems different, tailored to a specific purpose of delivering first-to-know, personalized legal news that I think legal professionals will find useful.
To be notified when Legal Radar launches, sign up here.