If you have ever stepped into a lawyer’s chamber, you must have noticed the bookshelves lining the walls, stacked with law books, legal journals, law reports, et al. You may have wondered how a lawyer manages to read them all, and how he is able to remember which court gave what decision in a particular case, whether there were other similar cases in other courts at any time, and whether any references could be drawn from those orders. While legal eagles are supposed to not only have a razor-sharp mind but an elephantine memory, effective legal research is considered to be the bedrock of every lawyer’s victory in the courts. So much so, that legal brains are now turning to Artificial Intelligence in order to make legal research sharper, faster and easier.
LegitQuest is one such law-tech firm that has assembled a team of tech-savvy engineers, designers and attorneys to create an online database supported by unique search features that use natural language processing and deep learning to browse millions of records and get the most relevant results within seconds. Says Karan Kalia, lawyer turned entrepreneur who spearheaded this venture, “The USP is the intelligent search features that offer results in a more condensed and streamlined form, reducing the time required in studying the judgments and making research easier and swifter. Analysis suggests that LegitQuest users save roughly up to 40% of time in legal research.”
Kalia started LegitQuest in 2017 in association with Rohit Shukla and Himanshu Puri. The startup has secured a seed funding of Rs 3 crore from internet firm Infoedge India and venture capital fund WaterBridge Ventures. Former Supreme Court judges MB Lokur and AK Sikri are on its national advisory board.
While there are other online databases available for legal research, the differentiating factor offered by LegitQuest is its unique features. For example, iDRAF is a feature which helps users reduce the time in analysing the case law. “It uses deep learning and natural language processing to cull out issues, facts, arguments, reasoning, and the decisions of all judgements of the Supreme Court of India since 1950 along with that of various High Courts,” explains Kalia. Existing online platforms also offer such search tools; however the search results provided by them gave the judgment verbatim, which made the work of understanding it difficult and time consuming, he says.
LegitQuest’s iDRAF and iGraphics changed this by offering intelligent search results. The iDRAF feature addresses this by segregating the entire judgment into sub sections of issue, decision, reasoning, arguments of petitioner / respondent and facts. This reduces the time required for reading and understanding a judgment. Further, this feature also facilitates users with various other options like foreign cases cited, analysis, interpretation, discussion, statutes, majority concurring and minority dissenting, he adds. Similarly, the iGraphics feature allows researchers to see the treatment of case law condensed in the form of graphics.
Says Rahul Sinha Roy, assistant professor at Llyod Law College, and faculty member of Commonwealth Institute for Justice, Education and Research, who has used LegitQuest for his work: “It helped me find out relevant cases with just one click to reach to the reasoning and decision of the case. A feature like iDRAF has helped me save a lot of time in analysing a case.”
LegitQuest’s legal research engine is based on the freemium model wherein the legal database is absolutely free for access by anyone. It charges for the value-added features such as iDRAF and iGraphics on a subscription basis. Other legal services such as typing, translation and case filing for lawyers are on transactional basis where the user pays for on-demand service requirements. The startup is monetising the paid features since last two years and started its services vertical last year only.