Quantitative legal prediction and the wisdom of crowds

Professor Dan Katz gave a great talk at UCL’s Centre for Ethics and Law last night .  You can see the slide deck here.  It ranged from his Fantasy SCOTUS predictor to the power of random forests of decision trees to aid concrete legal decision-making.  It turns out the best human predictor of US Supreme Court decisions is probably not some hot shot Washington lawyer but an actuary called Jacob, who can’t explain in legally coherent ways why he is so good at this (let’s face it, we’ve all been there, eh boys?). And that, in Dan’s view, “We have too many decisions in law made by single experts”: a point increasingly recognised by law firm risk committees, litigation funders and (naturally enough) insurers. His essential point was that ensembles of experts, crowds and algorithms are very likely to be the best predictors of legal outcomes.

A point of some note for those interested in how this all really works is Dan’s pioneering courses of Quantitative methods for lawyers and legal analytics.  You can see his courses online and teach yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s