Gone are the days when legal research meant heaps of documents. Today it means 1 simple click!
Legal tech is a path a very few tread upon. However, one legal mind thought differently. Meet Advocate Karan Kalia. He is an accomplished legal scholar who has furthered the legal tech sector in India via his venture called “LegitQuest”.
Laying the foundation of simplifying legal research
Changing and revolutionising how legal research is done is what lies at the root of this startup. The central ideology was to build an online platform where one would do legal research most efficiently. Of course, with the unprecedented use of Artificial Intelligence and legal data. Thereby transforming not only unstructured legal data but also changing the perception of the way legal research is to be done in the country.
This thought occurred to Karan while he was pursuing his L.L.M. in Pennsylvania. During his presentation on “Sources of Legal Search”, he encountered the gap in the entire fraternity concerning legal research on case laws. And he was thoroughly disheartened with the shortage that existed in the few online legal research platforms that existed at that time.
Existing platforms would provide with case searches but what was given as a result of those searches was the judgment verbatim which made the work of understanding the scope, reasoning, extent of the case etc., very tedious and prolonged. This, he realised, was one of the causes that made legal research a very dry and dragged-out job in itself. Though a handful of platforms did provide headnotes or case summaries, these could not be wholly relied upon. Because they were an interpretation of the case and not the text of the judgment itself. Thus, he began his journey, to fill this gap, that existed in the field of online legal research.
Giving shape to online legal research
It was in 2016 that a revolutionary idea caught his attention. Of a feature called iDRAF. The iDRAF feature segregates the entire judgment in itself. This means that the case gets bifurcated into:
- Arguments of Petitioner / Respondent
Thereby, the time that goes into reading and understanding a particular judgment reduces drastically. Moreover, it becomes the most reliable source as it is taken from the judgement itself. Along with this, the iDRAF feature also facilitates users with various other options like foreign cases cited, analysis, interpretation, discussion, statutes, majority concurring and minority dissenting.
The ups and downs
Karan was in USA when he kickstarted this idea, and his first major challenge was to find the right tech team to get the ball rolling. His cousins in Singapore connected him to put together the right team.
Thereafter, as the first step, a prototype was made!
In July 2017, this unique legal research product gained traction. And the founder was able to get Dr. Himanshu Puri, who holds a Ph.D. in management and double masters in management and commerce as the COO of the company. Secondly, he onboarded Rohit Shukla, who is an experienced IIT (Mumbai) and IIM (Calcutta) alumnus asthe CTO. Thirdly, eminent jurist Mr. Ram Jethmalani invested in this startup, and thus became its patron and advisor.
Then came a team of highly qualified attorneys, engineers and business and finance professionals. They together built this one-stop shop of legal research for the communities of attorneys, law firms, state judicial officers, law students, corporate, the government, consulting companies, litigants, and many other stakeholders in the legal system. One code line at a time. To make the practice of law simpler for its end users. The result of the hardwork, sweat and tears is the remarkable software, LegitQuest!
How it works
This online platform has in its database Supreme Court and High Court judgments right from 1950 onwards. Gradually, they are building upon tribunal judgments with bare acts. They do understand that approximately 30% of the time of legal researchers is spent online. Thus, their focus has always been to make that time useful by giving them the most accurate and reliable legal content.
iSearch: further simplifying legal research
The superabundance of judgments that are there in the Indian Legal Database is overwhelming. It makes the work of legal research and case law analyses extremely strenuous. That issue lies at the core of the problems that every lawyer faces. To overcome this hurdle, the iSearch feature was introduced by LegitQuest. This exceptional search feature lets the user search by using highly advanced filters like Judge name, party name, citation, bare act etc. for need-based legal research. For the first time in India, one can find case laws based on the final disposition as well. It further simplifies the legal research work by allowing the user to further specify the court, bench, year and disposition as its filter option. To minimise the hunt for case laws, it also provides the option for search within a search result and also has a filter option (i.e. filter within result).
iGraphics: adopting images and charts
Often, one would invest time reading and understanding a judgment only to later find out that it has been overruled. To prevent this, the team developed the iGraphics feature. This feature provides an easy-to-understand graph which depicts as to what happened to this case law in the future. One can also immediately see when the case was followed or distinguished in the later cases and also gives information on cited cases, distinguished cases, cases relied on, followed up cases, and overruled cases.
Constantly innovating in the field of legal research
You can even make notes of the judgment that you are going through on LegitQuest. You can then refer to them later, or even print and share them as well. Additionally, you can also bookmark the cases you have read on this platform for future references.
The first sale for online legal research
In 2018, the Company earned its first sale. And from that day onwards, there is no looking back. Now, it boasts of clients like Karanjawala & Co., Bennett University, Legal Cell – Delhi Police Headquarter, NLU Delhi and Maharashtra, GAIL, Income Tax Department, Supreme Court Bar Association and many more. This in itself shows the right validation of this venture. Alongwith that, it also shows the confidence it garners from its stakeholders.
Translations: welcoming other languages
The need for translation services and the enormous translation resources were not appropriately tapped. LegitQuest then decided to venture into providing translation services as well. So, now there is a new service of “Translation/Typing” on the portal. Whereby, it allows users to get the translation of the legal data in different languages, i.e. Hindi, English, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, etc. An efficient team of translators and typists do this on the backend, resulting in top quality services.
Another advancement of this company has been into the field of legal research wherein one only has to drop his/her legal query or proposition, and the prime researchers search from a database of case laws, acts, notifications, ordinances, bills etc., and provide the customers with the required case laws and a detailed in-depth analysis. Premium users also get a weekly roundup of the latest judgments delivered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the form of a newsletter, with the crux of the case law along with crucial sections and acts referred to every week.
They even provide a brief summarised version of the case law on WhatsApp now. So, the user reads the concise statement. And once he clicks on the link given along with it, he is directed to the segregated judgment in an instance. They are also planning to launch an app-based version soon.
LegitQuest surely has left no stone unturned in amalgamating artificial intelligence and legal data and is doing exceptionally well in the field of legal research.
Think of legal research like a jigsaw puzzle, but with some added complications. You don’t know the picture the completed puzzle is supposed to form, you don’t know how many pieces the puzzle has, and you have to assemble the puzzle under extreme time pressure. This analogy captures the two great challenges faced by lawyers performing legal research today: they don’t have enough time for the task, and they lack confidence in their results.”David Lat, legal commentator
Just the beginning..
LeqitQuest works towards helping the legal researchers solve this puzzle in the minimum time with efficient and exact results, which makes it way more productive than its predecessors. LeqitQuest helps to search through enormous shoals of legal data. Thereby, it is revolutionizing the delivery of legal services altogether. Think of AI, think of LQ. Here’s to simplified legal research! And to legal tech!