What if you could condense 15 hours of work time into one? There aren’t too many people who would turn that down. Imagine being a worker’s compensation lawyer with a critical case, and it all depends on finding precedents to help the ruling go your clients’ way. You mull through databases, scroll through cases, hours upon hours, and still nothing.
CompFox to the rescue. Co-founder and CEO Chris Lyle’s breakthrough technology helps lawyers to find the cases they need in a fraction of the time. “I’m a firm believer in working smarter, not harder. So I always try to find solutions to make my life easier, and hence all the things I’ve built for myself,” Chris explains.
Chris’s path to creating legal technology was anything but linear. He grew up in the Mojave Desert and knew he wanted something else for himself. It served as motivation for him to leave and put himself through college at UC Santa Barbara. Shortly after, he started working in the healthcare technology space.
A chance project dealing with patents sent him down a new path. “I realized I could go to law school, take the law school bar exam, and then take another bar exam because I have a science degree. I could be a patent attorney. There are a very small number of people who actually are allowed to sit for both of those tests at the same time. But I did it. I went to law school at night while I worked full-time. It took four years, but I became an attorney.”
Chris met Ethan, Co-founder of CompFox, in law school. The two became study buddies. A couple of years after law school, Chris explains, “Ethan came to me and asked me, ‘Hey, do you want to start a firm?’ And I’m like, ‘No,’ because I didn’t know anything about worker’s compensation. Why would I want to practice that when I don’t know anything about it?” Chris had gone to work for a big firm out of law school, and he wasn’t exactly enamored. “I didn’t like how clients are treated like a number. Nobody cared.” So, after some analysis of Ethan’s offer, they decided to go for it.
Ethan does the legal part while Chris runs the business. “We’re a good yin and yang. He’s good at managing clients and managing cases. I’m just really good at all the hardware software stuff because that’s what I do in the patent world. I write hardware and software patents for people all day long.”
While working together, Chris saw an opportunity to work smarter and not harder. “Legal research is a huge thing. Everybody knows this, right? The only reason why people win cases for their clients is because they find precedent, which are other cases that support their position. They present those arguments to the court to persuade them to rule in their favor.”
There are several other platforms out there for legal research. “But,” Chris explains, “they do it as an aggregate of all types of law, all state courts, federal courts, supreme courts, and appellate courts. They’re all in one place, in one database. It’s everything.”
But, there are some different types of laws in other states that work differently. They have their own system, for example, bankruptcy court. In California, one of these courts is for workers’ compensation law. Since they are not part of the general court system, the decisions judges pass down in those cases are not readily accessible. While technically, they are public records, the only cases that people are aware of are the significant ones, like State Supreme Court cases or cases that are multimillion-dollar cases.
Chris elaborates, “The biggest problem or pain point for my partner in Work Comp Law is he can’t find the cases and precedents he needs to strengthen our cases for our clients. And even if we did find it, the whole research process, in general, is just so slow and tedious and requires a lot of reading and analyzing. So that’s kind of how CompFox was conceived.”
Together, they went and got all the cases and aggregated them. “We transposed PDFs to actual text, put it on a database, added a vector database, layered in AI search on top of it.” Chris explains that with CompFox, you can get down to a micro-search level, “You can find things that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to find in a regular legal database. And the whole goal is to streamline the process essentially.”
They even take it another step further. “So, we own the data of all the case documents. So, now we have a chat feature similar to ChatGPT within our system where you can talk to a case. We can give the chat a case and ask it to summarize it; boom, it summarizes for you. Like, ‘Hey, can you tell me what the key arguments were that the judges used to make the decision?’ Boom, boom, boom. And it does it all for you without you having to read through the entire docket, comb through it, or analyze it; you just ask the document questions, and it’ll give your answers. And that gives the attorney a quicker way to research.”
While legal technology is all the rage, the industry is plodding along in adopting new ways of doing things, new technology. Chris shares, “There’s so much area in the law space that’s just so stuck in the Stone Age, and it could be innovated and pushed forward, but nobody realizes it.” He admits that the people making the decisions and driving the bus, so to speak, are still stuck in a traditional mindset, but he believes the tide is changing. “I think we’re at that threshold right now where all the old-timers are leaving the worker’s compensation industry; all the young ones are coming up. And that’s where I think we’re really going to thrive with this whole AI research thing because all these other attorneys coming up will want to work smarter and not harder. Right?”
And, that work smarter, not harder mentality is not just great for the attorneys but also for the clients. “We just want to make it easier for ourselves so we can get to the end result; for example, if I can make the value of a case go from $40,000 to $80,000 just by finding a piece of case law that is on point with my case, and not spend 15 million hours trying to find it, that’s a win for us, and it’s a win for the client, too.”
To work smarter, not harder, visit CompFox.
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