A New Legal AI Initiative Pledges to Demonstrate the Thought Processes of Judges

Credits: Emerj Artificial Intelligence Research

Bench IQ, a legal research startup based in Toronto, claims to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to assist lawyers in comprehending the decision-making tendencies of individual judges. This, in turn, allows lawyers to tailor their arguments to enhance their performance in court.

Founded by legal technology entrepreneur Jimoh Ovbiagele, who co-founded the now-closed legal research company ROSS Intelligence, alongside Maxim Isakov, former ROSS senior software engineer, and Jeffrey Gettleman, a former bankruptcy partner at Kirkland & Ellis.

The startup recently secured $2.1 million in pre-seed funding from investors including venture capital firms Maple and Haystack, as well as law firms Cooley, Fenwick & West, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Legal AI Concept (Credits: LSE Blogs)

Bench IQ employs large language model-based AI technology to provide “comprehensive insights into the decision-making patterns of judges, covering 100% of their rulings,” going beyond written opinions.

Although details about the technology and dataset are confidential due to pending patents, Ovbiagele mentioned that 12 large law firms are currently “pilot” customers, and the company plans to offer both on-demand, per-hour pricing and annual subscription plans based on firm size and billing rates.

The CEO did not disclose specific cost ranges or identify customers. Understanding judicial decision-making is deemed critical for formulating successful legal strategies, according to Marty Waters, a partner at Wilson Sonsini.

Cooley and Fenwick did not immediately comment on the matter. Bench IQ, presently staffed by Ovbiagele, Gettleman, and Isakov, plans to undertake rapid hiring efforts in the future.