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The High-Stakes of Bankruptcy Appeals Litigation

In the high-stakes world of bankruptcy appeals, it’s imperative that attorneys understand the lay of the land before entering a courtroom. Unlike Bankruptcy Court, most District Court judges don’t specialize in or have a lot of expertise with bankruptcy appeals, and knowing whether a presiding judge has a tendency to affirm, reverse, remand or vacate a lower court’s ruling can significantly impact appeal strategy. Similarly, knowing the expertise of opposing claimants’ lawyers and firms can confer a major advantage in court.

With the September 26th release of Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics for District Court Bankruptcy Appeals law, lawyers will be able to use data-driven predictions to drive their most important decisions about case strategy— and to gain a winning edge in bankruptcy appeals. Inside Counsel recently sat down with Owen Byrd, Chief Evangelist & General Counsel at Lex Machina, to the discuss the new Legal Analytics for Bankruptcy Appeals platform, how it will impact bankruptcy appeals litigation, and the trends and insights that can be gleaned from the data, including top appellants, top appellees, and more.

The new District Court Bankruptcy Appeals module helps attorneys find data-driven answers to questions such as: How many times have judges in the Central District of California reversed a bankruptcy court outcome? What is the median time to termination for bankruptcy appeal cases in front of Judge Sue Robinson? Which law firms have the most experience representing Bank of America in federal district court bankruptcy appeal cases? In which district court bankruptcy appeal cases have claims & liens outcomes been affirmed, vacated, reversed or remanded?

The new employment litigation module analyzes over 6,500 bankruptcy cases pending since January 1, 2009 and utilizes practice-specific tags critical to competitive advantage, including Bankruptcy Appeal, Individual Debtor, Business Debtor, Adversary Proceeding, Chapter 7, Chapter 9, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 15.

“The real-world financial and legal impacts of losing a bankruptcy appeal can be enormous,” said Byrd. “Insights into the behavior of judges, parties, and opposing counsel can provide the margin of victory in these high-stakes cases. Most district court judges rarely encounter bankruptcy appeals, making the process more challenging for attorneys and outcomes less predictable. That's why uncovering a judge’s tendencies, even based on a modest number of cases, can provide a significant competitive advantage to attorneys.”

So, why can knowing the expertise of opposing claimants’ lawyers and firms confer a major advantage in court?

The more you know about your opponent, the better positioned you are to compete. We all have latent tendencies and biases, according to Byrd. And, Legal Analytics can enable you to know more about your opponent than he may know about himself.

He said, “We expect Legal Analytics to transform bankruptcy appeals practice in the same way it has transformed intellectual property, securities, antitrust, commercial and employment litigation – by bringing more openness, transparency and competition to these cases.”

Contributing Author

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Amanda Ciccatelli

Amanda G. Ciccatelli is a Freelance Journalist for InsideCounsel, where she covers intellectual property, legal technology, patent litigation, cybersecurity, innovation, and more. She earned a B.A....

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