You may have seen emails lately advertising the news-feed service Legal Radar. Legal Radar is being described as a “progressive web app” that is “ideal for … all legal professionals who want to keep up with trends.” Law.com’s parent company, legal publisher ALM, is behind Legal Radar. Basically, Legal Radar combines legal news stories from Law.com with short summaries about case filings from PACER into a customizable newsfeed.
Anyone can get Legal Radar who is willing to sign up with “a professional email address.” (What I wonder is, what does Legal Radar consider to be an “unprofessional email address”?) The only paywall limitation is in the ability to click through to Law.com articles. If you do not have a subscription to Law.com, you are limited to three full-access articles per month. BYU Law has a subscription to Law.com, so we don’t have any access limitations. BYU Law students should contact me if they want a Law.com account.
Legal Radar’s newsfeed can be customized in five areas:
- Practice Areas
- Law Firms
There are 28 industries (ranging from AI & Automation to Renewable Energy), 14 practice areas (including Environmental and Intellectual Property), and 9 global regions (such as Asia Pacific and Europe, but including several countries like China and Germany). Available companies come from the Fortune 500 list along with “closely watched emerging companies and other influential businesses.” Legal Radar also has about 500 law firms in its database.
Legal Radar launched yesterday, and I tried it out. Set-up is really easy, especially if you already have a Law.com account (I do). The practice area selection was very broad and a bit limited, but I was pleased with the selection of companies and law firms. ALM plants to add “transactional content” later this year.
The tool is designed to be used in a web browser, but it can be downloaded as a phone app by logging into Legal Radar on your phone’s browser and following the instructions there. Push notifications are available on Android devices but not for Apple. ALM will release email notifications soon, but I personally would avoid them—too much inbox clutter. News items can be bookmarked to read later.
An interesting feature are the case summaries coming from PACER. Legal Radar uses AI in the form of “natural language generation technology” to create the case and filing summaries after processing through the docket and filings data in PACER. Because these summaries are being produced by a processing technology, these summaries are too basic to be really useful. The big problem is that the summary doesn’t tell you what the case is about; all it gives is the party names and the broad category (copyright, insurance). In most cases, that’s not enough information to tell me whether I should care about that case. Still, the idea is intriguing.
Legal Radar is very easy to use and offers a great feature in its PACER case summaries, but doesn’t add much value yet to my news-following. I prefer to use emails from Law.com, U.S. Law Week, Bloomberg Law News, and Law360 with summaries of the biggest legal news stories combined with narrow topics customized to my interest. Scrolling through the news feed is too time-consuming and messy. I can see it being most useful if I’m tracking a specific company of law firm—the more focused the newsfeed, the better. I will check in periodically, but for now I prefer my tried-and-true news sources.