MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—While many of his classmates were pondering their future career paths, Luke Yingling was blazing his own trail.
The 2022 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law is the founding President and CEO of Analytica Legalis, a technology company that uses artificial intelligence to help lawyers win in court.
Analytica Legalis is the first company to quantify jurisprudence and analyze judges’ sentiment, according to Yingling. It was a finalist in the American Bar Association TechShow 2022 Startup Alley competition.
“We measure the philosophy of the law to which judges and courts subscribe, and we analyze the sentiments judges express in their opinions regarding facts, legal arguments, and other factors that are important to the outcome of a case,” Yingling explained.
To do this, Analytica Legalis extracts the text from all the opinions published by a judge in the past three years and uses AI to detect variables that are associated with types of jurisprudence, as well as sentimental statements.
Analytica Legalis’ service includes several practical applications for lawyers, says Yingling.
For example, they can find courts that will most likely interpret the law in favor of their client’s needs, and their legal briefs can be analyzed to assess the compatibility with the judge handling their case.
“We can provide structured, specific feedback on how to improve their brief to be more persuasive to that particular judge,” Yingling said. “This is where the sentiment analysis comes into play. We give clients access to emotional statements of judges drawn from their opinions, which allows users to make more compelling emotional arguments to that judge.”
Yingling says that the difference is between winning in court based on legal IQ or winning with legal EQ — emotional quotient.
“Other software helps litigators make better IQ arguments, but we are helping them make stronger EQ arguments with this part of our technology,” he said.
Analytica Legalis will also allow lawyers to research individual judges and their jurisprudence, education and work history.
Luke Yingling (back, left) presenting at the ABA TechShow 2022.
Yingling says he was inspired to start Analytica Legalis while studying the law after seeing an unmet need in litigation analytics.
“There was a clear lack of innovation in litigation-focused technologies,” he said. “There are many companies providing information about how often a judge rules for the plaintiff or defendant, for example, but no company was focused on explaining why. I wanted to create truly unique, first of its kind technologies to tackle these practical problems. Plus, the company allows me to combine two passions — law and research.”
So far, Analytica Legalis has raised around $500,000 in cash and services in exchange for equity, according to Yingling. An early investor is the company’s Chief Technology Officer and two other investors act as active advisors to the company.
“We also hire a variety of contractors, consultants, an accountant and attorneys, all of whom are based in West Virginia,” Yingling said.
While none of Yingling’s classmates are involved with Analytica Legalis, he did receive important support from WVU Law’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Clinic. Students in the clinic helped early in the startup process with licensing and legal needs so Yingling could manage the other challenges.
“If you look at the statistics about why the majority of startups fail, the common reasons include an inability to raise money, lack of adequate attention paid to customer discovery, failure to innovate, and so on,” he said. “The entrepreneurship clinic freed up bandwidth so I could focus on raising money and address other critical matters.”
Now that Yingling and Analytica Legalis have raised enough funds to launch, the focus shifts to tech development.
“We already have much of the backend of the technology in place,” he said, “but we will continue fine-tuning to perfect it and present the analytics in the most useful way possible.”
The success of Analytica Legalis is not guaranteed, but the future looks very promising. The company is beta testing its products with several firms, including one AmLaw 100 firm.
Meet Luke Yingling
Luke is a born-and-raised West Virginian. He grew up in Ona (pop. 5,090) where he currently lives with his wife and two children. In the ABA TechShow, Ona was listed with the location of the other finalists' headquarters. “It was a point of pride for me to see Ona listed alongside the largest cities in the nation,” Yingling said.
In addition to his J.D. from WVU, Yingling earned his Master of Public Administration degree from Penn State Harrisburg in 2019 and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Charleston in 2017.