Zac Best and Robert Hogarth are the founders of SettleIndex. Zac’s background is in digital product management and Robert was formerly a Senior Partner at RPC. SettleIndex a financial and risk modelling platform that enables lawyers to model, visualize and evaluate disputes and collect and use data to inform litigation strategy.
What motivated you to start SettleIndex?
Financial modelling and risk analysis are fundamental to the litigation process but are complex and often overlooked. SettleIndex enables lawyers to break down a case into a series of potential outcomes and model the financial impact and likelihood of them occurring. The software then crunches the numbers and provides a range of reports to help lawyers analyse risk and value in the dispute. It enables lawyers to present advice visually, be confident in the financial analysis, set and manage client expectations, and have a clear view of what a case is worth when heading into negotiations. Ultimately, it improves litigation outcomes, whether that means getting a better deal, saving client costs, or increasing efficiency and revenue from alternative fee structures.
How do you see your product fitting within the legal industry?
When we started, our product was very numbers-driven, however, we learned that lawyers responded well to creating visual case maps and decision trees as well as financial models, so our product is now very visual, as well as handling quite complex calculations behind the scenes.
Most legal disputes settle out of court, but settlement decisions are often more art than science. At a certain point, settling may be more lucrative than continued litigation, but it can be difficult to know what that point is without proper analysis.
What achievements and challenges have you seen so far?
Litigation is a fascinating sector that involves helping people and companies solve real problems and it’s a privilege to be able to help them do this. We’re working with several global law firms and numerous national firms, in-house legal departments, and insurance companies.
2022 has been a really exciting year for SettleIndex, we were accepted into MDR Lab and The LawTech Hub by Lander & Rogers, as well as working with our first institutional investor, The LegalTech Fund.
It has taken time to validate ideas, we started out with one software engineer which meant we were naturally constrained but it enabled us to focus our priorities.
What is your long-term goal for SettleIndex?
We want proper risk analysis to be a fundamental skill for all litigators. It’s a high-value strategic exercise that takes a fraction of the time spent in most disputes and has the potential to impact case outcomes for the benefit of all parties.
What advice would you give to those starting out in the legal tech industry?
- Read between the lines and ask open questions – not everyone will be explicit with feedback, so you need to be able to interpret what people are saying.
- There’s a perception about legal tech that it’s hard to get lawyers to adopt new technology, but in our experience, lawyers are very open to learning about new products and ways of working.
- Client service is everything – lawyers are very focused on their client relationships, so we’ve found it’s important to frame conversations through the lens of how a product can help them improve those.