A London firm has teamed up with academics to create what it claims is a scientific way of predicting case outcomes.
Hodge Jones & Allen said the modelling technique will help it to better assess the viability of its 1,200 personal injury cases.
Professor Andrew Chester, an expert in economic management at University College London, studied information about the outcomes of 600 cases over the course of a year.
Cases were assessed by the demographics of the claimants, the nature and cause of the injury, the type of defendant and quality of their solicitor, the number and type of witnesses, corroborating evidence and the time between injury and instruction.
Key determining factors to emerge in the prediction model were the age and working status of the claimant and the time between injury and instruction. Witnesses and reliable evidence were not important in predicting a win or loss, but became more crucial in achieving higher damages.
HJA said the study produced 'robust models' to predict the likelihood of cases being successful. The firm now plans to turn these into Excel-based routines to help make initial assessments of cases.
Patrick Allen, senior partner of HJA, said that these models will not replace the experience and judgement of the firm's 'exceptional' enquiry handling team, but would 'provide an additional aid to them in a world where it is no longer good enough to take a case on with a 50% chance of success and where fees are restricted to a few hundred pounds'.
The firm aims to test the model against actual outcomes and is looking to expand it to other areas of the business involving high-volume work.