ANALYSIS: Data-Driven Research Hits Target for Summer Associates

June 10, 2021, 9:00 AM

In English folklore, Robin Hood was a skilled archer who always hit his mark. As a summer associate, you need not be such an outlaw to take aim and hit the bull’s-eye with your data-driven research assignments, but you may need to learn a few new tools and tricks.

For example, consider how you might approach the following assignment:

Your firm’s client has developed a stock trading application, and is concerned about the recent Robinhood litigation that arose after the company halted trading of the GameStop stock. A senior associate is drafting client guidance about what to do if a stock is similarly involved in a social media campaign that artificially drives up a stock price. For your part, the senior associate has asked you to gather a list of all pending Robinhood cases and identify what kinds of cases are being filed.

Where do you start? There are many available tools that go beyond traditional caselaw research. Let’s walk through some of those tools, using the Robinhood example, to demonstrate how you can add some new arrows to your quiver.

1. Do a Little Light Reading.

First, try a news search to understand the context that gave rise to the litigation. Understanding the basic facts gleaned from reading a few articles may help orient you to the case and the litigation’s current state.

If searching “Robinhood” alone provides too many unresponsive results, try narrowing the search by using keywords. When you do, you will hopefully learn the basic facts underpinning the litigation activity—and that there is a Robinhood multidistrict litigation pending in the Southern District of Florida.

2. Confirm the Entity Name.

Now that you understand the key facts, you will want to confirm that the entity involved in the litigation you research is the one you are looking for, as there could be different companies with names like “Robinhood.” To do so, first try a company lookup tool. If the tool’s autocomplete function reveals multiple companies—Robinhood Financial, LLC, Robinhood Securities, LLC, and Robinhood Markets, LLC—you may also try exploring the relevant company hierarchy to see if and how the companies are related.

After doing so you will learn that Robinhood Markets designs software applications and is the parent of Robinhood Financial, whereas Robinhood Securities is identified as an international brokerage firm.

3. Check Out the Analytics.

To get an overall view of the litigation landscape, you may also want to use a litigation analytics tool. By searching Robinhood Markets, you would find that most of the company’s litigation in the last year is pending in the Southern District of Florida. Robinhood Financial and Robinhood Securities have similar, but not identical, results.

This analytical research will help you understand that these are all related companies, but they may not all be named in every suit. You also will learn that there are several different identified case types pending in the district, including securities, general contract, fraud, and antitrust cases.

4. Search the Dockets.

Armed with a better understanding of the facts, the involved entities, and the knowledge that there is a pending MDL for cases related to the GameStop trading issue, you may now want to run a dockets search.

By doing so, you can find, review, and export all pending Robinhood cases—including the Robinhood MDL—and feel confident that, with all you’ve learned so far, you have the right entity and the right cases for your assignment.

Bloomberg Law subscribers can find additional resources on research, writing and document review, as well as how to use Bloomberg Law’s tools like dockets, Litigation Analytics, Points of Law, and Brief Analyzer on In Focus: Core Skills – Litigation and resources and best practices for personal growth and development on In Focus: Lawyer Development.

Everyone can find related content available for free on our In Focus: Lawyer Well-Being page.

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