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Major strides in our technology development

It’s been a while since the SSLA team has written on our blog, but much has been happening behind the scenes here.  We’re very excited to have moved into a production environment for coding private shareholder cases in our new, Drupal-based database.  Our previous database became too limiting in function and flexibility as our project’s scope continued to grow, and we spent quite a while experimenting with alternative platforms before finally settling on Drupal.  The biggest change is our new event-driven system, which enables us to track and update cases in real-time.  Each event in a case triggers a stream of data collection with backward and forward looking dependencies on other data.  Sound confusing?  It is, but suffice to say that this will give us the clearest, and most concise picture of what’s going on in a given case, as well as within the general securities litigation environment.

While development continues in our new SEC and DOJ database, we’ve also begun the work of UI / UX design for the public facing website.  Check out some of our mockups!

Our goal for the public facing site is to create a tool that will allow users to query our database using a near-limitless combination of criteria, with the results generating aggregate analytics and sophisticated, interactive data visualizations.  For example, if a user wanted to see a “baseball card” of statistics for cases involving biotech companies with market caps over $500m facing a restatement-related class action, they might see a results page like this:

Of course, while all this IT development is going on, our team of research assistants is busy collecting more and more data on class actions and SEC actions.  We’ve demonstrated early success with experiments in machine learning and natural language processing for data capture and are exploring ways to utilize this technology to expand the scope of our research into other areas, such as FCPA-related SEC enforcements.

Speaking of SEC actions, in light of recent stories of judicial activism in holding up approval of SEC settlements, Michael Klausner and Jason Hegland are working on a guest blog post for the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (a copy of the blog will be posted here, as well).  In it, we will explore SEC targeting of senior level executives and their subordinates, as well as provide a more detailed look at SEC penalties in these cases.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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