LexisNexis VP Steven Errick Discusses Lex Machina Acquisition

Following up on my posts earlier today (here and here) about the acquisition by LexisNexis of Silicon Valley legal analytics company Lex Machina, I had an opportunity to speak with Steven Errick, vice president and managing director of research services at LexisNexis, who gave me more details about the deal and plans for the future.

With regard to Lex Machina’s staff and operations, little will change, Errick said. Lex Machina will be a wholly owned subsidiary of LexisNexis and will continue to operate as a standalone unit. Lex Machina CEO Josh Becker will continue to run Lex Machina and it will remain in its current Menlo Park, Calif., location.

Most importantly, said Errick, there will be no job cuts or job reorganizations of any kind at Lex Machina. (My earlier post suggested that some Lex Machina employees were concerned about their jobs.) “There is no need for anyone at Lex Machina to worry or be concerned,” he said.

With regard to Lex Machina’s analytics technology, Errick sees it developing in several directions. Lex Machina will continue to develop and expand its signature analytics product, both within the IP arena and into other practice areas. Likely areas of development in the near future include into other areas of federal court litigation, such as securities and bankruptcy.

At the same time, Errick also sees the analytics technology being used to help power and enhance other LexisNexis products, including both general research products such as Lexis Advance and more specialized ones such as Patent Advisor.

Errick takes issue with any suggestions that LexisNexis has not been a technology innovator in its own right, including in the area of legal analytics. He points to products such as Litigation Profile Suite and MedMal Navigator as examples.

But just as LexisNexis has always taken a two-pronged approach to content development — either build it or license it — it is taking the same approach to technology.

“You either build or you acquire. My answer is, we’ll do anything — build, buy or license — to get the best technology.”

“We have an innovation roadmap for Lexis Advance. The question is, how do we accelerate that road map. This is an investment in acceleration. It’s also an investment in talent. They’re going to help build our future.”

Errick analogizes this acquisition to LexisNexis’s acquisition of Law360, which continues to operate as an independent brand with its own products, but which also provides content and adds value to various LexisNexis products.

“Our whole approach with acquisitions is to let them do what they do best,” Errick said. “If their technology and their team are leading the market, our approach is to give them the resources they need to continue that. Our approach is let the innovators innovate and try to protect them.”