I wrote here in October about the launch of Lexis Advance for Solos, the LexisNexis flat-rate legal research platform for one- and two-lawyer firms. This week, Lexis rolled out a new app that allows lawyers who subscribe to Advance to use it from their iPhones. The app lets you search by text or citation “instantly,” meaning [...]
TAG | LexisNexis
A busy schedule has kept me from reviewing Lexis Advance for Solos, the new LexisNexis legal research platform for one- and two-lawyer firms that LexisNexis released earlier this week. Today, I finally had a chance to sit down (in the virtual sense) with Lexis executives for a tour.
There have already been several thoughtful reviews. I recommend that you read the reviews written by Sean Doherty, Greg Lambert, Joe Hodnicki and Little Richard. The common thread running through these is that the reviewers generally give it thumbs-up.
Add my thumbs to the list. Three features make this a product worth the consideration of any solo:
- Easy, intuitive search. If you can use Google, you can use Lexis Advance.
- Flat-rate pricing. Advance costs $175 a month for a solo. No more, no less. Add another lawyer for $140 a month. Your paralegal is included in your subscription.
- A comprehensive library. No cutting of corners here. You get a full-fledged research library that includes primary law from all 50 states, Shepard’s Citations, dockets, jury verdicts, expert witness transcripts and more.
Let me go into a bit more detail about these features. Let me add the caveat that I was given a demonstration via Microsoft Live Meeting but did not get in and take a test drive on my own.
Dominating the Lexis Advance home page is “the big red box,” as Marty Kilmer, the LexisNexis “product champion” who gave me the demonstration of Advance, called it, although he added that he prefers to describe it as “an invitation to search.”
It is a Google-like search bar and functions in much the same way. A single search covers all libraries. Search using natural language or Boolean phrases. Click “search options” to bring up a pop-up menu that will help you construct a Boolean search.
To assist you as you enter a search, a drop-down list of words and phrases appears as you type your query, so you can select from the list. The same happens for names of well-known cases, so if you start to type “roe,” the case Roe v. Wade will appear in the suggestion list.
If you would rather not search across all libraries, you can prefilter search results by content type (e.g., cases, statutes, etc.), jurisdiction or practice area.
Once you’ve run a search, results appear in a window with tabs across the top for content type. Thus, you can click on the tabs to see results within cases, statutes, analytical materials, briefs and pleadings, jury instructions, etc.
A panel on the left side of the results screen enables furthering filtering along a number of parameters, including by jurisdiction and court. A timeline histogram not only allows filtering by date but also illustrates historical activity related to the search query.
When you conduct a search, Advance also searches the open Web and includes those results under a separate tab. These are websites selected by Lexis editors as those most useful to legal professionals. That means you are not searching all of the Web, but sites more likely to contain relevant information.
Users can create up to 500 folders or subfolders to keep track of their research. Store full documents here or select and annotate snippets. The folders are saved for as long as you remain a subscriber. Advance also retains your search history so you can easily retrace your steps.
Advance uses tabbed browsing so that search windows remain open as you view results and individual documents in new tabs.
Advance includes a beta search feature called Legal Issue Trail (for which Lexis has applied for a patent). Turn it on, and it highlights segments of text that represent discrete points of law. Click on any of the highlighted segments to run a search on that specific point of law.
As I said above, Advance is offered at the flat-rate subscription price of $175 a month. A second lawyer is $140 a month. At this point, no lawyers beyond two are allowed — Advance for Solos is only for solos and duos. However, if you have paralegals, they can get passwords under your subscription for no extra cost.
A contract is required of at least a year. As an introductory offer for new users, Lexis is including access to its 24 most popular treatises for the term of the initial contract, up to three years. If you sign up for a one-year contract, you get the extra treatises for just a year.
The price includes 24/7 telephone support at no extra cost. Lexis believes that Advance is so easy to use that it will reduce the overall volume of support calls, even with free round-the-clock support.
What it Includes
For that flat monthly fee, you get access to a generous array of LexisNexis materials. They include:
- Primary law from all U.S. states and territories, including all federal and state case law available on traditional LexisNexis, all LexisNexis headnotes and case summaries, and all available statutes and constitutions.
- Shepard’s citations service.
- LexisNexis jury verdicts, briefs, pleadings and motions, including premium materials from IDEX.
- LexisNexis CourtLink content, including its full collection of dockets.
- Expert witness transcripts, depositions and curricula vitae.
Those analytical materials and treatises I mentioned above include Moore’s Federal Practice, Nimmer on Copyright, Milgrim on Trade Secrets, Corbin on Contracts, Bender’s Federal Practice Forms and more.
Click here for a PDF brochure with a complete list of materials included in Lexis Advance: Lexis Advance for Solos Content Summary.
What’s Missing from Advance
Having only seen a demonstration, it is difficult to say much about shortcomings or glitches in Lexis Advance. One important aspect to note is that the walls around the content library are made of brick. By that I mean that you cannot access LexisNexis libraries outside your subscription even if you want to. This is one price and one set of resources.
One relatively minor issue is that you can print from Advance only via your browser’s print function. There is no capacity to print directly to a word processing document. Similarly, there is no ability to e-mail a document from within Advance, other than by sending a page via your browser. (You can toggle full-page mode as you view a document, which eliminates the sidebar panels.)
Another shortcoming right now is that you cannot share folders. As I said above, you can create up to 500 folders and use them to store research, clips, documents and whatever. But only the subscriber can access these folders.
Lexis says sharing, printing and e-mailing are all on the to-do list and will all be made available at some point down the road. Exactly when, they would not say.
Also on the to-do list is to add more content to Advance. Again, however, the company is not saying what content or when, only that it’s working “full-steam ahead on future enhancements.”
A Glimpse of the Future
Lexis Advance for Solos is an advance look at a line of products Lexis will be rolling out for various user groups. While they may not all look exactly alike or share precisely the same features, they will all be built on the same basic platform.
Clemens Ceipek, the LexisNexis vice president who is directing the company’s “New Lexis” initiative, said that the development of Advance is the single-biggest investment the company has ever made. Everything about it is new technology, designed from scratch. Extensive efforts were made to get input and feedback from users, he said, including 30,000 interactions with customers.
Notably, new iterations of Advance will be tailored to user type, not firm type, Ceipek said. They will all be alike in that they will all share the ability to search across libraries with a single search. But they will differ depending on whether they are targeted to law librarians, transactional lawyers, litigators, or what have you.
The Bottom Line
As I said at the outset, based on my guided tour of Lexis Advance for Solos, I give it two thumbs up. It offers a comprehensive library of resources and materials from a leading legal publisher, all wrapped in an intuitive search and display environment, and delivered for a reasonable and predictable monthly price.
With all the lawyer-ranking sites already out there, I wasn’t surprised to see yet another one make its debut. But as I looked under the skin of this latest entrant, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The independent authority evaluates each attorney at law based several identified factors depending on the field of expertise. An assigned experienced research team reviews case history and firm expertise on the targeted field of practice taking into account specialized state variances on the legal issues. The team analyzes information provided by each firm, and compares that against the market of lawyers throughout the state. Once the evaluation is complete, the team compiles the overall data, and assigns each firm a ranking.
So far so good. I decided to check my state, Massachusetts, and see who the site selected as the best attorneys here. I started with intellectual property, and came to a page titled, Top 10 Intellectual Property Lawyers in Massachusetts.”
Imagine my surprise to see there, listed as the third best IP lawyer in all of Massachusetts, Susan Lillis. Now, I know Susan. As a matter of fact, she is a friend and neighbor. She is a very good lawyer. She is undoubtedly one of the very best in the state at what she does. But what she does is not IP. It is not now and never has been. As her Web site says, she practices family law and she has concentrated in family law since 1985.
Who else made the list of the top-10 IP lawyers in Mass.? Well, coming in at number six is Peter C. Hardy. According to his Web site, he practices real estate, probate law, wills, trusts, estates, estate planning, corporations, conveyancing, elder law, Medicaid planning and administration. Peter does a variety of things, it appears, but not IP.
Coming in at number nine is Richard A. Toelke, a partner with Bingham McCutchen. Oddly, even though he is, in fact, in Boston, the site lists him as located in Hartford, which, last time I checked, was not in Massachusetts. More to the point, Toelke does not practice IP law. Rather, he is co-chair of Bingham’s real estate practice.
Ah, but we’ve saved the best of BestAttorneysOnline for last. Remember, this is a site that says it independently investigates and evaluates each ranked attorney using an experienced research team. So who did these diligent researchers rank as the 10th best IP attorney in Massachusetts? They gave that honor to Joseph H. Flom, name partner in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. No doubt, Flom merits inclusion on any number of top-lawyer lists. But not this one. Neither is he in Massachusetts nor does he practice IP law. Based in New York City, he is, as his bio says, “widely recognized as one of the leading attorneys practicing in the merger and acquisition area.”
So there you have it. At least four of this site’s picks for the top 10 IP lawyers in Mass. do not practice IP law or even dabble in it. One of the top 10 is not even in Mass.
Need I say more about this site? How about, buyer (and lawyer) beware!
The former founder and CEO of a biotechnology company who was indicted and convicted of federal criminal charges has written a 640-page guidebook to help others who face federal criminal charges. The book, The Federal Criminal Defendant’s Guide, is billed as “a blueprint to guide you throughout the entire process from indictment to probable incarceration.” It includes instructions for defendants “on how to calculate and reduce their sentences and obtain the best possible facilities.”
The book’s Web site provides little information about the author, T.C. Moses. I could find nothing about him on Google. The preface says this about him:
T.C. Moses is a former Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of a publicly-traded biotechnology company. After earning his degree in engineering and spending ten years in the biotechnology industry, he built his own company in the early 1990s. Later — after his own unsuccessful fight for justice — he set out to help others who, one day, may find themselves facing federal indictment. Currently he is writing “Behind the Fence: An insider’s perspective,” an insider’s take on how to survive pre- and post incarceration.
A clear theme of the book is that it is the foolish defendant who leaves the defense entirely to the lawyers. In the book’s introduction, the author says that he interviewed hundreds of current and former federal inmates.
Most of those interviewed acknowledged that the worst decision they had made was in “just letting the lawyers handle it.” The overwhelming majority said they would have received a shorter sentence had they been more knowledgeable of what it was going to take to survive the indictment. Many inmates felt their attorneys had either done a poor job or had been negligent when informing them of their indictments and subsequent prosecutions.
The book sells for the princely sum of $189, which its Web site points out is “less than the cost of an hour with an attorney.”
At ABA Techshow last week, Rob LaGatta and Colin O’Keefe of LexConference recorded a series of video interviews with organizers, speakers and attendees. They did a great job and I encourage everyone to view the full series. I was one of the people they interviewed, as you can see below.
Thank you to everyone who pointed out that my Web site and blogs disappeared this morning. Something went wrong with my ISP. The best information I could obtain came from its Web site, which said, “We’re currently experiencing issues with customer websites being served correctly.” Thanks, but I knew that.
This the second time in a week my Web site disappeared. The first time, it shut me down after failing to notify me that the credit card I had on file had expired. When a customer service rep insisted I had been sent notice, he at first could find no record of it then claimed to have found an e-mail sent to a long-discontinued e-mail address. When I pointed out that I had revised my e-mail contact info some time ago and received many e-mails from the company at my correct address, he explained that cancellation notices were sent from a different server that had never been updated with my correct information.
Because the company is headquartered in my home state of Massachusetts, I tried to contact the general counsel to suggest that he have his company review its policies and practices. He never responded to me.
I have been with the company, BlueDomino, since 2001, with only occasional and minor problems. It, in the meantime, has been through at least one and perhaps multiple changes of ownership. I hate to contemplate changing my ISP, but I’m not I have a choice any longer.
So, any suggestions?
And it would be nice if the ISP also offers pre-installed WordPress, because it may also be time for me to move off Blogger.
Today is the last day of voting for the readers’ favorites among the ABA Journal Blawg 100. While my own blog’s tally in the vote has been paltry (I’m in the Lawyer’s Toolkit section, should you wish to soothe my embarrassment), some others have been rallying the vote with great success. Looks like the top vote-getter so far is Instapundit, who is comfortably over 4,000 votes, followed by Unclaimed Territory with more than 1,600 votes, both in the category Politics for Sport.
In the Generally Speaking category, QuizLaw has the lead as I write this, with just under 1,000 votes. But second-place Overlawyered is not going down without a fight: author Walter Olson has posted an appeal to help his blog win — and ruin someone’s day. Some higher-ups at the ABA regard his blog “as the web equivalent of hot buttered death,” he explains, adding, “Who can deny that it would be amusing to tick off that second group by having Overlawyered win the ABA’s own contest?”
As for the folks as Quizlaw, I guess they just don’t want a repeat of their second-place finish last year in my own top law blogs contest.