I know what you’re thinking: Just because Ambrogi won a Canadian law blog award last week, now he’s gratuitously writing about Canadian stuff. But the fact of the matter is that I started playing around with Lexbox even before then. I am speaking later this month at the mid-winter conference of the Manitoba Bar Association and I discovered Lexbox in preparing for that.
So what is Lexbox? It is a free plug-in for the Chrome browser that helps organize and monitor legal research. It fully works only with supported Canadian legal research sites such as the Canadian Legal Research Institute (CanLII), the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and others. (Here is the full list of supported sites.) For sites it does not support, it can still be used to bookmark any web page.
For the sites it does support, Lexbox adds advanced functions to pages you view in Chrome. It literally inserts two types of boxes on web pages that contain buttons to perform these functions. The type of box it inserts depends on the type of page you are viewing.
The first box appears when you view a case or statute. It contains three buttons:
- Save this case. This saves it to your Lexbox account. A pop-up lets you save the case to an existing folder or create a new folder. You can also add a note.
- Set up citation alert. This creates an alert that notifies you of new content related to the case you are viewing. You can receive these alerts by email or only on your Lexbox dashboard.
- Email this case. This lets you email the case to anyone and add a note.
The second box appears when you enter a search query. It has four buttons that let you:
- Save this query. This saves your query to Lexbox so you can easily run it again.
- Set up alert feed. This creates an alert that notifies you of updates to your query. You can receive the alerts by email or through your Lexbox dashboard.
- Email this query. Send the query to someone else and add an optional note.
- Run a saved query. Use this button to run either saved or recent queries.
Both boxes also include a Browse Lexbox button that takes you to any item you previously saved.
Users also get a My Lexbox page where they can view their folders and saved documents, their recent history and their alerts.
As noted, Lexbox can also be used to bookmark any web page. Bookmarked pages are are listed on the dashboard.
Lexbox works only with the Chrome browser and an FAQ on the site says there is no plan to support any other desktop browser.
Lexbox is designed and developed by Lexum, a Montreal-based software company that specializes in the management and dissemination of legal information. CanLII is among Lexum’s clients.