Yesterday marked the first day of operation for vLex Canada Open, the first phase of a major new legal research suite for Canada.

As I reported last month, Canadian legal publisher Maritime Law Book Ltd. is launching the research suite in partnership with two other legal publishers: vLex, a Barcelona and Miami-based legal publisher that claims to have one of the world’s largest collections of legal information, and Justia, the California-based legal information company that is among the world’s largest providers and supporters of free access to legal information.

Colin Lachance, CEO of Maritime Law Book, described yesterday’s debut of vLex Canada Open as a “soft launch.” It provides researchers with a free tier of access to Canadian primary law. Next month, two paid services will launch:

  • vLex Canada, a professional grade suite of tools and services for lawyers, together with support for library, law society and firm-wide implementation.
  • vLex Global, featuring case law, legislation, regulations, books and journals, and other secondary materials from Canada, the United States and more than 100 countries, enhanced with legal editorial analysis and commentary, and updated daily.

Last November, Maritime Law Book, which has been in business since 1969, came under new ownership, led by new CEO Lachance, the former president and CEO of the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). In December, Maritime launched a new case law research platform, Compass.

With this new initiative, vLex is taking a substantial ownership stake in Compass and its co-founder and CEO, Luis Faus, has joined the Compass board of directors. Justia has also become a Compass investor and strategic partner and its CEO, Tim Stanley, has also joined the Compass board of directors.

[Disclosure: Justia hosts and maintains this blog and designed its template, all at no cost to me.]