Aah legal tech. How far we’ve come. How far we haven’t.

Today I am introducing Legal Tech Look-Back, a recurring series of posts that will turn back the calendar on legal tech news.

What was the news in legal tech five or 10 or 15 years ago this week? That is what this series will focus on.

Why? Well, curiosity for one. And, as I suggested above, possibly a reminder of how far we’ve come or of how little we’ve achieved. That is for you to decide.

But the past fuels the present, and together, the past and present fuel the future.

So let’s get started.

Lexis Advances

Ten years ago, on Dec. 5, 2011, LexisNexis formally launched Lexis Advance, its next-generation legal research platform, which succeeded the research platform formerly called Lexis. It was a significant milestone for LexisNexis, as the year before, Westlaw had launched WestlawNext, its most significant overhaul since it moved to the web in 1998. As I wrote at the time:

“As WestlawNext did for Westlaw, Lexis Advance does for Lexis.com, incorporating a streamlined, simplified, Google-like search bar that searches universally across all libraries and then lets you use smart filters to zero in on precisely what you want. Not only that, but Lexis Advance simultaneously searches the open Web.”

In 2011, the new Lexis Advance featured a Workplace Carousel of search folders and history.

Until then, Lexis had been “teasing” its new interface with the roll-out a year earlier of Lexis Advance for Solos, a flat-rate legal research platform targeted at one- and two-lawyer firms, followed by beta versions of products called Lexis Advance for Associates and Lexis Advance for Law Schools.

But with its formal launch of Lexis Advance, Lexis dropped those various targeted offshoots for a single Lexis Advance designed for legal professionals in any setting.

My bottom line on Lexis Advance was this:

“As a generation weaned on Google, legal researchers expect search to be simple and intuitive. Lexis Advance is a big step forward in that direction.”

Fast forward to 2020, and LexisNexis was once again rolling out the next generation of its legal research platform, this time with the launch in July 2020 of Lexis+, which the company positioned as a premium research service.

And with that launch came an end to Lexis Advance — not to the product, but to the name. As reported here in September 2020, following the introduction of Lexis+, LexisNexis retired “Advance” from the name of the older product, instead calling it simply Lexis.

Which, as you may recall, was the name of the product it replaced. What goes around, as they say, comes around.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.