In what it says is an industry first for a legal research platform, LexisNexis today is launching a multimedia civil procedure practice guide within Lexis Advance that includes not only text but also a series of more than 150 short videos embedded within the content.

The new practice guide, The Wagstaffe Group Practice Guide: Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial, is written by James M. Wagstaffe, former co-author of The Rutter Group’s Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial, and Wagstaffe is also featured in the videos.

The practice guide is available in three formats: a three-volume print edition, an ebook, or within Lexis Advance. Only the Lexis Advance version includes the videos.

Each of the 2-5 minute videos covers a specific topic in pre-trial civil procedure — such as e-discovery or the Erie Doctrine — and features Wagstaffe’s commentary and tips.

Wagstaffe is a partner in Kerr & Wagstaffe, San Francisco, and head of the firm’s Federal Practice Group. He is widely recognized as an expert on pre-trial federal civil procedure and is a prolific author and lecturer on the topic. He has worked with the Federal Judicial Center to teach all incoming federal judges and provide annual update seminars to all federal circuits on the intricacies of federal jurisdiction and federal practice. In 2014, the chief justice of the Supreme Court appointed him a member and chair of the Federal Judicial Center Foundation Board.

“Federal Litigation can be complex, confusing and intimidating,” Wagstaffe said in a statement announcing the new service. “In my roles as a lawyer, teacher and author, I have heard time and again from attorneys about the need for simple-to-digest, accessible content. I consider it an honor to partner with LexisNexis to bring this vision to life.”

LexisNexis will turn off its Firm Manager practice management platform on Oct. 31, 2017. This follows news reported here in January that LexisNexis was discontinuing sales and suspending development of Firm Manager.

A LexisNexis spokesperson said that the company will continue to support and operate the platform until Oct. 31, but that customers would be advised to export their data from the system in advance of that date.

Firm Manager customers should receive letters notifying them of the closure and providing a customer-service phone number for them to call with any questions or for any assistance.

LexisNexis is offering Firm Manager month-to-month subscribers a free one-year license and maintenance plan on either of its other practice management platforms, Time Matters and PCLaw. The free license runs from April 25, 2017.

Annual subscribers are also eligible for the free license and maintenance plan. In addition, refunds will be given to any annual subscribers who paid during the current 12-month subscription year.

In January, the company said it was discontinuing Firm Manager in order to focus on other products. An email sent in January said:

Wanted to share a recent choice we’ve made to increase investment in a number of key BLSS and LexisNexis® solutions. As we enter 2017, we’re excited about our growth trajectories and various opportunities in our portfolio. As a result of our desire to move even faster, we’ve decided to suspend development of, and are no longer selling, LexisNexis Firm Manager®.

With our existing practice management solutions (PCLaw®, Time Matters® & Juris®) going strong, and the market potential of our Enterprise solutions it’s the smart move to focus our efforts, and I’m excited about what more we’ll do for customers with this increased investment across the portfolio.

The email said that LexisNexis has no plans to sell or sunset its other practice management products, Time Matters, PCLaw and Juris.

LexisNexis first released Firm Manager in 2011.

Wolters Kluwer today announced that Jonah Paransky has been named executive vice president and general manager of its ELM Solutions business, a part of its Governance, Risk & Compliance group. ELM Solutions provides enterprise legal management software to facilitate workflow and collaboration in law firms, corporate legal departments and insurance claims organizations.

Paransky was formerly an executive with LexisNexis, where he last held the position of vice president and managing director, product management, in the Business of Law Software Solutions group. That group oversaw products such as CounselLink, Firm Manager, InterAction, PCLaw, Time Matters and Juris.

Paransky left LexisNexis in July 2015 and most recently was chief executive officer of SkyTouch Technology, the developer of a cloud-based property management system for hotels.

 

A new Silicon Valley legal technology accelerator launched by LexisNexis today named five startups selected to be its first participants.

As I wrote here in December, LexisNexis launched the accelerator to help give legal tech startups a leg up. It is based in the Menlo Park offices of Lex Machina.

The five participants were chosen from a list of more than 40 startups based on the interesting natures of their businesses and their innovative uses of technology, LexisNexis said. They are:

  • Visabot. An “immigration robot” powered by artificial intelligence that helps customers complete U.S. visa applications, including locating relevant open data about an applicant, guiding applicants in the process of gathering supporting documents, ensuring forms are filled out accurately, and drafting appropriate language to tell the applicant’s story.
  • TagDox. A legal document analysis tool that creates tags, allowing users to identify and structure information in a variety of document types, improving both the speed and the quality of the document review process; “tag results” can transform documents into easily readable summaries, checklists, database feeds or approval overviews.
  • Separate.us. A web-based application that automates legal document preparation for divorces and provides access to relevant professionals at affordable fixed rates, deploying a business model that targets both B2B and B2C customers.
  • Ping. An automated timekeeping application that collects all of a lawyer’s billable hours, capturing missed time and money, and operating entirely in the background in concert with standard legal billing software.
  • JuriLytics. An expert witness peer review service that attorneys can use to challenge their opponent’s experts with previously unobtainable credibility and bullet-proof their own expert’s work through vetting from the world’s top researchers (in any field of expertise).

The 12-week program is intended to help participants gain knowledge and expertise in a variety of topics, including technology and product development, running an agile product development organization, building a strong company culture, selling to legal departments and law firms, leveraging legal data, and best practices in customer success, marketing and fundraising.

In addition, they will have access to the full store of legal data available through LexisNexis and the ability to leverage relationships with Stanford University and other leading Bay Area schools, businesses, VCs and influencers.

Westlaw and LexisNexis are typically viewed as the dominant leaders among legal research services. But a recent survey found that Fastcase is in a virtual dead heat with Westlaw and LexisNexis among smaller-firm lawyers.

The just-released information comes from a survey conducted in 2016 by law practice management company Clio. The survey asked Clio users what tool they use for legal research. Out of 2,162 respondents, their top-three answers were:

  1. Westlaw, 20.58 percent (445 respondents).
  2. Fastcase, 20.35 percent (440 respondents).
  3. LexisNexis, 20.21 percent (437 respondents).

As you can see from the numbers, this is a virtual tie, with only eight responses separating the top three.

Next in order was Google Scholar, named by 13.6 percent of respondents, and Casemaker, named by 10.22 percent of respondents.

Two important caveats to note:

  1. Clio’s users are primarily solo, small and mid-sized firms. Larger firms are not represented in these numbers.
  2. Clio and Fastcase have an integration which may prompt more Clio users to use Fastcase.

“There’s no ‘big two’ in legal research anymore,” Fastcase CEO Ed Walters said this morning. “From now on, it’s the big three – and Fastcase is still growing.”

At Legaltech in New York today, LexisNexis is unveiling a new cloud-based version of Lexis for Microsoft Office that is natively designed to work with Microsoft Office 365. The new version provides direct access to Lexis research and citation tools from directly within Microsoft Word Online from both desktop and mobile devices.

This should be welcome news to Office 365 users. This new version delivers the functionality of Lexis for Microsoft Office together with the convenience, security and collaboration features of Office 365, which is compatible with any operating system and can be used from any device, desktop or mobile.

If you are not familiar with Lexis for Microsoft Office, it is an Office add-in that allows users to access research tools from within Office applications. From within a Word document, for example, a user can perform research in Lexis Advance, link to and retrieve cited documents, validate research using Shepard’s Citations Service, and create tables of authorities. It also includes tools for checking citation formats and quotations and for proofreading legal documents.

While previously available only in desktop versions of Office, today’s announcement extends this functionality to Word online in Office 365. Notably, the Office 365 version does not use add-ins like the desktop version, which can weigh down an application’s loading time. In Office 365, these features are available on an on-demand basis, which should improve their performance.

Features of the online version of Lexis for Microsoft Office parallel those of the desktop version, including:

  • Search for and find legal entities, terms of art, citations and more.
  • Validate cited sources with integrated Shepard’s Citations Service.
  • Link citations within your document to content in Lexis Advance.
  • Efficiently match and set citation format requirements.
  • Validate quotes against source documents.
  • Conduct legal research using Lexis Advance.
  • Store and safeguard Word files in the Microsoft Cloud.
  • Prepare and organize tables of authorities.

LexisNexis will continue to offer the original desktop add-in version of Lexis for Microsoft Office.

Ever since LexisNexis acquired the legal analytics platform Lex Machina in November 2015, the plan has been to integrate Lex Machina across a range of LexisNexis products and, in particular, its Lexis Advance legal research platform. Today at the Legalweek conference in New York, LexisNexis officially launched the first stage of that integration, judge analytics.

Now, as a user is looking at a case in Lexis Advance, if the judge’s name shows an active link, the user can click on that to access summary analytics about the judge from Lex Machina.  This will work only for the practice areas Lex Machina covers — patent, trademark, copyright, antitrust and securities — but Lex Machina is expected to significantly expand the practice areas it covers during the coming months.

The three screenshots accompanying this post show different portions of the summary screen, as if scrolling from top to bottom. As you can see, the Lex Machina analytics show information such as number of open cases, when the cases were filed, and the timing from case filing to significant events in the case.

Users who also have a subscription to Lex Machina will be able to start from the summary analytics in Lexis Advance and then drill deeper in Lex Machina’s full array of analytics.

Further integration of Lex Machina analytics—including attorney and law firm summaries—is planned for later this year.

This move is part of a larger strategy by LexisNexis to better integrate and leverage all its data across a wider range of platforms, both its own internally built platforms and external applications, Jeff Pfeifer, vice president of product management for North American Research Solutions, told me.

“Our overall objective is to organize our solutions in better and cleaner workflows,” Pfeifer said. “We want to support the data-driven lawyer, the person who really is using data in new ways to drive insights for their clients.”

The company has been focused on making greater use of emerging technologies such as predictive analytics and machine learning to enhance researchers’ judgments, he said.

It is also working towards enabling its users to realize a fully integrated workflow that ties together its four key products: Lexis Advance for legal research, Lexis Practice Advisor for practical guidance, Lexis Search Advantage for enterprise search, and Lexis for Microsoft Office for document drafting and review.

Yesterday, LexisNexis announced a step in developing this workflow with the integration of Lexis Practice Advisor and Lexis Search Advantage.

 

LexisNexis is discontinuing sales and suspending development of its Firm Manager practice management platform.

The company sent an email yesterday to consultants and others in its partner network notifying them of the news. The email said:

Wanted to share a recent choice we’ve made to increase investment in a number of key BLSS and LexisNexis® solutions. As we enter 2017, we’re excited about our growth trajectories and various opportunities in our portfolio. As a result of our desire to move even faster, we’ve decided to suspend development of, and are no longer selling, LexisNexis Firm Manager®.

With our existing practice management solutions (PCLaw®, Time Matters® & Juris®) going strong, and the market potential of our Enterprise solutions it’s the smart move to focus our efforts, and I’m excited about what more we’ll do for customers with this increased investment across the portfolio.

The email said that the company will continue to support its current customers, but did not elaborate on for how long that would continue.

The email said that LexisNexis has no plans to sell or sunset its other practice management products, Time Matters, PCLaw and Juris.

Practice management has become an increasingly crowded field of legal technology. Firm Manager launched in beta in 2011 but had a rocky start. It was later significantly retooled to make it faster and add new features.

In advance of Legaltech New York, which starts tomorrow, LexisNexis today announced a new integration of Lexis Search Advantage and Lexis Practice Advisor.

Lexis Search Advantage is an application that allows a law firm or legal department to conduct a search across all its internal work product and content and LexisNexis content simultaneously. Lexis Practice Advisor is a product that provides expert content, forms and checklists across a variety of practice areas.

The integration means that a search using Search Advantage can now include results from Practice Advisor, making it easier for users to find both their own organization’s resources on a topic as well as the expert resources from others that can be found in Practice Advisor.

In addition to adding the ability to search Lexis Practice Advisor, the integration adds new filters to Search Advantage to enable search results to be filtered to just Practice Advisor results.

The integration will be available on an opt-in basis to LexisNexis customers that have subscriptions to both products.

Following my post earlier this week about the benchmark report published by Blue Hill Research that assessed the ROSS Intelligence legal research platform, I had several questions about the report and many readers contacted me with questions of their own. The author of the report, David Houlihan, principal analyst at Blue Hill, kindly agreed to answer these questions.

The study assigned researchers to four groups, one using Boolean search on either Westlaw or LexisNexis, a second using natural language search on either Westlaw or LexisNexis, a third using ROSS and Boolean search, and fourth using ROSS and natural language search. Why did none of the groups use ROSS alone?

bluehill-whitepaper@2xHoulihan: Initially, we did plan to include a “ROSS alone” group, but cut it before starting the study. We did this for two primary reasons. One: the study was relatively modest and we wanted to keep our scope manageable. Focusing on one use case (ROSS combined with another tool) was one way to do that. Two: I don’t think an examination of “ROSS alone” is particularly valuable at this time. AI-enabled research tools are in early stages of technological maturity, adoption, and use. ROSS, for example, only provides options for specialized research areas (such as bankruptcy), which means assessing it as a replacement option for Westlaw or Lexis is premature. Instead, we focused our research on the use case with the currently viable value proposition. That said, I have no doubt that there will need to be examinations of the exclusive use of AI-enabled tools over time.

The report said that you used experienced legal researchers, but it also said that they had no experience in their assigned research platforms. How is it possible for an experienced legal researcher to have no experience in Westlaw or LexisNexis? Did you have Westlaw users assigned to Lexis, and vice versa?

Houlihan: You have it. Participants were not familiar with the particular platforms that they used. They were proficient in standard research methods and techniques, but we intentionally assigned them to unfamiliar tools. So, as you say, an experienced Westlaw user could be put on LexisNexis, but not Westlaw. The goal was to minimize any special advantage that a power user might have with a system and approximate the experiences of a new user. I think readers of the report should bear that in mind. I expect different results if you were to look at the performance of the tools with users with other levels of experience. That’s another area that deserves additional investigation.

The research questions modeled real-world issues in federal bankruptcy law, but you chose researchers with minimal experience in that area of law. Why did you choose researchers with no familiarity in bankruptcy law?

Houlihan: In part, for similar reasons that we assigned tools based on lack of familiarity. We were attempting to ascertain the experiences of an established practitioner that was tackling these particular types of research problems for the first time as a base line.

Moreover, introducing participants with bankruptcy experience and knowledge adds some insidious challenges. You cannot know whether your participants’ existing knowledge is affecting the research process. You also need to figure out what experience level you do wish to use and how to ensure that all of your participants are operating at that level. Selecting participants that were unfamiliar with bankruptcy law eliminated those worries. Although, again, a comparison of the various tools at different levels of practitioner expertise would be a study I would like to see.

I would think that the bankruptcy libraries on ROSS, Westlaw and LexisNexis do not mirror each other. Given this, were researchers all working from the same data set or were they using whatever data was available on whatever platform?

David Houlihan
David Houlihan

Houlihan: Researchers were limited to searches of case law, but otherwise they were free to use the respective libraries of the tools as they found them. It strikes me as somewhat artificial to try to use identical data sets for a benchmark study like this. If we were conducting a pure technological bake-off of the search capabilities of the tools, I think that identical data sets would be the right choice. However, that’s not quite what Blue Hill is after. As a firm, we try to understand the potential business impact of a technology, based on what we can observe in real-world uses (or their close approximations). To get there, I would argue that you need to account for the inherent differences that users will encounter with the tools.

With regard to researchers’ confidence in their results, wouldn’t the use of multiple platforms always enhance confidence? In other words, if I get a result just using Lexis or get a result using both Lexis and ROSS, would the second situation provide more confidence in the result because of the confirmation of the results? And if so, would it matter if the second platform was ROSS or anything else?

Houlihan: I think that’s right, but we weren’t trying to show anything more profound. For the users of ROSS in combination with a traditional tool, we saw higher confidence and satisfaction than users of just one of those traditional tools with a great deal of consistency.

Whether it is always true that the use of two types of tools, such as Boolean and Natural Language, will yield the same response, I can’t say. We didn’t include that use case. As one of your readers rightfully pointed out, the omission is a limitation with the study. That is yet another area where more research is needed. I fear I am repeating myself too much, but the technology is new and the scope of what needs to be assessed is not trivial. It is certainly larger than what we could have hoped to cover with our one study.

For what it is worth: I wondered at the outset whether two tools would erode confidence. I still do. We tended to see fairly different sets of results returned from different tools. For example, there were a number of relevant cases that consistently appeared in the top results of one tool that did not appear as easily in another tool. To my mind, that undermines confidence, since it encourages me to ask what else I missed. That reaction was not shared by our participants, however.

With respect to the groups assigned to use ROSS and another tool, did you measure how much (or how) they used one or the other?

Houlihan: We did, but we opted to not report on it. The relative use of one tool or another varied between researchers. As a group, we did observe that participants tended to rely more on the alternative tool for the initial questions and to increase their reliance on ROSS over the course of the study. I believe we make a note about it in the report. However, we did not find that this was a sufficiently strong or significant trend to warrant any deeper commentary without more study.

(This question comes from a comment to the original post.) It appears that the Westlaw and Lexis results are combined in the “natural language” category. That causes me to wonder if one or the other exceeded ROSS in its results and they were combined to obscure that.

Houlihan: The reason we combined the tools was because we never intended to compare Westlaw v. ROSS or Lexis v. ROSS. We were interested in how our use case compared to traditional technology types used in legal research. We used both Lexis & Westlaw within each assessment group to try to get a merged view of the technology type that wasn’t overly colored by the idiosyncrasies that the particular design of a tool might bring. In fact, we debated whether to mention that Westlaw or LexisNexis tools were used in the study at all. Ultimately, we identified them as a sign that we were comparing our use case to commonly used versions of those technology types. As for how individual tools performed, all I feel with can say reliably is that we did not observe any significant variation in outcomes for different tools of the same type.

A huge thanks to David Houlihan for taking the time to answer these. The full report can be downloaded from the ROSS Intelligence website.