The international legal research platform vLex today introduced the beta version of Vincent, an AI-powered legal research assistant that analyzes legal documents you upload and finds relevant research results.

Vincent is in the same vein as CARA from CasetextClerk from Judicata, and EVA from ROSS Intelligence in that you upload a brief, legal document or court opinion, and it finds and it analyzes the document and uses the document’s language and citations to find related cases, statutes, books, journal articles, contract models, and more.

For now, this beta version of Vincent is available by invitation only. You can request an invitation here. I have received a log-in, but, due to travel, have not yet had the chance to try it for myself.

Although I have not yet tried Vincent, yesterday I was given a demonstration and briefing by Lluis Faus, cofounder and CEO of vLex, and Colin Lachance, CEO of vLex Canada.

Each of these document-analysis tools differs in the kinds of information they deliver. With Vincent, it finds similar cases, identifies main topics, and recognizes citations to produce a list of results that it determines to be relevant to the document.

Vincent differs from the others in three notable ways:

  • It is bilingual, so you can upload documents in either English or Spanish.
  • It delivers results from nine countries, including the United States, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Chile and Colombia.
  • It can incorporate search results not only from its collection of legal materials, but also from an organization’s internal collections, public sources and other licensed databases.

In the United States, the launch of Vincent is significant for another reason. It represents the first stage of vLex’s launch of a full-scale legal research platform targeted at the U.S. market. Beta testers of Vincent will get a preview of that platform, and when Vincent comes out of beta in a month or two, it will be rolled out together with the new U.S.-focused platform.

vLex is a Barcelona and Miami-based publisher that claims to have one of the world’s largest collections of legal information. As I reported in 2017, it was a partner in the launch of a major Canadian legal research suite.

In the U.S., vLex has largely been perceived as a foreign-law resources and its customers have principally been universities and libraries. But with the new platform, it will be seeking to compete against legal research services such as Casemaker, Fastcase and Casetext.

The vLex U.S. collection has some 20 million documents, including 12 million cases and some 700,000 books and journals.

Vincent is powered by Iceberg, the vLex artificial intelligence platform. As I wrote in a previous post, vLex initially developed Iceberg to speed the classification of Canadian legal documents. It subsequently rolled out a commercial version that it licenses to law firms, corporations and governments.

As with its cousins CARA, Clerk and EVA, one reason to use Vincent is to validate the thoroughness of your research. Upload and brief and see cases you may have missed. But it can also be a good way to start or expand research. For example, if you find a case that is spot-on to your research, you can load that case into Vincent to find related precedents.

I plan to try Vincent for myself sometime soon and write a hands-on review. As mentioned above, you can sign up for the beta and try it yourself.

The global legal publisher vLex, LLC and its Canadian partner Compass/vLex Canada are announcing today that they will support the Feb. 23-25 Global Legal Hackathon by offering up to 100 participants the use of Iceberg, an artificial intelligence platform for massive content projects that vLex initially developed to facilitate its own publishing of legal materials and then began offering commercially in 2017.

As I wrote last month, organizers of the hackathon say it will be the largest legal hackathon ever, “an intense 51-hour, six-continent sprint of legal tech education, creativity, and invention.” Organizers have solicited law firms, legal departments and law schools to participate as participants or hosts and they have invited software companies and developers to offer free access to their technology to hackathon teams.

Compass/vLex Canada is hosting the hackathon in Ottawa, CEO Colin Lachance told me, and is offering a version of Iceberg to event participants.

Iceberg was initially developed after it was announced last May that the Barcelona and Miami-based legal publisher vLex and California-based legal information company Justia would partner with and invest in Compass to launch a major Canadian legal research suite.

Iceberg was used to expedite the ingestion and normalization of the broad corpus of Canadian law and allow the launch of vLex Canada just a month later.

“In the months that followed,” Lachance said, “vLex established a machine-driven classification of Canadian legal topics, applied deep learning methodologies to create a process for dynamic recommendations of highly similar cases, developed a world-first personal research history visualization model and created an algorithmically-driven predictor for Canadian common law wrongful dismissal damages. All using Iceberg.”

vLex subsequently began licensing a commercial version of Iceberg to law firms, corporations and governments.

Iceberg is uniquely suited to projects that involve creating custom legal knowledge and analytics, Lachance said. Among its features:

  • Graph-oriented data representation that can fit any data model from document databases to analytic profiles, classification taxonomies or temporal events.
  • It can import/export structured data, connect to current databases using built-in connectors, work with imported data from crawled or public sources and from vLex’s own legal information resources.
  • It allows enterprise users to apply advanced natural language processing, machine learning and other cognitive computing techniques to extract insights and rapidly prototype applications related to internal or client information.

A modified version of Iceberg will be provided to up to 100 hackathon participants. Within the coming weeks, Lachance said, he will provide more details on the scope of functionality that will be provided, the pre-loaded content that will be included, the third-party integrations that will be available, and how event participants can register to gain access.

At a minimum, he said, functionality will include the capacity to upload a substantial amount of the user’s own data, the ability to link into vLex case law citations, certain legal-domain machine learning capabilities and well-documented Iceberg GraphQL APIs to enable users to build amazing.

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.]

One of Canada’s oldest legal publishers is about to launch what could turn out to be the country’s most cutting-edge and comprehensive legal research suite.

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

Now, Compass has announced plans to launch a major new legal research suite for Canada, backed by strategic investments from two leading companies in legal information publishing, 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 run by the original founders of FindLaw, CEO Tim Stanley and President Stacy Stern. Justia is among the world’s largest providers and supporters of free access to legal information.

vLex will take a substantial ownership stake in Compass and its co-founder and CEO, Luis Faus, will join the Compass board of directors. Justia will also become a Compass investor and strategic partner and Stanley will also join the Compass board of directors.

With these investments, Compass has announced, it will soon launch three new legal research services:

  • vLex Open Canada, a free tier of access to Canadian primary law.
  • 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.

“With the continued departure of small independent publishers and the nascent state of the legal tech startup market, the need for strong and innovative commercial competition to LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters in Canada has never been more pressing,” CEO Lachance said in a statement. “Building on the backbone of the historic MLB collection and the active participation of great partners who bring advanced technology and successful track records of decades of legal innovation and disruption, we will provide that competition.”

Lachance told me this morning that he expected the new platforms to launch sometime in June. He said that the services will effectively be two separate platforms, Global and Canada, with the Canada platform offering a free tier and a paid tier. While the global platform will include Canada data, he said that he expects its market to be more centered on courts, universities, government, and firms with international work, while the Canada platform’s market will be more for solo and small law firms.

Compass also announced that Canada-based legal market analyst Jordan Furlong has joined its board of directors.

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

 

 

The legal research service Casemaker has partnered with the international legal research service vLex in a joint licensing agreement that gives clients of both companies access to more of the world’s laws.

The agreement enables Casemaker clients for the first time to search for international case law and materials directly from Casemaker’s website. vLex clients will receive access to Casemaker’s full collection of U.S. federal and state case law, codes, regulations, court rules and constitutions, as well as its CaseCheck+ negative citator system.

Casemaker is a legal research service that is offered free to members of some two-dozen bar association in the U.S. It is based in Charlottesville, Va.

vLex is an international legal research service with materials from more than 100 countries. Its collection includes case law, contracts and forms, books and journals, and other materials.

vLex was founded in Barcelona in 1998 and Spain remains the source of half its revenue. The other half comes from the United States and Latin America.

The company is co-headquartered in Barcelona and Miami and has offices in Madrid, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Lima.