Image courtesy of LexisNexis
LexisNexis conducted a one-day summit for journalists, analysts, and bloggers on January 16 to meet the executive team of LexisNexis Research and Litigation Solutions (RLS), who discussed the legal software and information provider's business strategy and product plans for 2013, which will be unveiled at LegalTech New York from January 29 to 31 at the Hilton New York.
Steve Mann, chief marketing officer for LexisNexis, talked about three fundamental changes affecting the legal industry: demographics; ubiquity of technology; and new pressures facing law firms, such as law firm performance and outsourcing. Mann informed an audience of apparent Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) that in 2020, Boomers will comprise only 11 percent of the workforce. The mainstay of work will be born on Gen X (born 1965 to 1979) and Gen Y (born 1980 to 1994). Unlike Boomers, who grew up with TV technology, Gen X was introduced to Atari and Pac-Man at early ages and Gen Y has matured with instant and collaborative communication technologies such as texting, instant messaging, Twitter, and email, as well as social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, said Mann.
Takeaway: Gen X and Y have come of age with technology that is not only pervasive, but personal and up close. And they are bringing their technology to work with "bring your own device" programs. What does this mean for IT development and support? The bar is raised. The crowd who grew up with knobs and rabbit ears to adjust radio frequency was fairly easy to please. Now, however, IT professionals face generations that grew up with digital games, tools, and information on personal devices. Developing crowd-pleasing code on desktops will give way to customized software, services, and content that runs on myriad personal devices. "Mobile" is not the primary BYOD driver it's "personal" computing.
Dustyn Kim, vice president, strategy, at RLS instilled confidence in RLS' products and services by describing Lexis' Customer Discovery and Innovation program, which aims to discover customer needs and challenges that drive application development and software distribution. Kim said that all products go through CDI, which investigates customer needs through surveys, case studies, and in-classroom training to design software that is easy-to-use, collaborative, customized, and innovative.
One member of the audience challenged CDI's "innovative" development, invoking lessons learned from The Innovator's Dilemma and other pop culture. Whether or not satisfying customer needs makes for innovative, creative software was not going to be decided this day. Kim got the group back on track by discussing the importance of CDI in U.S. legal spending that totaled $325 billion in 2011, with $10 billion spent on information services.
Kim and Mann detailed some of the 2012 numbers associated with the CDI program: 25,000 customer interactions; 1,000 customer one-on-one interviews; 200 focus group participants; and 320 participants in CDI's Online Innovation Community.
Takeaway: With CDI, LexisNexis appears to know its target customers as well as their customers' needs and wants in software and services. As CDI affects the distribution of software and information services, the company does not assume the customer "will do what it takes" to access Lexis content. Compare Thomson Reuters' long-standing assumptions on customer interaction, observed by Bob Schukai, who oversees TR's mobile growth strategies.
Jerry Barton, vice president of global product development for LexisNexis, discussed the new Lexis platform vis-á-vis the classic Lexis platform (Lexis.com). The new Lexis platform is built on high-performance computing clusters (HPCC) comprised of optimized RedHat Linux computers, which primarily use Oracle databases, with some MS-SQL, on the back end. Business and legal information is marked up in XML and distributed to customers in a service-oriented architecture. When asked how the new Lexis interfaces with the old Lexis.com architecture, Barton said, "It doesn't." They are two separate systems. One day, Lexis content will be out with the old, and in with the new, but no one on the RLS executive team was ready to set the date.
Lexis' HPCC drives new analytical features in Lexis Advance 3.5, such as a research map that portrays a graphical display of past research sessions and a profile suite that views analytical data about expert witnesses and judges. Other new analytical features are incorporated into Lexis' Verdict and Settlement Analyzer, which helps assess and evaluate risks in settlements, and a new product, MedMal Navigator, which browses and searches medical content for medical malpractice attorneys.
LEXIS ADVANCE 3.5
The new 3.5 version of Lexis Advance has improvements for librarians, litigators, and transactional attorneys, according to Marty Kilmer, vice president of product platforms. It will have over 13,000 sources and include over one billion documents. The update includes additional content types, such as legal news, company profiles, SEC filings and analyst reports, municipal codes, scientific publications, and medical references. LA 3.5 will support Lexis for Microsoft Office, which previously only accessed classic Lexis. As part of the LA 3.5 upgrade, LMO will sport a new folder for RSS feeds from Law 360 displayed in the main user interface. See Figure 1.
LA continues its design strategy to not remake wheels, using Microsoft FAST and MarkLogic search functions. LA 3.5 includes enhanced court and jurisdiction filters and includes the ability to save the use of filters, applied before or after a search, as favorites. Preset search configurations can include filter settings and search terms and phrases can be expanded using a word wheel that includes the U.S. Code's table of popular names. Segment searches can now be used to search within a result set. When you drill down to a list of documents, you can see which documents are not in your plan and use the "access it now" function to see a free preview, which includes the option to save the document and buy it later. When you buy the document, you get the initial Shepard's report as part of the deal.
After the initial release of version 3.5, an update will provide new methods of alerts to content updates. Legislative alerts will track specific legislative events from bill text documents and regulatory alerts will track events in the regulatory process. The new version will also let you track pending legislation that may impact current legislation. See Figure 2.
Shepard's Citations also receives new features with LA 3.5. The citation service includes a table of authorities that lists cases cited by the instant case, and how the instant case treats the cases it cited to. New depth-of-treatment indicators provide an inkling of how much discussion there was of the Shepardized case. You can now toggle the Shepard's results view from a streamlined view to a full view of the report as well as sort the list by treatment level, discussion depth, jurisdiction, and date. The full text of a headnote appears when you hover over a headnote panel in the window of Shepard's results.