X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The future of legal research indicates further development in the various online legal research services. These developments will provide more efficient and sophisticated legal research techniques and methodology for attorneys and law students, as well as members of the academic community. Both Lexis-Nexis (http://www.lexis.com/) and Westlaw (http://www.westlaw.com/) have either developed or have announced plans to develop new online tools for legal research. This article will address some of the new developments in Lexis-Nexis. A future article will discuss Westlaw and other online legal research services. Lexis-Nexis has developed the Search Advisor, a function that permits users to find legal materials according to specific classifications and legal topics. In addition, Lexis-Nexis is in the process of developing case summaries and core concepts as supplements to the introductory language that appears in each case. A history log has been developed to allow users to view the various databases that past searches have explored. These additions indicate a commitment to developing more efficient research technology on the part of Lexis-Nexis. These various developments are outlined and explained below. SEARCH ADVISOR The Search Advisor represents a tool that permits researchers to search deductively. Often researchers will be unable to pinpoint their search terms for the purpose of finding research materials. This problem may be a product of unfamiliarity with the Lexis system or simply an inability to frame a search query for the particular subject matter. In either event, the researcher must come up with a solution and find results. Search Advisor goes a long way in providing this solution. To access the Search Advisor, researchers should click on “Search Advisor” in the catalog of choices near the top of the Lexis Screen. Users can either type a particular topic into the query box or select from the topics listed on the screen. After making either of these selections, and in keeping with the deductive scheme of the Search Advisor, users will be presented with narrower sub-topics. After selecting one of these sub-topics, researchers can then select from various sub-sub-topics. Searching deductively presents a viable alternative to term searches. CASE SUMMARIES Case Summaries and Core Concepts are recent developments of the Lexis service. Further development can be expected with these new and innovative research tools. Previously, and still apparent with the vast majority of cases on the Lexis service, cases included a “Brief History” concerning the case and the “Judges” and their various positions with respect to the opinion. Also included would be a listing of the “Core Terms” discussed in the opinion. These features are still available in the Lexis service. However, Lexis has changed this approach. The only introductory material familiar to users would be the “Disposition” section, which provides a brief statement of the case’s disposition. The Case Summaries follow this “Disposition” section in the cases using the new format. Case Summaries provides three unique features. These new features are in the form of supplementary material to the general introductory sections provided by Lexis. First, the Procedural Posture of the particular case is briefly described. The Procedural Posture section details the various courts and proceedings which occurred prior to the particular case. Second, an overview is provided. The overview section deals with the court deciding the particular case. Overview summarizes the court’s holding on the issues raised before the court. Third, the outcome of the case is noted, i.e. whether the matter was reversed, reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc. Researchers should be aware that Lexis has yet to develop case summaries for all cases in the Lexis database. Researchers will find this feature only in recent cases, i.e. May and June of 2000. Lexis purports to provide this function for all the cases in its database, but the project is in its initial stages at this point in time. CORE CONCEPTS Also a part of this area of development is the Core Concepts feature. Core Concepts is comparable to, but not quite the same as, the Westlaw Key Number Headnote system. Core Concepts permits users to search for cases via the same headnote system utilized by the Westlaw service. The Core Concepts section follows the “Disposition,” “Case Summaries” and “Core Terms” sections. The Core Concepts addressed in the case at issue are listed according to topical matter. One of the interesting features of this service is that the listings do not follow the key name and number system. Instead, the listings are according to general topic. Users can click on particular topic listings per interest. After this is done, users will be given additional options. Specifically, users can select from Option 1 or Option 2. Under Option 1, users are presented with treatises, e.g. “Moore’s Federal Practice,” “Law Reviews” and “Legal News.” When any of these listings are selected, users will be given specific publications or parts of publications that cover the concerned topic. Users can select these materials in their continuing research. Option 2 permits users to search by natural language or by terms and connectors. The search will focus on the documents that correspond to the selected topic. Users can limit the Option 2 search by jurisdiction (by clicking on the scroll box) or by entering additional terms. Clicking on the “+” symbol below the Option 2 dialog box reveals a list of suggested terms which can be added to the search by clicking on the desired term. The results of the Option 2 search will be documents that deal with the selected topical matter. The text of these results (cases and other documents) can be downloaded from the Lexis database. The Core Concepts feature also provides a green arrow to the left of each concept. Users who click on the arrow will be taken directly to the part of the opinion discussing that particular concept. Again, the Core Concepts feature is only available for recent cases. FOCUS The Focus feature in Lexis-Nexis allows users to narrow their research, at no extra charge, by searching for only those documents containing specified terms. Focus can be used to narrow a search for relevant documents, or to narrow the number of citing references retrieved through Shepard’s. When using Focus to narrow a search, only those documents containing the specified terms will be retrieved (unlike the “Locate” feature in Westlaw, which still retrieves all documents pertaining to the initial search but indicates with a blue arrow which of those documents contains the narrowed terms). The Focus terms appear in bold type in the cite list as well as in the document text. FOCUS ON SHEPARD’S Focus is also available on Shepard’s. By using Focus on Shepard’s, researchers can limit the number of citing references retrieved. As with Focus for narrowing a search, Focus on Shepard’s retrieves only those documents containing the Focus terms, and places the terms in boldface type within the document text. On Shepard’s, however, the Focus terms are not listed in the cite list. In addition, Focus on Shepard’s will only retrieve citing references that have documents available through Lexis-Nexis. A sample Focus search might proceed as follows: � From “Federal Cases, Combined Courts,” enter “scouts and date aft 1/1/1999″ and click “Search.” One hundred nine documents are retrieved. � Select “FOCUS – Narrow Results,” enter “discrimination” as the FOCUS term, and click “FOCUS.” Twenty-three documents are retrieved. � Click on Washington v. Indiana High Sch. Ath. Ass’ . to retrieve the full document text. � Select “Shepardize” from the top right of the document. Eighteen citing references are retrieved. � Choose “FOCUS Search” from the top center of the page, enter “state action,” and click on “FOCUS.” Four citing references are retrieved. DOCUMENT JUMP AND TERM BROWSE Once users have retrieved the full text of a document, two new features available on Lexis-Nexis appear: Document Jump and Term Browse. Each feature is displayed as a tab at the bottom right of the screen. The “Document” tab indicates the number of documents retrieved. Users may jump from document to document either consecutively by using the right and left arrows on the tab, or directly by typing the number of the document desired into the dialog box on the tab. The “Term” tab indicates the number of times the user’s search terms appear in a particular document. Right and left arrows allow the user to browse documents for search terms, highlighting the terms along the way. Users may move either from term to term within the same document, or from the last appearance of a term in one document to the first appearance of that term in the next document. Users can also enter the number of the appearance they wish to view in the dialog box on the “Term” tab and click “Go.” For example, if a term appears seven times in a document, and the user wishes to view the part of that document containing the fourth use of that term, enter “4″ in the dialog box and click “Go.” The fourth use of that term will be located and highlighted in yellow. The Term Browse feature also allows users to bookmark terms they may want to return to for later reference. Simply click on the desired term to highlight it in yellow and bookmark it. The user can return to this term by clicking the left arrow on the “Term” tab at any time before highlighting another term. Once a subsequent term is highlighted, any previous bookmarks are erased. We would like to caution users that the Term Browse and Document Jump features currently are available only if Lexis-Nexis is accessed using Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. � Shepard’s Case Law Signal – Symbols to the left of a case in Cite view indicate how that case has been treated by other cases. Users can click on a symbol to Shepardize that case immediately. � Variable KWIC Display Format – KWIC view allows users to specify how many words on each side of their search terms should be displayed. To change the number of words displayed, click on KWIC in the top left corner of the document, and enter the number of words desired. � Custom View – This feature allows users to view only the portions of a document that interest them. Select “Custom” from the “View” options at the top left of the screen, choose “Clear All,” and then choose the segments desired. Only the segments chosen will be displayed. � Improved “Get by Party Name” – The “Party Name” option under “Get a Document” now has two boxes in which to enter the parties’ names, rather than the one box previously available. � Improved Footnote Navigation in Electronic Treatises – Footnotes contained in selected electronic treatises are now displayed at the end of the document, rather than scattered within the document text. A few of the selected treatises have the footnote reference highlighted in blue. Users can click on any blue reference to jump directly to the footnote text, and can then click on the green arrow to return to the reference. This feature is currently available only for selected treatises. Most treatises, whether one of the selected treatises or not, do not yet have any feature allowing users to jump from a footnote reference directly to the footnote text and then back to the reference. � Document Delivery – In cite view, a small box appears to the left of each document. This is the “tagging” feature that allows users to select documents for delivery. Documents are tagged by clicking once on the box to the left of each document. Tagged documents can be delivered using any of the delivery options: print, download, fax or e-mail. The forms for all four methods of delivery also include several new features: � FOCUS terms are listed at the top of the form, for reference. � A “Text Format Options” button allows users to determine the format of the printed document (for example, whether each document should begin on a new page, or whether search terms should be in bold type or italics). � A “Custom” option at the bottom of the form allows users to have only specified segments of a document delivered. Users should be aware that at present these new features are available only through Lexis.com and not through proprietary software, and some features are only available through Internet Explorer browser. We hope that eventually these new features will be available through all browsers. In addition, at this time, the Case Summaries and Core Concepts features are available only for recent cases and selected older cases, and the Footnote Navigation enhancement is only available for selected treatises. Finally, we would like to bring to your attention that you can learn about the new features discussed in this article in the “Take a Tour” feature accessible from the main page of Lexis.com.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.