On Friday, Toby and I got to get a sneak peak at the second release of the New Lexis product that is focused on the way that Associates conduct legal research. Since the first release was focused on solo and small firm attorneys (Lexis Advance for Solos – see our review), it makes sense that the name for the version that focuses on Associates would be aptly named Lexis Advance for Associates. The idea behind the focus on Associates is that it is reasonable to assume that somewhere in the area of 80% of legal research is conducted by Associates, and those types of researchers need a product that fits the way they work. We ran through a demo of the product with Lexis’ Marty Kilmer and Clemens Ceipek, and here are the details about the product that we learned.
Lexis Advance for Associates is slated to be released in the Fall of 2011.
Price: No Charge for Current Users
The solo project was an unusual approach as the Lexis sales team was focused solely on new users to the product. However, the Lexis Advance for Associates sales angle is going to be completely different and will focus on the existing customer base as an updated product, without any additional cost. There will, however, need to be a small addendum added to your contract, but it will be a short addendum that states that Lexis Advance for Associates is added to your existing product. There will be no “forced migration” to Lexis Advance for Associates, but Lexis will work to identify who, within the firm, would be best suited to migrate to the new platform.
There may be “additional services” that are developed later that may have a pricetag added to it, but for right now, if you already subscribe to it, and it is in Lexis Advance for Associates, then you can use it at no additional charge. Any new innovations will be announced before they are launched along with the prices for those innovations, and customers will not required to add any additional services.
Ceipek stressed that customers mentioned that they want predictability in pricing, and want to understand when they are going to be charged additional fees outside of their contractual obligations. Therefore, Lexis Advance for Associates, just like the feature in WestlawNext, will allow you to search all information within the platform as an in-contract search (even if the information returned is outside of contract.) The only time that an additional fee would be charged would be if you opened a document that is outside of your contract. However, you would see a red (out of plan) notice on the result, and once you clicked on the document, you would first see a snippet of what’s in the document (to determine if it is relevant to your research), along with a specific price of how much it would cost to download the document. You would also be given the opportunity to place the search result into a personal folder for retrieval later… only incurring a charge once you opened the actual document.
What’s In It? Core Offering
Lexis Advance for Associates will be set up to focus on the needs of associates and will expand beyond the materials offered in the Lexis Advance for Solo (primary law, Shepards, secondary resources), and offer things like agency and administrative materials, expert witness information, recent news (top sources for the past two-years), and public records access.
The Lexis Carousel will be available and offer Alert capability (including on-screen update alerts), Foldering, History, and Recent Filtering options. According to Lexis’ study groups, Associates are heavy users of these types of services and tend to return to similar pre and post filters when conducting legal research. Lexis Advance for Associates will offer “live support” including chat support available 24/7.
Lexis Advance for Associates also includes the “word wheel” functionality that is found in the Solo product, and has been updated to include the helpful “did you mean” capability when you misspell something in your search. Searches will be compared to the Lexis word wheel and legal dictionary to look for helpful suggestions when conducting searches.
Post-search filtering is structured to leverage Lexis’ legal taxonomy against the search results to help narrow the focus of the results based upon what documents are brought back. There will be more depth available here (granularity of taxonomy) than is found in the Solo product due to the complexity of research that associates conduct, as well as helping identify the correct synonyms within legal topics based upon the Lexis Taxonomy. Also, the idea is to help identify additional practice areas that may be covered within the taxonomies covered in the specific search results. For those associates that may not be familiar with a particular legal topic, the Lexis Advance for Associates taxonomy structure is designed to give that associate a lot more usable information to help get them to the answer they are looking for.
Delivery of Information Improvement
The ability to print, email and download documents has been improved in Lexis Advance for Associates. Again, any documents that are outside of contract will be clearly labeled as such, and you will have the opportunity to see a short preview of that document, along with the ability to folder that information for later purchase. The price of the document will also be displayed before the purchase is made. Additional delivery features like “copy with cite” and multiple document print will also be available in this release.
Folders are available for individual use, but at this time, there is no sharing feature available. That feature is in the works, but Lexis is working on issues of folder sharing and the hope is that it will be available soon.
Shepards is completely into Lexis Advance for Associates, and resources like citing reference signals are included in results. Any changes in those reference signals (for results residing in the personal folders) will show up in your Alerts page should any changes in the Shepards signals occur. Updating is conducted at your request and the changes would show up at that time. This was a conscious decision on the part of Lexis Advance for Associates, as the thought was that by making it a manual process, the researcher would then be made aware of the change, whereas an automate update may not be as apparent. (I’m not sure I agree with this 100%, and hope that they rethink this process before it goes live in the Fall. Perhaps integrate it with the “Alerts” function that will flag any changes in status of documents held in the folders.)
Legal Issue Trail
Legal Issue Trail allows the researcher to take language plus citation and find additional reference within the corpus of content that is specific to that language and citation. This is viewed to be a more precise tool than Shepards alone. This enhancement is built into the core Lexis Advance for Associates product, but there may be further enhancements to the product that may become a premium enhancement (read: cost more) at some later point in time. Lexis is looking to make this resource more advance and become an analytical and trending based product in future releases.
Not All Content Will Be In Lexis Advance for Associates When It Is Released
Because the Lexis Advance for Associates sits on the New Lexis technology platform, not all databases will be available at launch. So, there will still be a need to go back to Lexis.com for a while.
More Functionality, Features and Content Later…
There is a focus to built in more functionality, more features and more content into Lexis Advance for Associates, along with additional pricing when those are rolled out. We were told that any add-in features, functionality and content will be clearly laid out and won’t be a surprise to existing customer. Toby and I specifically asked about bringing in non-legal material (for example, Lexis brings in some business databases or scientific databases.) The “hope” is that eventually everything within the stable of LexisNexis and its parent company, Reed Elsevier, can be used on the New Lexis technology platform.
Set Up for Associates… But, Not Limited To Associates
The idea behind this product is to work the way associates work. However, if a Partner wants to use Lexis Advance for Associates, he or she can… same with librarians or research attorney staff. It is assumed that partners and research staff use the product differently, but they are free to use Lexis Advance for Associates at no additional charge.
Once Again… Pricing
I do have to mention that Toby and I asked about a dozen times about the pricing model for this product. The answer was always the same, but apparently was hard for both of us to digest. If you have an existing contract with Lexis, then Lexis Advance for Associates is accessible for free.
So, What’s Next??
Of course, we’re still months out from the actual release of Lexis Advance for Associates, it seems that Lexis’ model for new releases on the Lexis Advance platform is focused on specific types of users. Neither Jorge nor Marty mentioned what is next in the Advance platform. Perhaps there’s a “Lexis Advance for Librarians” or “Lexis Advance for Partners” or “Lexis Advance for Business Development” or “Lexis Advance for Law Students” on the horizon. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2012 to find out what that product will be.
Lexis Advance for Associates: Press Release
Here is a copy of the actual press release that is going out today: