LEXIS-NEXIS Consolidates Legal Brands, Introduces Research System

Article excerpt

Paula J. Hane, co-editor with Barbara Quint for NewsBreaks, is contributing editor of Information Today. Her e-mail address is paula.hane@cwix.com.

The information industry is experiencing the same incidence of mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring that we see in other industries, so it is no surprise that LEXIS-NEXIS has been acquiring key legal information brands over the last few years to add to its arsenal. The company has now taken the next logical step in restructuring its business units to pull together complementary strengths in content and technology-a tactic used by a number of major industry players recently. At the July annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries, the LEXIS-NEXIS Group announced the formation of LEXIS Publishing, which brings together five brands as a separate legal business unit. These include LEXIS, SHEPARD'S, Matthew Bender, Martindale-Hubbell, and MICHIE. In addition, the company announced the launch of lexis.com, a revamped Web-based legal research system, which will provide combined content from these brands and new tools for finding, analyzing, and validating information.

Hans Gieskes, president and CEO, LEXIS-NEXIS Group, said that the LEXIS Publishing organization will be headed by Paul W. A. Brown as president and Nicholas R. Emrick as chief operating officer. "Once we acquired an interest in Matthew Bender and SHEPARD'S last year, we were in a position to provide attorneys with complete content: case law, codes, forms, news and financial information, public records, a citations service and legal analysis," Brown said. "We are tying this together through a legal research system that offers productivity and task-based value to meet lawyers' time pressures and their need to be absolutely correct."

The first phase of the legal research system launched with a new Web interface last month (at which time the Xchange Web service was slated to be removed), with the next stage of enhancements scheduled for the first quarter of 2000. The new system is being publicized as an "exclusive mix of rich intellectual property, innovative technology, and deep editorial expertise." The press release boldly states that it "presents a superior alternative to the West Key Number System and headnote hierarchy. The company reportedly developed the new system with input from more than 6,000 members of the legal community.

Search Advisor, a key component of the new system, is a new finding tool for legal materials that is based on areas of law and related topics. It provides access to cases and treatises, law review articles, and legal news. LEXIS Search Advisor can target a legal issue, identify an appropriate source, and formulate a research request. Researchers can create effective searches by pointing and clicking on selected legal topics, as well as related legal terms. Another finding tool, Searchable Core Terms, allows researchers to focus on specific words or phrases of particular significance within case law and agency documents. Core Term searches may be conducted with LEXIS Search Advisor or independently.

The first quarter of 2000 will see the introduction of Case Summaries, which are concise summaries of the essential issues and outcomes of court cases, and Core Concepts, which are categorized by the legal topics in the Search Advisor classification system. …