Cases are plotted on a graph with axes for
time and court level. Points on the graph
relate to the central case as either relevant
points of law or relevant legal issues.
The goal is to give users the most precise results in the most efficient manner,
New Lexis also promises tools for collaboration, allowing users to store results in work
folders for later reference.
Over at West, the retooled Westlaw platform is also aiming to be easier to use and
more aesthetically pleasing. Product development executives say they spent hundreds
of hours watching attorneys do research and
getting feedback on their existing product.
Mike Dahn, vice president of new product
development of Thomson Reuters’ legal division, says the company’s research showed
that lawyers often did not scroll beyond the
first page or two of results to find the content
they wanted. Instead, they would continue
to rerun searches, generating costly bills.
A preview of WestlawNext also reveals
it no longer requires users to learn the structure of its underlying databases. Instead, it
allows users to enter a simple search term in
natural language. As of late December, the
company was debating whether to eliminate
Boolean searches from the new platform or
keep them as an option.
Searches can be narrowed by jurisdiction, type of content or other features, and artificial intelligence is used
to help pull relevant results. Search results are returned
in a list, but windows also appear sorting by content
type—such as cases, statutes or legislation. The new
platform also allows users to bookmark favorite databases and to track those they use most frequently. Westlaw’s KeyCite results—its counterpart to Shepard’s—
are also incorporated into the results.
WestlawNext promises tools for workflow collaboration. Results can be saved in a folder and sorted
by the client they were conducted for. Users will see
when they last reviewed a saved case or statute, and
numerous bells and whistles will allow users to search
saved cases, highlight portions of them and even add
their own notes.
A COMPETITIVE NUDGE
, ,- -
research and information provider in Washington, D.C.,
says his company has thrived because it already ad-
dressed the problems that LexisNexis and West are
ED WALTERS CEO OF FASTCASE A YEAR OLD LEGAL
now trying to correct. “In the old way of doing legal re-
search you get this long list of results and the results are
undifferentiated. It’s one-size-fits-all,” he says. “That’s
a huge problem.”
Fastcase sorts results from best to worst and citation
analysis is built into the results. The results also can be
sorted with a “four-dimensional graphical map” that
helps users see the answers to the search.