Lexis+ “Legal News Hub” Tracks Headlines, Trends from Law360

In case you missed it (like me, admittedly, until a chat with our academic account rep this week), LexisNexis has recently incorporated a valuable feature to Lexis+: Legal News Hub.

Accessible from the tool and task icons at the left of the Lexis+ homepage, the Legal News Hub provides a continuously updated stream of headlines and content from all of Law360’s topical news areas and Law360 Pulse, the specialized news platform that focuses on the business of law.

It is available to all Lexis+ subscribers, and those who additionally subscribe to the Law360 platforms can view entire articles in either the Legal News Hub or Law360 environments.

The Lexis+ Legal News Hub provides access to:

  • Top Stories: The main page shows headlines and concise summaries for the top 20 recent articles across all Law360 and Law360 Pulse areas.
  • Trending: The Trending section lists the articles currently receiving the most views on Law360 and Law360 Pulse.
  • Practice Areas and Industries: News coverage for all 76 topics, industries, and practice and geographical areas provided by Law360 and Law360 Pulse.
  • Searching: Users may search all Legal News Hub content for the most recent 20 stories that match their search terms.

While the Legal News Hub most clearly enhances the Lexis+ platform for those without access to the Law360 and Law360 Pulse products, all users can benefit from this interface in an age when headlines—and a brief summary to boot—are often enough to stay up to speed on developments across the legal landscape.

For more information, see the LexisNexis website, their July press release, or their short YouTube video introduction to the Legal News Hub.

A screenshot of the Legal News Hub, accessible from the icon at the left of the Lexis+ homepage.

AccessLex Announces New Bar Exam Review Product: Helix

AccessLex Institute, the nonprofit company that focuses on supporting law students and legal education with funding programs and research on academic and bar exam success, announced today it has launched its own bar exam review product called Helix.

The goals in designing the new product were both to offer lower-priced bar review courses and to bring a new approach to bar exam preparation courses, using active learning, gamification, and other engaging and interactive adult learning strategies provided by contemporary learning science research.

The company says it will offer more than 4,000 complimentary Helix course packages to nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-accredited law schools over the coming year. The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) course package costs $1,199 for the July 2022 exam, and it can be purchased now (courses open March 7, 2022). The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) course package is also available now, and it costs $279 for the July 2022 exam. A free “sneak peak” of the Helix product is available. They also sell UBE flash cards for $199 and MBE flash cards for $159.

For all of the above information and more, visit https://www.helixbarreview.org/

CRIV-Thomson Reuters Bi-Annual Liaison Call

Conference call took place on Tuesday June 22, 2021 at 11:00 AM ET.

Participants:

  • Deborah Heller – CRIV Thomson Reuters Liaison
  • Vani Ungapen – AALL Executive Director
  • Karen Selden – AALL CRIV Board Liaison
  • Kim Hurley – Information Management Advisor at Thomson Reuters
  • Rachel Torgerson – Customer Success Strategist at Thomson Reuters
  • Rachel Beithon, Product Developer, Litigation Analytics
  • Zane Wright – Sr. Product Developer
  • Zena Applebaum – Director Professional & Corporate Segments
  • Gia Norris, Director, Product Portfolio Management

Agenda

  • Westlaw Edge Litigation Analytics Enhancements – Damages  
    • Added in November 2020
    • As of March 2021, Damages has been added as an option on litigation analytics
      • Can view monetary damages and attorney fees and costs
      • Monetary Damages include: Compensatory Damages, Interest, Liquidated Damages, Punitive Damages, Settlement & Statutory Damages
      • Attorney Fees & Costs include Litigation Costs & Expenses
    • Analytics added in a new delivery method around the end of February that allows you to get all the tabs together in a customized report.
  • Quick Check Enhancements
    • Improved option to analyze opponent’s work
      • Contrary authority identification
        • Helps researchers quickly find weaknesses in an opponent’s arguments by clearly identifying new cases that are contrary to their arguments
        • Locates cases that may be helpful in arguing against the opponent’s filing and prioritizes them in the results. Within Quick Check, researchers can easily compare procedural information about the analyzed document with details of the recommended cases, and quickly review tags indicating when a recommended case originated from the same type of motion or contains contrary authority.
        • Provides cases that are contrary to what the other party has cited.
      • New citation tags that highlight negative aspects of the opposition case
      • New depth of discussion indicators on what the opponent has focused on in the document
    • Submit to Quick Check
      • When you find a relevant case you can access the filings of the case.
      • Includes case recommendations for each segment of the motion
      • Can filter by headings in a document
      • Added to appellate briefs in Dec. 2020 and now added to trial motions.
  • Reuters News
    • Debuted: Reuters Legal News beta.
      • Previously, Legal news was nested within Business on reuters.com
      • Includes the top legal news stories that are editorially curated at the top of the screen
      • Showcases three Reuters’ legal columnists: Alison Frankel, Jenna Greene and Hassan Kanu
      • Legal Video includes both video and audio materials
      • Latest stories by reference to section pages.
        • Legal Industry is the business of law news page
        • Industry Insight is legal analysis from TR legal focusing on the business of news
      • Includes a section on the Supreme Court
      • Will have special reports
      • All stories are tagged with practice areas and industry
      • “The Daily Docket” newsletter is the Industry Buzz
      • The attorney analysis module focuses on reaching out to the broader legal community
      • Will include links to related documents mentioned in news stories
        • Links to Westlaw will not route you back through OnePass, you will stay on the platform
      • Will allow users to choose the types of materials they see through My View.
  • Customer to Cash updates
    • Continuing the redesign of invoices
      • New West Information Charges Invoice will debut in July 2021
        • Hyperlinks throughout the document
        • Customers with 2+ locations will receive 2 additional summary level reports and a single location report for each location.
        • Details in-plan and out-of-plan charges
        • Clearly shows the total due at the top of the invoice and in other places.
        • Any account suspension would be clearly displayed
        • New payer reports
          • Product summaries for all locations
          • Account totals by location
        • Add in subscription service periods above each product
        • Usage reports have new client level reports with 2 sorting options
          • Client/reference by user by day
          • User by client/reference by day
        • CSV reporting now available
          • Invoice information report
          • Usage report
          • These are optional and the customer must sign-up for these
            • Also only though electronic billing so a customer must be signed-up for that
      • Past due invoices coming in July
        • Simpler format
        • Easier pay now button
        • Enhanced hyperlinks
          • Inform TR that a payment has been sent
          • Set-up autopay
          • Installment plans
        • Attached to notices via PDF
      • When you mail checks, there can be a 10 day delay in updating your account information

Wolters Kluwer Sells Legal Book Business to Private Equity Firm

Wolters Kluwer (WK) announced in a September 27 press release that it has signed a binding agreement with Transom Capital Group (Transom) to sell its legal education business for $88 million in cash. WK reports this move “will allow Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. to further advance its focus on supporting legal professionals with the domain expertise and state-of-the-art solutions that they need.” The legal education business produces student textbooks and digital education materials for law students, and is reportedly profitable with revenues of $33 million in 2020.

So what is Transom? Records show it is a privately held equity company incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Los Angeles. Transom makes mid-market buyout investments in various sectors, and it focuses on “middle management investment opportunities that exhibit great potential.” Transom was founded in 2008, and started out investing in companies that make audio equipment, concert tee-shirts and promotional items. Transom has a broad and eclectic investment profile and its current portfolio includes, among other companies, Cross Pens, Beauty Quest Group, Bravo Sports, Makie audio, and Scantron.

Although holdings such as Bridge Tower Media may show Transom putting a toe in the publishing pool, academic publishing appears to be a new venture. In a 2017 news story reporting the Cross Pens acquisition, Transom was described as having a “hands-on approach that provides operational involvement and support without overwhelming the management team.”[1] This may come as some comfort to the 50 full-time employees currently working for WK Legal & Regulatory. We will all eagerly await what this deal means for our students and our faculty who rely on WK legal textbooks.


[1] 2017, Nov 16. Transom Capital Acquires A.T. Cross Company: Nation’s oldest and largest manufacturer of writing instruments poised for expansion with growth capital. NASDAQ OMX’s News Release Distribution Channel.  

Westlaw partners with Write.law

Westlaw is partnering with Write.law to provide more practical guidance for law students. In recent years, Westlaw has increased the number of products providing practical skills available to law students. These resources are meant to supplement law students’ studies and provide knowledge that will be useful in their careers.  Write.law is a product developed by attorneys and law professors that aims to help practitioners develop their knowledge of the technology related to legal practice.

Westlaw already provides certifications in several areas mostly under the banner of Legal Research. There are Legal Research Certifications for the Foundations of Effective Legal Research, Essential Legal Research and Advanced Legal Research. These certifications are very generalized and focus exclusively on Westlaw resources. In addition, there are advanced options in Litigation Research and Transactional Research. Westlaw provides a Prepare to Practice certification, which is shorter and provides information on starting a Legal Business. The new partnership adds more practical skills certifications to the Westlaw Knowledge Center.

The Westlaw and Write.law partnership provides certifications in the areas of Core Tech, Practice Tech, and Legal Soft Skills. The Core Tech certification trains students in using the Microsoft Office Suite efficiently for their legal careers. This certification provides tools and tricks to prevent time loss related to formatting issues in Microsoft Office products. The Practice Tech certification allows students to learn about the technology that students may use in practice. The information covered is general but does introduce students to the types of technology that they may encounter in practice and how that technology would serve them in practice. The Legal Soft Skills certification provides training in skills needed to successfully build a legal business. The skills taught include brand development, presentation to both supervisors and clients, and advice for working virtually.

What is CRIV?

When I was preparing to write my first CRIV blog post for the semester, it occurred to me that there may be some in our profession who are unfamiliar with CRIV and the work that we do (and others who might not mind a refresher!). So for this post, allow me to (re)introduce you to CRIV.

CRIV is AALL’s Committee on Relations with Information Vendors. You can read our formal Purpose and Charge on the committee’s page on AALLnet, but in a nutshell, our mission through CRIV is to foster and maintain positive, open communication between members of AALL and information vendors. We work toward this in two primary ways: First, we monitor AALL chatter for any complaints related to information vendors, whether those complaints have to do with billing practices (not pricing), resource functionality, or general communication issues. Then, in most cases, we will reach out to a contact within that information vendor’s organization to see whether and how that complaint can be addressed and resolved. We have four formal vendor liaison relationships with Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer. Four of our committee members are designated each year as the CRIV vendor liaison to each of these vendors. You can find this year’s vendor liaisons here. Throughout the year, the liaisons will take any complaints or questions received about these vendors to our designated contacts within their organization for resolution or clarification; and twice a year, the liaisons have a conference call with the vendor to discuss any outstanding issues and learn the latest updates to the vendors’ products and services. As you may have seen, the minutes from these calls are then published here on the CRIV blog and in the next issue of The CRIV Sheet.

Does this mean CRIV only takes questions or complaints regarding those four vendors? No — we are happy to assist in communication with other vendors as well, and certainly have in the past. The best way to seek help from CRIV is by using our Request for Assistance page on AALLnet. This helps us keep a record of inquiries. While you are asked to provide contact information when you submit a RFA (so we can reach you to follow up), when we take your complaint or question to the vendor, we keep it anonymous. If the vendor responds that they need more details, we would only provide them with your permission. Our ultimate goal is to serve as an advocate for AALL members in establishing positive working relationships with information vendors, and as such, keeping your confidence as we share your concerns with the vendor is a priority.

While vendor relations is at the heart (and in the name) of CRIV, another significant service we provide is education, including programming, like our Vendor Roundtable at the AALL Annual Meeting each July; this year’s recording can be viewed here (recording will be available through July 2022). In addition, through the CRIV blog and our thrice-annual newsletter, The CRIV Sheet, we endeavor to keep the membership informed about the latest developments and trends from information vendors. If you have an article idea and would like to write for us, e-mail Andrew Christensen, this year’s CRIV Sheet editor. And if you have an idea for a blog post, reach out to Christy Smith, this year’s blog coordinator.

CRIV is always looking for ways to better serve AALL members. Be on the lookout later this year for a survey from CRIV on this very topic, but in the meantime, if you have questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out! As CRIV’s current chair, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Ashley Ahlbrand, CRIV Chair, aaahlbra@indiana.edu

What’s New in the ALWD 7th Edition?

Recently I sat in on a book talk with Professor Carolyn V. Williams,* the author of the newly released 7th edition of the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation. ALWD, she explained, is designed to complement the Bluebook while also serving as a teaching tool for legal writing instructors and an easy-to-use resource for students and legal practitioners. With that in mind, there were two main goals for the new edition: 1) maintaining conformity with national standards and 2) ease of use.

To maintain conformity, Prof Williams focused on consistency with the Bluebook by keeping the same exact citations. In addition, “call outs” to the Bluebook are incorporated in Appendix 8. The “call outs” note precisely where in the Bluebook a user can find the rule. In some instances, the Bluebook does not address a specific citation point. For example, how does someone cite to an interview — especially an interview conducted on Zoom? Prof Williams created citation rules for this and other technological sources that have not always been thought about or even considered until COVID-19. The section on citing to practice documents was overhauled as e-filing has become the norm, providing guidance, for example, on how to reference electronic case files (ECF) numbering.

Because ALWD is also a teaching tool, Prof Williams researched how students learn so as to create a book that students would find easy to use. She included more visuals and explanations. Diagrams are color coded and “snapshots,” actual pages from a book or document, offer real-world context for students. Charts of abbreviations are included in relevant chapters for quick access. Additionally, favorites, such as the red triangles that indicate spacing were retained, along with Fast Formats, quick reference to citation formats, and the Sidebars, short informational snippets that explain “why” or offer background on a resource. Prof Williams also reviewed guide examples, revising to reflect diversity and inclusion.

New — and cool — to this edition is the online availability of two appendices. Appendix 2, Local Court Citation Rules and Appendix 5, Periodicals and Looseleaf Services are free to access at the Wolters Kluwer website (scroll and click on Student Resources): https://www.wklegaledu.com/Williams-ALWDGuideLegalCitation7. Accessibility to Local Court Citation Rules means students and practitioners who find themselves working in different jurisdictions need only look online to locate relevant local information. In Appendix 5, every imaginable periodical and resource are listed along with its corresponding abbreviation.

Some differences between ALWD and the Bluebook do appear. They are small, but interesting. For example, the Bluebook uses “e-mail.” ALWD dispenses with the hyphen and uses “email.” ALWD changed LEXIS to Lexis. After consulting with many people, including LexisNexis, Prof Williams could not find anyone who capitalized every letter of the word. With the proliferation of databases and variations of commonly used legal databases, ALWD suggests being specific about the database being cited. For example, if the user’s research comes from using Westlaw Classic, state Westlaw Classic (not just Westlaw) in the citation. On the other hand, if the user’s research comes from using Westlaw Edge, state Westlaw Edge in the citation (again, not just Westlaw).

It goes without saying this new edition was a massive undertaking and took a lot of work. Prof Williams had numerous discussions nationwide across states, including time spent talking to practitioners learning what they needed. She also communicated with Bluebook editors, asking questions and even, on occasion, noting an error.

At the end of the book talk, Prof Williams was asked what she learned from the process. Barely skipping a beat, she said: “I learned everyone has an opinion on citations, and they are not afraid to share it.”

*Prof Williams is an Assoc Prof of Legal Writing and Asst Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in Tucson, Arizona.

CRIV/Bloomberg Law Bi-Annual Call

The bi-annual CRIV/Bloomberg Law call took place on July 29, 2021, at 11:00 a.m., via Zoom. In attendance were:

  • Mike Bernier, Director of Library Relations, Bloomberg Law
  • Joe Breda, President, Bloomberg Law
  • Michelle Hook Dewey, AALL Board Liaison to CRIV, Mercer School of Law  
  • Tom Hemstock, CRIV Liaison to Bloomberg Law, Albany Law School

Outstanding Issues:

None

New Items:

Expanding News Channels

14 new news channels added in 2020 and that number is increasing. Bloomberg Law is adding timely channels such as Social Justice & Diversity, Cannabis, and more.

Improved Email Alerts

In response to customer feedback and to increase engagement, Bloomberg modified email subject lines in alerts to be more descriptive. For example, the sender for the Banking Report will be a variation on “Banking” instead of the umbrella “Bloomberg Law” line that is unclear.

ALM News Content

Although introduced in 2020, and mentioned in the previous vendor call, Bloomberg Law emphasizes that they have ALM content (such as National Law Journal) added shortly after the content is published on ALM’s site.

In-Focus Content

Bloomberg Law continues to add new in-focus pages that brings resources together in one place. Resources on these pages are crafted by experts in the field. Recent In-Focus pages include Contract Drafting, Biometrics and a Core Litigation Skills Toolkit.

Draft Analyzer Improvements

Significant new features are now included such as improved comments, the ability to create a table of contents of clauses, hyperlinks to defined terms within the uploaded draft, and details/comments on the clauses used in the document.

Case Law Enhancements

Opinions can be now filtered by published and unpublished opinions.

Law Librarian Update

A newsletter for librarians launched and is available at https://pro.bloomberglaw.com/law-librarian-newsletter/.  Emails are sent to librarians when new editions are posted.  Contact Mike Bernier at mbernier@bloombergindustry.com to be added to the distribution list.

CRIV / Wolters Kluwer Bi-annual Call

The bi-annual CRIV/Wolters Kluwer call took place on June 21, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. In attendance were:

  • Jenna Ellis, Wolters Kluwer Liaison
  • Vani Ungapen, AALL Executive Director
  • Karen Selden, AALL, CRIV Board Liaison
  • Cynthia Condit, AALL, CRIV Wolters Kluwer Liaison

Wolters Kluwers Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to CRIV and/or AALL. Jenna Ellis provided several updates on items of interest.

  • Treatise Search Solution: This solution provides access to Wolters Kluwer Treatise content through a REST-based API framework that allows firms to embed Cheetah’s native research experience within their intranet site resulting in seamless access to expert information from within their own environment and includes an “out of the box” search interface to serve as a reference for implementation by the firm’s IT team.

  • (Federated SSO) Expansion and Simplification of Single Sign-On with Seamless Authentication: This capability makes it possible for law firm users to access Wolters Kluwer content tools and research sites securely without being prompted to enter their credentials via custom links designed to automatically authenticate users based on the firms internal directory.

  • Establishment of Permanent Links: Permanent links to Reporters, primary source content, Treatise titles (including targeted chapters or sub-chapters) plus Practical Content all can be obtained from multiple sources (including directly from the Cheetah platform) and stay consistent even when the underlying content is updated, making them an ideal low-maintenance solution for posting on SharePoint practice and other firm intranet pages.

  • Expansion of Widgets: Wolters Kluwer now offers more than 850 customizable Title and Practice Tool Widgets that provide seamless access to specific content via a simple turn-key integration solution, including Treatises, Reporters, or Practice Tools (such as multi-jurisdiction Smart Charts) that easily can be embedded on a firm’s SharePoint practice or other intranet site. Please see this link for more information about these widgets: https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/solutions/cheetah/cheetah-widgets.

  • Fast-Access-by-Citation Feature: This solution provides users with a simple tool to efficiently find and print or download targeted primary source content and forms directly from their SharePoint practice or other intranet site without being prompted for any credentials.

Requests for Advocacy:

  • There were no requests for advocacy.

AALL Programs of Activities, or Business of Interest to Wolters Kluwer

  • Vani Ungapen thanked Wolters Kluwer for its vendor participation at this year’s Annual Conference.

  • Additionally, CRIV thanked Wolters Kluwer for participating in CRIV’s Vendor Roundtable, which is on accessibility this year. Participating vendors will highlight features and/or services vendors currently provide or might be providing in the future to allow people of different abilities to use their products.

Adjournment

  • The meeting adjourned at approximately 10:40 a.m.

CRIV/LexisNexis Semiannual Call

Conference call took place June 11 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

Participants:

  • Carolyn Bach – Senior Manager, Librarian Relations and Faculty Programs, LexisNexis
  • Simon Weierman – Sr. Director Segment Management, LexisNexis
  • Ashley Ahlbrand – CRIV Liaison to LexisNexis
  • Karen Selden – AALL CRIV Board Liaison
  • Vani Ungapen – AALL Executive Director

This update includes product enhancements released between January – June of 2021.

Lexis+™

  • Lexis+™ Litigation Analytics released in late January as part of the Lexis+ ecosystem. Lexis+ users now have access to a powerful toolset for litigation analytics in a single, integrated workflow providing precise, relevant, data-driven insights from Lex Machina® and Lexis® CourtLink® to quickly evaluate or compare judges, courts and counsel.
  • Shepard’s® At Risk helps ensure users are citing the best authority for a point of law. It was extended beyond the full-text case opinion to display in other context across Lexis+, including Brief Analysis and Shepard’s® reports.
  • Brief Analysis was included at Lexis+ launch and offers powerful insights by analyzing legal briefs (users or their opponent’s) and providing recommendations to craft stronger legal strategies and drive winning outcomes. This year to date, multiple updates have been rolled out to further improve Brief Analysis, including embedding Shepard’s analysis in the “Cited in your Document” tab, enabling users to filter recommendations for specific legal concepts and jurisdictions, and launching enhanced PDF processing capabilities.
  • A recent case study was published about Brief Analysis by AWS, LexisNexis® Builds AI-Powered Legal Brief Analysis Tool Using AWS, which highlights the collaboration between Lexis Labs and AWS through a “Working Backwards” innovation approach to develop a capability which improves productivity and decision-making for our customers.
  • Other recent Lexis+ updates:
    • The experience dock choice a user makes (Research, Practical Guidance, Brief Analysis or Litigation Analytics) now remains as the default across sessions, so users can pick up where they left off.
    • In a similar manner, the Explore Content area of Lexis+ that enables users to browse our collections of content and resources, was enhanced to persist the last tab utilized so users can pick up where they left off across research sessions.
    • Annotations and highlights are now made visible when a user returns to a document without requiring the document be saved to a Lexis+ work folder.
    • The Lexis Answers® tool is now made available when searching Practical Guidance materials on Lexis+.
    • The full-text document display across our content collection was updated to improve the presentation, focusing on readability and navigation.

Lexis® and Lexis+

  • Law360® Pulse, which launched in January and provides unparalleled business of law coverage, was integrated for access to archived articles through Lexis and Lexis+.
  • Our International Primary Law collection, already leading in coverage from beyond the U.S., was expanded to include laws and regulations through machine translations and original-language source documents. The initial wave began with Latin American countries (January), with later additions of Germany and Indonesia (April) and then Spain (May). Sixteen new countries have been added within 2021, increasing our total collection to 25 plus the European Union.
  • The LexisNexis® Public Records user interface was refreshed to align with Lexis and Lexis+.
  • The Trial Court Orders content collection was expanded by over 100K documents through March. 
  • Search Relevance enhancements were launched for Statutes & Legislation and case law searching, which will improve the relevance of results for Lexis and Lexis+ users.

Practical Guidance

  • The approach to search was updated by combining results across previously separate content categories, leading to more relevant results when searching Practical Guidance.
  • An updated presentation of the Practical Guidance home page and starting practice area pages was launched to all users to improve discovery of important resources and simplify product navigation.

Context

  • A new module of Context, Context Attorney Analytics was released in March, which applies the powerful language analytics capabilities of Context to attorney data. Our solution provides unique insights into the records and experience of attorneys and uncovers the precise arguments they have made in prior motions and briefs, helping attorneys neutralize their arguments and strategy.
  • Context Judges and Courts for Canada was released, expanding our powerful language analytics capabilities to international use.

Law360® and Law360 Pulse

  • Navigational support was added between Law360.com, Law360 Pulse and the Law360 Authority products through the left-hand navigation panel on each website.
  • Law360.com search was extended across products. Users on Law360.com can now search across all content and filter results, helping reduce research time. Content exclusive to Law360 Pulse, Law360 Tax Authority and Law360 Employment Authority is labeled as exclusive.
  • Our mobile applications for iPhone® and Android® devices now include all Law360 brands for on-the-go coverage. Law360 Enterprise and Platform customers have access to the Law360, Law360 Tax Authority, Law360 Employment Authority and Law360 UK products in the app. The Law360 app can be downloaded at the Google Play™ store or Apple® App Store.

InterAction®

Lexis® for Microsoft® Office

  • Texas Greenbook citation formatting rules on Lexis for Microsoft Office have been updated to the 14th edition, along with enhanced Lexis for Microsoft Office Canada McGill’s formatting rules for legislative citations.

Nexis Newsdesk™

Multiple enhancements have been made to Nexis Newsdesk newsletter management and analytics capabilities.

  • The Nexis Newsdesk Insights view helps surface key events and trends in a graphical display without running a full analysis.
    • Read the top stories for each search.
    • Identify the most active sources and their sentiment.
    • See which people and companies are dominating the conversation.
    • View topics word cloud and sentiment charts now in the Insights view.
  • Dashboards are now customizable to resize or reorder the widgets.
  • Sources cards reveal key information about the publication.
  • Journalist articles panel quickly displays more articles from a selected author.
  • One tab is used for newsletter management options.
  • Playable clips are included for TV/radio (for accounts with the TV/Radio Broadcast add-on).
  • For accounts with the Premium Social Media Package:
    • Volume column and pause control for Twitter streams
    • Full-length tweets now visible in the search results.

Summer Associates

The new Summer Associate web page includes a wealth of resources for training and guidance, including career advice from legal professionals, practice area resources, essential legal research skills and more.

AALL

  • LexisNexis is proud to be a Platinum sponsor of the 2021 AALL Annual Conference. Please join us in the Virtual Exhibit Hall on July 19, plus additional sessions on July 20 – 22, to learn about the most recent product updates and announcements. View offerings here.  In addition, LexisNexis is sponsoring the following conference-related events. We’re looking forward to connecting with you at the conference.
    • July 21 at 2 p.m. ET Program Session: “What’s in a Name? Expanding the Concept of Libraries and Librarians in the 21st Century,” Panel Discussion

LexisNexis, Lexis, CourtLink, Shepard’s, Lexis Answers, InterAction, Lex Machina and the Knowledge Burst logo are registered trademarks, and Lexis+ and Nexis Newsdesk are trademarks of RELX Inc. Law360 is a registered trademark of Portfolio Media, Inc. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Other products or services may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. © 2021 LexisNexis.

The Next Development in A.I.: Certification

Law librarians are no strangers to discussion and critique of artificial intelligence systems and their potential benefits and hazards, both in legal practice and in society at large. A short list of recent law librarian scholarship in this area includes:

With the growing number of stories of A.I.-gone-wrong, such as the (now scrubbed) A.I. system Amazon tried to introduce into their recruiting program a few years ago that was discovered to disfavor female applicants, several initiatives have arisen, calling for certification of artificial intelligence. In March, Lyle Moran, writing for the ABA Journal, reported on this wave of projects, focusing particularly on one spearheaded by Gillian Hadfield, a law professor at the University of Toronto. Her project, a partnership between U. Toronto’s Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology & Society and AI Global, aims to develop an international framework for identifying ethically responsible A.I. systems.

I won’t spoil the whole article for you, but if you are interested in the increasing influence of A.I. systems in law and society and efforts to ensure their responsible development and implementation, I encourage you to give Moran’s article a read (and watch for a shoutout to Casetext’s Compose product!). As many members of the law librarian community have noted for years, attorneys’ exposure to A.I. systems, whether through their clients’ A.I. use or within the legal industry itself, demands that legal practitioners understand the implications of A.I. in the law; as trained information evaluators, law librarians are poised to provide this education and expertise.

Rising FTEs and Budgeting

According to the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) the number of applicants and number of overall applications are up over 20% and 30% respectively. LSAC’s website is surprisingly transparent as it includes a publicly available graph charting the week to week total number of applications and total number of applicants. Additionally, users can easily compare between the last five years on the chart to see the trends in admissions. While this may not necessarily translate into higher incoming 1L classes, and it is not institution specific, it does raise some questions such as:

  • Are any of your schools databases tied to FTE (full time equivalents)?
  • Do you expect your school’s FTE to increase based on the national trends?

While looking at national numbers as a crystal ball for individual law schools may be tricky, it is possible to see trends in a larger incoming class and use this number to assist in budgeting for FTE-sensitive databases. Checking with your own Admissions office can help sharpen predictions as well.

Has anyone found it effective to try to predict future FTEs when budgeting? Is it closer to psychic predictions than science? Comment below!

Further useful links: The TaxProf Blog frequently reports and analyzes future class sizes using the LSAC data above.

Prepare to Practice, New and Notable: The Ever-Growing Collection of Practice Ready Tools from Bloomberg Law, Lexis, and Westlaw

prepare to practice graphic

At this time of the year, as the spring semester winds down (how is that already possible?!?), my mind always seems to wander to thoughts of law students heading off to their summer jobs, putting their legal analysis, writing, and research skills to the test in a real-world setting. These thoughts then naturally drift to the many practice-focused products legal information vendors offer. In this post, I highlight the new and notable products from Bloomberg Law, Lexis, and Westlaw.

Bloomberg Law

The first development that caught my eye was Bloomberg Law’s new In Focus: Core Skills – Litigation feature in the Litigation Intelligence Center. This resource begins with quick links to core research tools, such as their docket search, court opinions search, and litigation analytics, and includes a box of links to litigation-related reference materials, such as the ABA’s “How to Succeed as a Trial Lawyer.” But the other thing that struck me about this resource were the visual aids, including two flowcharts, one on research and writing and one on document review; and an interesting graphic about the variety of Bloomberg Law resources available across the platform. Legal research databases have so much rich content today that it can be a challenge to know what all is available; while I am sure this graphic doesn’t cover everything in Bloomberg Law, it is an interesting method of introducing users to the types of resources and tools at their disposal.

While we’re at it, I’d like to give a shout-out, in general, to the entire In Focus series on Bloomberg Law. These are great information portals on an array of timely topics in law and law practice. Most recently I’ve found the In Focus: Lawyer Well-Being resource of particular interest, with sample surveys and forms for the workplace, quick links to state lawyer assistance programs, and other news and analysis on the subject of wellness in the legal profession.

The In Focus series is by no means the only practice-focused tool in Bloomberg Law. From the Brief Analyzer to the Draft Analyzer, Practical Guidance to Practice Centers, not to mention the Certification Courses law students can take, there are many, many resources users can take advantage of to build their practical skills.

Lexis+

Two newer practice-focused tools in Lexis+ are Practical Guidance and Brief Analysis, both off to the left of the Lexis+ home page. In Practical Guidance, you can search or browse by practice area, task, jurisdiction, or content type (here, content types include documents such as checklists, practice notes, and clauses, rather than statutes, cases, and secondary sources). Additional tools here include everything from state comparison tools to smart forms to training videos.

Brief Analysis, similar to Bloomberg Law’s Brief Analyzer, scans a user’s work product and uses the Lexis+ research platform to seek out any additional or alternative recommended authority based on the arguments made in the uploaded document. Brief Analysis even scans the uploaded document for viruses!

Again, these are two of the more recent, but certainly not the only, practice-focused tools from LexisNexis. With their own set of trainings and certification courses, not to mention their many practice-focused add-on products, such as Lexis Tax and Products Liability Navigator, there are a variety of tools here too that students might use to become more efficient in their legal research and analysis.

Westlaw Edge

Westlaw’s best known practice-focused suite of tools, of course, is Practical Law, with its checklists, practice notes, sample forms, and more, covering a variety of legal subjects and specific law tasks. In the student Law School Survival Guide, the Practical Law editors have even put together a series of podcast episodes about careers in various areas of law. Like Bloomberg Law and Lexis, Westlaw too has training videos and certifications, from basic to advanced research skills, transactional to litigation skills, and even a specific and separate prepare to practice certification. Similar to Lexis’s Brief Analysis and Bloomberg Law’s Brief Analyzer, Westlaw’s Quick Check tool helps the user analyze their own legal document by suggesting additional or alternative legal authority.

Whether a student will be working in a transactional or litigation environment this summer, whether they prefer, or will be restricted to the use of, Bloomberg Law, Lexis, or Westlaw, all three offer an ever-growing variety of practice-ready tools and certifications to help them build their skills and make a great impression with their summer employer.

HeinOnline’s New (and Improved) Search Box

HeinOnline has updated their search box so that it is now more streamlined and easier to use. Regular users of HeinOnline will know that the original search required you to select the appropriate tab based on the search parameters you wanted to set (i.e. Full Text, Citation, Catalog, or Caselaw). If you failed to select the correct tab, wacky results would ensue (like searching a citation in Catalog).

While this was a minor inconvenience, it was nevertheless an inconvenience. HeinOnline has removed it, relplacing it with the One-Box Search. The new search box allows you to type in your search terms and offers the fields for you to complete your search. The generated options include “Just search for” (the new “Full Text”), Author, Title, Citation, and Catalog. This change is also made in the advanced search field which is now more streamlined.

You can read more about the One-Box Search box, as well as other HeinOnline features and updates on the HeinOnline Blog.

Document Analytics in Academia

Is there a place for document analytics products in the law school legal research curriculum?

Document analytics platforms have a big footprint on the legal tech landscape, and at least one is nudging its way into academia. Newcomer Kira https://kirasystems.com/  is offering a “Kira for Education” initiative to some in the academic community. Kira provides a machine-learning platform that identifies, extracts, and analyzes language in documents the user can drag and drop into a template. Kira also offers a customizable search tool that allows users to highlight sample document language and create their own custom platform. Kira can search documents written in other Latin-based languages, including English, French, and Spanish.   Contract analytics products have been on the market for years, although these products don’t typically target law schools.  LawGeex, LinkSquares, Contract Wrangler, Affinitext, IntelAgree, and Docusign are just a few of the many contract analytic products currently available.

Some academic research platforms currently provide access to programs that can assist with contract drafting. Lexis Practical Guidance offers “Smart Forms” that include sample customizable forms for various industries and in numerous jurisdictions. These forms contain drafting note advice that alert the user to specific legal issues when incorporating certain language. Bloomberg Law’s Draft Analyzer allows the user to upload a contract and will compare clauses in that contract to other similar contract language within its database.  Bloomberg is currently beta testing an analyzer for merger agreements.  Westlaw offers “Contract Express,” but this product is not included in academic accounts.

Even with an already crowded legal research curriculum, it may be time to consider the best way to expose our students to these increasingly popular products. It would also be great to hear from our colleagues in law firms about which of these products seem to be getting the most traction, so that we can better prepare our students for practice.