Fastcase Acquired Judicata

Fastcase announced its acquisition of California based Judicata at the beginning of the month. Judicata is a legal search tool for California state law that focuses on providing precise results by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence. Judicata was founded in 2012. The intention is to use the power that Judicata built in relation to California law and develop it for a wider legal audience. Fastcase is working on development of Fastcase 8, the newest version of its research platform, using Judicata as the underlying backbone. The Judicata team will be joining Fastcase to work on the integration of Judicata with Fastcase.

Lexis Releases its New Platform, Lexis+

Back in July, Lexis began to roll out a new platform to librarians and professors in law schools. As of August, all law students only have access to Lexis+, while professors will still be able to access Lexis Advance until the end of the year. Most importantly, the new platform does not require new registration and set-up. You will be able to log-in using your existing credentials.

The new platform does have a slightly new look. On the research page, you will see a red wave image. When you toggle to different aspects such as practical guidance and brief analysis, the color of the wave changes. The Explore box is still on that initial search page, letting you choose content type, jurisdiction, topic, source, etc. As you run searches and move through the content, many of the pages still have the look and feel of Lexis Advance.

There are several new features on Lexis+. First, when you run a search on the legal research portion, the search will also include any of the materials available on Practical Guidance. Previously, you needed to search this separately. Also, there is the ability to edit your search without going back to the first search box. There will be a little pencil icon next to your search, which can be used to edit the search. Additionally, there is a search tree map that shows you how the different operators you use in your search yielded the results you see. Lexis has also added a new Shepard’s feature called Shepard’s at risk, which provides you with notice when a case you are using itself relies on authority that has received negative treatment. Additionally, the platform now has code compare, which can compare two versions of a statute side-by-side.

As part of the new platform launch, Lexis also announced a few name changes. In the U.S. and Canada, Lexis is removing the Advance moniker from all of its products and will simply be known as Lexis. Further, Lexis Practice Advisor is being renamed Practical Guidance in the U.S. and Canada. You can see more information about Lexis+ from the press release issued on September 14.

Vendor Resources for COVID-19 & Racial Justice

CRIV hosted its annual vendor roundtable at the beginning of July. Several legal information vendors presented on the topic of what they have done in response to COVID-19 as well as plans they had for the future. Listed below are some links provided by the vendors to resources mentioned during the event.

Thomson Reuters:

LexisNexis: Complimentary COVID-19 & Related Resources:

LexisNexis: Racial Equality Resources:

CRIV/Thomson Reuters Biannual Phone Call

Conference call took place on Tuesday, June 2 at 1:00 PM EDT.

Participants:

  • Deborah Heller – CRIV Thomson Reuters Liaison
  • Kim Hurley – Information Management Advisor at Thomson Reuters
  • Rachel Torgerson – Customer Success Strategist at Thomson Reuters
  • Kevin Lane – Manager, Westlaw Product Development

Agenda:

  • Discussion about some of the billing changes recently implemented and forthcoming.
    • Working to improve communication and redesign invoices
    • Ensuring a more reliable communication channel to customers
    • Increase in electronic invoicing
    • Making it clearer to customers if they are on auto-pay for certain items
      • The invoice more clearly shows that something has already been paid to cut down on duplicate payments
      • Providing 60, 30, and 15 day notices when a credit card that the customer is using for auto-pay is expiring to help prevent past due invoices and collections.
    • Working to reduce the unapplied payments backlog by contacting customers and asking how payments should be applied to their account
    • 3 phase invoice redesign
      • Phase one began in early May and applies to new sale or debit invoices
        • Cleaner
        • Clearly outlines the amount due and the date it is due
        • Customer name and address clearly provided on the invoice
        • Customers will receive a PDF attachment with the invoice in an email so there is no longer the need to go to a separate platform in order to access the actual invoice
        • The invoice will include hyperlinks.
      • Phase 2 is anticipated to launch in the 3rd Quarter of 2020 and applies to Subscription, Credit, and Pro Forma invoices
      • Phase 3 launch date is still being determined after Phase 2 and will include online invoices
    • Customer support information including how to read my new invoice is available online here
  • Quick Check on Westlaw Edge has added a quotation analysis feature
    • It analyzes quotes in legal documents to ensure that they are accurate
  • A new feature on Westlaw Edge that will be rolling out later this summer (August) is Quick Check Judicial
    • Allows you to upload multiple documents from a single matter. So the documents submitted by both parties will be analyzed together
    • Shows the cases cited by each party, cases cited by both parties, and cases cited by neither party
    • Will allow you to upload up to 6 documents at one time and assign each document to a party
    • It will be included with a Westlaw Edge subscription
  • More Practical Law materials will be released towards the end of June
    • Includes a commercial litigation subtopic with over 200 new resources
    • Substantive videos by the Practical Law editors
    • Relaunch of the life sciences topic
    • FDA-regulatory cross practice collection

CRIV/Thomson Reuters Biannual Phone Call

CRIV-Thomson Reuters Bi-Annual Liaison Call

Conference call took place on Monday, December 16, 2019 at 3:00 PM EST and ended at 3:30 PM EST.

Participants:

  • Deborah Heller – CRIV Thomson Reuters Liaison
  • Kim Hurley – Information Management Advisor at Thomson Reuters
  • Rachel Torgerson – Customer Success Strategist at Thomson Reuters
  • Vani Ungapen – AALL Executive Director

Agenda:

  • Introductions
  • Discussion of direction of the phone calls moving forward. Deborah expressed an interest in having the calls address outstanding advocacy issues, provide an overview of any updates to Westlaw and/or Practical law, and continue ongoing discussions of billing issues worked on with Caroline Walters, the previous CRIV Thomson Reuters liaison.
    • Kim said she could share the quarterly product updates with Deborah, who will then share information with members. Normally, Thomson Reuters tries to provide the update information in person to customers.
  • One request for assistance was shared. The customer reported that Practical Law charges are appearing in Quickview as chargeable even though they are supposed to be non-billable. The problem is apparently not immediately obvious unless you are spot-checking a specific charge, so it is possible that firms may have been billing clients for something that should have been free. The problem was reported to a client relations manager, who has reported that Thomson Reuters is aware of the issue.
    • Rachel took note of this problem and will look into the issue.
  • Rachel provided an update on her work with the customer to cash group to improve customer experience.
    • Survey responses as well as phone calls used to understand customer experience. This information has been shared with various departments.
    • Working on making invoicing clearer and more understandable.
    • Working on improving accuracy and timeliness of processing payments
    • Working on consistency of information provided
      • Discussed fact that product numbers are not appearing on all invoices, so Rachel wanted to know if this was information users wanted and or needed.
        • Deborah said that the most important information to her is the title of the product and a description of what it is (e.g. yearly update, specific release number, etc.).
      • Rachel hopes to be able to share more specific information including roadmaps and timelines for improvements to customer billing at the next phone call around the beginning of May.
    • Kim explained that she is the current liaison to CRIV for Thomson Reuters since the CRIV liaison once again falls within her territory (Deborah works in NY).
    • Discussion about the timing for the next call. It will happen in early to mid-May. Deborah will contact Kim and Rachel to schedule it at the beginning of April.

Lexis Provides Information on its Dealings with ICE

Today, Lexis sent an email to Law Faculty to explain its relationship with ICE in response to the #NoTechForICE petition. One of the issues that has been prevalent in the past few years is the interaction that the legal research vendors have with ICE, as the agency has cracked down on illegal immigrants during the Trump Administration. The email noted that all federal agencies can purchase access to LexisNexis products under the contract the company has with the federal government. According to the email, ICE has purchased some ancillary public records services, which account for approximately 10% of the contracts reported in the petition. The email goes on, stating “[w]e are not providing jail-booking data to ICE and are not working with them to build data infrastructure to assist in their efforts (emphasis in original). The email also notes that LexisNexis has a contract with ICE, which provides core legal research services to detainees including cases, statutes, secondary materials, bilingual user guides, and immigration forms. The email also stated that LexisNexis does not sell subscriber user information to ICE or any other government agency.

Westlaw Edge Now Has Regulations Compare for Select States

According to a tweet earlier this week, Westlaw Edge has added the Regulations Compare feature to select state regulations. Unfortunately, the announcement does not say which states are included. However, after a chat session where I asked which states were included, I received a response that the following states have regulations compare: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. For those unfamiliar with regulations compare or statutes compare, the feature allows users to compare red-lined versions of the regulation showing deletions and insertions. The comparison is done automatically when you select two versions to compare. This saves the user the time that would have been spent comparing the versions manually. Presumably, this feature will be added to all states in the future.

West Academic Acquires AdaptiBar

Back in October, West Academic announced that it acquired AdaptiBar Inc.  AdaptiBar is a bar review supplement program that focuses on getting students ready for the MBE. It has simulation exams, explanations, and subject area analysis. AdaptiBar was founded back in 2003. West Academic has not announced how its acquisition of AdaptiBar will impact either company. For now, both will continue to operate as usual.

GPO and Law Library of Congress to Digitize the Serial Set

The GPO and the Law Library of Congress announced plans last week to digitize the Congressional Serial Set going back to the first volume from 1817. The digitization will take place through the Law Library of Congress and the GPO will store the files and upload them onto Govinfo for free public access. The project is expected to take at least a decade to complete. This digitization effort follows on the heels of HeinOnline, which began digitizing the serial set several years ago and made the first phase of its digitization available in October 2018. Hein’s digitization has been made available for free to HeinOnline Academic subscribers, Core+ subscribers, and subscribers of HeinOnline’s U.S. Congressional Documents.

GPO Publishing Changes

The Government Publishing Office announced at the end of September that it is using new software to publish the 2018 United States Code. The GPO is now using XPub, which allows for XML-based publishing. According to the press release, this technology will allow for publishing in print and digital format in a more timely manner. This comes as good news since the GPO has only just begun shipping out titles of the 2018 USC to depository libraries and has been behind on publication of the CFR for 2019 ever since the government shutdown earlier in the year. The plan is to publish all routine publications using this new program. As for the USC, the plan it that the production process will only take about 1 year rather than the normal 1.5 years for past main USC editions.

Fastcase’s Docket Alarm Adds Deadline Display

Fastcase acquired Docket Alarm in January 2018. Docket Alarm is a legal analytics tool that can be used to identify judicial trends and identify possible outcomes of litigation. Deadline display is Docket Alarm’s newest feature. Deadline display gleans any deadlines from the docket and automatically displays them to users viewing the docket sheet. This allows users to see at a glance all upcoming events in a case. Deadlines are also searchable; allowing users to see upcoming work by firm or type of filing. The deadlines can also be exported to Google or Outlook calendars to allow for easy integration into work processes.As of March 14, deadline display is included as a complimentary feature for all Docket Alarm users.

More on the UC and Elsevier Split

On February 28, the University of California (UC) announced that it would not be renewing its subscription with Elsevier. In its negotiations, UC was trying to ensure that research produced by its campuses would be freely available to researchers around the globe immediately. According to UC, Elsevier was proposing to charge UC authors large fees on top of the existing multi-million dollar contract the University had for access to Elsevier journals. In a stance in support of open access, UC decided to walk away from Elsevier entirely. The UC Academic Council released a statement on the same day, supporting the efforts to negotiate to ensure open access to research. Elsevier released a statement in response via twitter. In the statement, Elsevier expresses disappointment that the negotiations were broken off by UC and says that it put forward a proposal to support the multi-payer open access requests by allowing researchers the choice to publish for open access as well as a “scaled path to reduce costs for each campus library.”  Berkeley News interviewed University Librarian Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, who served as the co-chair of the negotiation team for UC. According to MacKie-Mason, UC wanted to reduce costs (the University was paying $11 million in subscriptions to Elsevier each year) and ensure open access for UC authors publishing with Elsevier. UC was asking for a contract that integrated a paid subscription fee with the open access publishing fees, which is a new approach. The offer by Elsevier agreed to do this, but at a much higher cost of around $30 million more per three year contract. The main idea is to makeup the loss in subscriptions by moving to a market that charges for the publishing, rather than for the reading as it works now. MacKie-Mason pointed out that although UC is the first University system to cut ties with Elsevier in the U.S., the Max Planck Society, University Alliance in Sweden, and University Alliance in Hungary have already done so.

National Law Journal Releases its Best of List for 2019

The National Law Journal released its Best of List for 2019. The list is based on votes from lawyers and firm administrators. Categories include accounting, ADR, consulting, education, litigation support, marketing, real estate, recruitment, research, and technology. The top three legal research providers (including print, & digital products and software as a service) were Thomson Reuters Westlaw, LexisNexis (Lexis Advance/Lexis.com), and Bloomberg Law. The best solo firm/practitioner research providers were LexisNexis (Lexis Advance/Lexis.com), Thomson Reuters Westlaw, and Justia. The best legal research apps were Westlaw App, Lexis Advance HD, and Bloomberg. The best legal news apps were Bloomberg Law Insights, LexisNexis Legal News Briefs, and Westlaw Portfolio.

vLex Introduced Vincent, its New AI Powered Research Tool

Last week, international legal research vendor vLex introduced its new research tool powered by AI, Vincent. Vincent works much like CARA from Casetext, EVA from Ross Intelligence, and Clerk from Judicata. Vincent allows users to upload a brief, court opinion, or other legal document for analysis. The system looks at the language used and any citations within the document to find related materials including cases, statutes, secondary sources, and more. Vincent is currently in its beta testing phase and use is by invitation only. One of the unique features of Vincent is that it can recognize documents in both English and Spanish, and provides results from 9 different countries including the U.S., Mexico, Spain, Chile, Colombia, and Canada. There are plans to increase the number of countries included in the future. vLex is making a push into the U.S. market, where it has previously been perceived as a legal resource for foreign law. https://blog.vlex.com/introducing-vincent-the-first-intelligent-legal-research-assistant-of-its-kind-bf14b00a3152 

Library of Congress Launches Website to Search CRS Reports

The Library of Congress (LOC) has launched their new website to search Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports. This website was developed after the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which directed the LOC to make CRS Reports publicly available online. Before this, researchers would have to look in several different places in order to try and find the reports that are developed for Congress. The initial release of materials will include all R-series “active” reports that have been published since the passage of the Appropriations Act. A full migration of reports is estimated for completion in the Spring of 2019. More information can be found on the site’s FAQ page.