LexisNexis Launches API Dev Portal to Give Firms 360 Degree Legal Data View

LexisNexis has launched an API Developer Portal – a digital pipeline – that allows law firms and legal departments to get a 360 degree view of all the legal data that may be relevant to a matter. By using APIs to integrate the data, content and analytics from across the company’s many products, lawyers can then mix this with data sources of their own, and then create deeply enriched dashboards for particular matters.

In short, they are enabling the integration of their vast data resources with your data resources to give a much greater understanding of a matter.

It’s a smart move, given the huge collections of information – as well as NLP-driven analysis tools such as LexMachina – that they have, but where the value could be increased significantly if it can be integrated by the users with their own matter data.

And, they can also bring in data from 3rd party vendors, e.g. that could bring in billing information, and other ‘operational KM’ data such as from Foundation, which is now part of Litera.

For example, let’s say a law firm has a litigation project. They have some data of their own, and there is a ton of info across LexisNexis (see dashboard below). If they can bring it all together, then responding to an RFP, or scoping out of costs and project management, would be a lot easier.

As Jeff Pfeifer, Chief Product Officer, LexisNexis North America and UK, told Artificial Lawyer: ‘Around three years ago we were talking to firms about what they wanted, and they said they wanted to develop 360 degree views of current clients and get all the data insights available to them.’

‘But, firms also want to marry their own data enrichment projects with our data. [So the API capability] helps to get that access. There are huge data enrichment opportunities now.’

He added that the growth of interest in this approach had been supported by cloud technology, which now made such projects easier to undertake.

Pfeifer also noted that ‘no supplier has ALL the data’ – so an approach that allows firms and legal teams to bring data through a pipeline from different sources was necessary – and that’s really saying something for a company the size of LexisNexis. I.e. even one of the Big Two doesn’t presume to have everything that a firm needs.

Incidentally, Pfeifer highlighted that just on the legal and regulatory side of things, LexisNexis had spent $1.2 billion over eight years, updating its vast data stores and also how to access them, e.g. moving to the cloud and integrating NLP tech to provide better search and litigation analysis. He added that this figure did not include the acquisitions it had made such as RAVEL and LexMachina (although the purchase prices there would not have been huge as they were both still startups when acquired).

He also pointed out that LexisNexis is spending tens of millions of dollars every year just to keep up to date with case law and to further enrich what it can offer.

An example of this is seen with LexMachina’s litigation analytics capability. LexisNexis doesn’t just get access to the main case reports, it buys all the associated documents with each case, with those documents often containing critical information that cannot be found elsewhere, such as the names of all the lawyers involved in a matter.

It’s another example of the challenge of building a major legal research capability without equally huge funds to buy all the data. Start-ups can develop the tech, for sure, and some have pioneered niche areas, such as Jus Mundi, which is focused on arbitration. But, it remains a very resource-heavy segment of the legal tech market.

Which leads us back to data. One area of data that law firms and legal teams do have on hand – and don’t have to buy – is of course their own data. But, have they got a really developed legal KM and operational KM strategy to handle that information? Some do, many don’t.

One could say that this is the key issue here. LexisNexis is providing a very useful way to enrich your data, but you have to be up for the work involved. Some firms will see this as a huge opportunity – especially those with innovative KM and data science teams – but some may not be sure how to do it. Cue the input of consulting services. But…that’s another story.

Just as a recap, this is how LexisNexis explains things:

‘Currently, the Developer Portal contains APIs that connect to a broad collection of legal content as well as specific products, such as Lexis+, CourtLink, Context and State Net, with additional APIs being developed. A new Lex Machina API is available immediately and will be integrated into the portal as well. Users will have access to new ‘sandbox’ capabilities to try API functionality, extensive data schema information and robust technical documentation for assistance in local deployment.

‘APIs allow organizations to create customized workflows or new applications by decoupling the data from its original user interface or enabling specific features and functionalities through its WIRE framework:

  • Workflow: Incorporates LexisNexis news, content, data, analytics and insights directly into an organization’s work environment.
  • Integration: Enables organizations to combine LexisNexis data and analytics with internal and third-party data in a single search and access associated documents without switching between multiple applications.
  • Recency: Alerts users to changes in cases, dockets, legislation, regulations or news mentioning issues, clients or prospects, and delivers them via email or to their work environment. It also allows users to access the associated documents or news story right from the alert.
  • Enrichment: Enables organizations to clean, normalize and tag their internal data to improve the accuracy and relevance of searches and better integrate with LexisNexis data and applications, such as Lex Machina and Context.’

And it’s worth adding that you’ll also be able to pipe in data from other parts of the larger company, RELX, such as medical reports from Elsevier, and other publications that they own.

Also in other news, LexisNexis has announced the official launch of Lexis+ UK. This feature-rich tech solution gives legal professionals access to advanced research, technology-aided insights and practical guidance, all in one easy-to-use ecosystem.

Lexis+ UK brings together the UK’s largest legal research database, containing unique content such as Halsbury’s Laws of England, Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia and Atkins’s Court Forms and combines these with specialist practitioner texts, the most complete collection of enriched Case law in the UK and the power of the market-leading LexisNexis Practical Guidance content, they said.

The simplified layout emphasises essential information and tasks, making it faster and simpler for lawyers, knowledge professionals and students to get to the answers they need.

For the first time, this enormous collection of legal intelligence can be effortlessly accessed through one powerful search. Search Term Maps let users visually pinpoint key sections of content, cases and documents, jumping straight to the most relevant parts. Search Trees graphically illustrate how search terms are applied, making it simple to find what users need. Lexis+ Answers uses AI-powered technology to analyse natural language questions and offer immediate answers.

Lexis+ offers a range of innovative tools and features that make accessing legal content faster and easier. Legislative Timeline graphically presents amendments to a Legislative Act so lawyers can see at a glance what has changed and when. Pinned Sources give one-click access to regularly consulted publications, taking users straight to the relevant points in texts. Lexis+ has been built with collaboration in mind, Work Folders provide dynamic workspaces that can be shared with colleagues, holding user-generated document annotations and information.

Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO, LexisNexis UK and North America, added: ‘We are delighted to launch Lexis+ in the UK. Its intuitive and powerful user experience has already proven invaluable in other markets around the world.’