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LEXIS Launches New Portal for Small Legal Practices; Other Announcements at ABA
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Posted On July 10, 2000
LEXIS Publishing has unveiled a new Web portal designed to meet the needs of attorneys in solo and small group practices. The new site, lexisONE (http://www.lexisone.com), provides free caselaw, free legal forms, and a guide to Internet resources, and it will be adding additional resources to meet the business needs of a law practice. The announcement was carefully timed to coincide with the July 6 opening of the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in New York, a meeting expected to draw about 10,000 attendees.

The company stressed that the new initiative represents an expansion of the LEXIS Publishing business model. "lexisONE is the latest advance by LEXIS that demonstrates how we are  reinventing ourselves as an e-business," said Lou Andreozzi, LEXIS  president and chief executive officer. It certainly breaks new ground for them in providing free content. According to the press release, "lexisONE intends to convert site traffic into revenue opportunities with a strategy that blends advertising, subscription, and sponsorship support."

Scott Stieler, chief operating officer of lexisONE, said, "We are providing this group with the only source of free caselaw backed by the authority and reliability of the LEXIS editorial process." According to a company representative, editorial enhancements to the caselaw include spell checking, embedded cite correction, parallel cite addition, counsel and history additions, and court-provided emendations and corrections.

The site provides 5 years of free caselaw, plus the complete collection of U.S. Supreme Court cases. Through lexisONE, users can also access the enhanced collection of LEXIS caselaw and the Shepard's citations service using a credit card system ($9 to conduct a caselaw search and $4 to Shepardize a citation).

The portal also includes almost 1,400 free legal forms. Company representatives stressed the quality and authority of the forms, noting that other Web sites with free forms often include mostly generic forms, in haphazard fashion, and frequently provide outdated material. By September, they expect to make about 10,000 forms available on lexisONE, many for free. The site will also offer other forms services for which the company will charge, such as automation of forms. The aim is to provide a virtual workspace for the small law office—an intranet of sorts.

The Legal Internet Guide on lexisONE features an annotated collection of 16,000 links to law-related Web sites. The sites were carefully selected by legal editors and are organized into 24 categories. The category for Internet search engines is quite extensive and includes not just links but helpful guides to using search engines and doing online legal research. The site will be continuously updated.

Recognizing that lawyers do more than legal research, and bolstered by feedback from lawyers themselves on what they need, lexisONE will be expanded to encompass the business of law. Beginning in September, the site will gradually add content that will include client development, practice management tools, news, court calendars, and procurement systems. LEXIS Publishing is currently in discussions with a number of "best-of-breed providers," and announcements of some alliances can be expected fairly soon.

Stieler noted that, while there are some very good legal Web sites available, most try to address a broad market that includes consumers or small businesses. LexisONE focuses on delivering value to lawyers in small practices. He feels that the LEXIS content and quality will differentiate the service, as well as the technology and tools used to make the content more valuable.
 

More at ABA
LEXIS Publishing is not limiting its current initiatives to snagging the eyeballs and loyalties of lawyers in small practice firms. A lot of recent development time has gone into refining the LEXIS Intranet Portal for middle- to large-sized law firms. At ABA, the company also announced a partnership with Plumtree Software to adopt Plumtree technology as the portal platform for its LEXIS Intranet Portal. The portal product provides a single interface for internal and external information management and sharing.

For professionals using the lexis.com research system, the company introduced the new lexis.com Practice Pages, which offer a customized, task-focused approach. Each page is a collection of the sources needed in a specific area of law, either topical or jurisdictional, presented in one convenient page with easy-to-use, automatic searches and fill-in-the-box search templates. Users can link quickly to current news, current and pending legislation and regulations, treatises, guides, and forms. A list of current and planned practice pages on lexis.com can be viewed at http://www.lexis.com/practicepages.
 

Snatching from the Competition
Just a day later, on July 7, Reed Elsevier plc, the parent company of LEXIS-NEXIS, announced that it had appointed Andrew Prozes to the new role of chief executive officer of its global legal publishing and information division. The division includes the LEXIS-NEXIS Group, Butterworths Tolley in the U.K., Editions du Juris-Classeur in France, and other legal businesses worldwide. Prozes will join the company in late July and will be based at Reed Elsevier's U.S. corporate headquarters in New York. He will be a main board director reporting to Crispin Davis, Reed Elsevier's chief executive officer. The appointment of Prozes fills a key spot in the corporate structure that Davis hopes will take the company forward on its recently outlined initiatives (see the February 28, 2000 NewsBreak "Reed Elsevier Announces Major Internet Strategy to Drive Growth").

Prozes joins Reed Elsevier from the West Group, part of the Thomson Corporation. He joined the West Group in 1997 as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Westlaw, with principal responsibility for the West Online business—the archrival to LEXIS. Prior to joining Thomson Corporation, Prozes held senior management roles at Southam, a Canadian newspaper publisher, and Canada System Group, a computer service provider.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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