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4 Tips for Improving Your Legal Searches with Generative Engines

April 18, 2024 (3 min read)

By Jennifer Belz

The emergence of generative engines — a new wave of generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) — is poised to revolutionize the way lawyers approach legal research. But what exactly are generative engines, and how can they empower you to become a more efficient and effective legal researcher?

Taking Legal Research to New Heights with Generative Engines

Imagine a research assistant on steroids; that's essentially what a generative engine is. Unlike traditional search engines that simply locate relevant keywords, generative engines go a step further. They are trained on massive amounts of legal data, including case law, statutes, regulations and scholarly articles. This allows them to not only find information but also to understand the legal context and relationships between different legal concepts.

Here are some tips to help you become a master of Gen AI-powered legal research:

  1. Craft Precise and Focused Queries

Generative engines thrive on clear and concise instructions. Ditch the complex Boolean searches and formulate your research questions using natural language. Instead of searching for "acts of moral turpitude," you could ask, "What is considered an act of moral turpitude in California?” This targeted approach ensures the engine delivers the most relevant results, saving you valuable time.

  1. Leverage Advanced Analysis Features

Generative engines don't just find information, they analyze it. Many engines can dissect the retrieved information and identify key legal arguments, reasoning employed by courts, and potential counter-arguments. Leverage this capability by thinking of your Gen AI tool as a virtual legal assistant that highlights critical legal nuances and potential legal roadblocks. This deeper understanding allows you to build stronger case strategies from the outset.

  1. Streamline Case Law Review

Case law analysis is a cornerstone of legal research. Generative engines can automate the tedious process of identifying relevant cases and comparing them to your specific factual scenario. Here's how to streamline case law review with Gen AI:

  • Identify Similar Cases: By analyzing case elements and factual context, the engine can find past cases with analogous situations. This provides a starting point for in-depth analysis, saving you time spent on initial research.
  • Distinguish Key Differences: The engine can highlight crucial distinctions between your case and seemingly similar precedents. This can be crucial for crafting arguments that exploit these differences and strengthen your client's position.
  • Approach Outcome Predictions with Caution: While some engines might predict potential case outcomes based on historical data, these predictions should be treated with caution. The law is nuanced, and unforeseen factors can influence the final verdict. Use them as a starting point for further analysis, not a definitive answer.
  1. Enhance Legal Writing with AI-powered Drafting Assistance

Generative engines can extend their support beyond research. Many offer features that assist in drafting legal documents, such as legal memos, briefs, motions and contracts. For example, by feeding the Gen AI engine information about your case and legal arguments, you can generate drafts that incorporate relevant legal language and citations. This reduces initial drafting time, allowing you to focus on refining the content and ensuring legal accuracy. Moreover, some engines can analyze legal arguments and suggest revisions to enhance the clarity, structure, and flow of your writing. This ensures your arguments are presented in a persuasive and logical manner.

Generative Engines Change the Game

Generative engines are a game-changer for legal research. They offer significant time savings, increased research efficiency and deeper legal insights. However, it's important to remember that they are tools, not replacements for a lawyer's expertise.

By mastering these tools and integrating them into your workflow, you can become a more efficient and effective legal researcher, ultimately improving the quality of your legal services. For more tips on how to conduct effective legal research with Gen AI technology, please visit the Lexis+ AI Video Tutorials page.

Improving Legal Searches with Lexis+ AI

Lexis+ AI is our breakthrough Gen AI platform that we believe will transform legal work by providing a suite of legal research, drafting, and summarization tools that delivers on the potential of Gen AI technology. It pairs our unsurpassed legal content with breakthrough Gen AI technology in a way that could redefine the way that legal research is conducted and legal work product is created.

Lexis+ AI search answers are grounded in the world’s largest repository of accurate and exclusive legal content from LexisNexis with industry-leading data security and attention to privacy. To learn more, view a video demonstration or request a free trial of Lexis+ AI, please go to