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Lexis® and Lexis+® are two leading legal research platforms from LexisNexis® that provide access to an extensive database of information, including, but not limited to, case law, statutes, regulations, and secondary sources. Widely used by attorneys and other legal professionals to build competitive arguments, as well as to stay on top of trends, these platforms are among the leading competitors in the legal research and legal technology industry.
If you’re hoping to equip your firm with new technology, you might be wondering which solution is better for you — Lexis or Lexis+?
Because Lexis and Lexis+ prioritize a similar goal — helping attorneys quickly find the right information to build their case — it’s understandable to feel some confusion about how the two platforms from the same company differ. This article aims to clear up that confusion, ultimately helping you make the best decision for your firm when it comes to legal research software.
First, we’ll briefly outline the history of the development of both products; then, we’ll offer a detailed comparison of content, key features, and pricing. Whether you're new to LexisNexis, a long-time user of Lexis, or considering making the switch to Lexis+, read on to find out which platform best meets the needs of your practice.
LexisNexis introduced Lexis.com® — the company’s first web browser-based legal research solution — in 1997. Since then, the legal industry has witnessed massive shifts in technology, and as a result, the sky is the limit when it comes to accessible content and efficiency-boosting features.
Lexis.com wasn’t phased out until 2017, but an improved solution — Lexis Advance® was launched in 2011 as a web-based application. Promising innovative tools and content, including integrated search results and mobile access, Lexis Advance offered the first glimpse into the future of legal research. It continued to update and evolve over time, eventually re-branding as Lexis in 2020, when Lexis+ was introduced as a new, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered, beginning-to-end research solution for legal professionals.
What do these two platforms have in common? First, and as mentioned above, they have a similar goal: helping attorneys access the right information to support their argument. Additionally, both platforms:
If you’re aiming to access a leading collection of content on a budget, Lexis might be the right choice for you; however, before you decide, it’s helpful to know how these platforms differ.
Lexis+ is the newer, more advanced legal research platform, and its features are reflective of this fact. It’s differentiated from Lexis by its wealth of helpful features that save time (and, therefore, money) in the long run, as well as its direct integration of secondary law. It serves as a beginning-to-end solution; in other words, the additional features and content included in Lexis+ ensure you don’t need to turn to other services to find what you need. From expert analysis to cutting-edge search features, Lexis+ is intended to serve as a one-stop-shop for your legal research needs.
The remainder of this article discusses the key differences and similarities between Lexis and Lexis+ in greater depth, beginning with content. After all, it’s impossible to conduct high-quality research without the right information.
Both Lexis and Lexis+ offer access to the largest collection of state case law available in the industry — 22% more than Westlaw* — in addition to the leading collection of state statutes and legislation. With that in mind, either platform is a good option for attorneys hoping to hone a competitive edge with jurisdictional content.
If you’re looking for materials beyond state case law, statutes, and regulations, both Lexis and Lexis+ packages can also include a combination of or all of the following, depending on the subscription:
The greatest distinction between the two platforms with regards to content is that Lexis+ is designed to easily incorporate secondary sources into search results – while Lexis does not offer that integration.
Below, we compare several key features included in Lexis, Lexis+, or both.
Practical Guidance (PG) offers a competitive range of secondary content, from expertly drafted legal practice guides and articles to annotated forms and checklists. All Lexis+ packages include PG content, with direct online access built into the Lexis+ homepage. Additionally, the secondary content from PG is integrated directly into search results, alongside primary law.
Practice in Finance, M&A, Antitrust, or Labor & Employment? PG will also include Market Standards, which utilizes over 150 deal points to show how market trends have evolved over time.
Lexis users can purchase Practical Guidance separately, but the content will not be integrated with their Lexis search results.
Lexis+ includes easy access to litigation analytics, allowing attorneys to search for trends among courts, attorneys, law firms, and judges. The hub easily integrates with other LexisNexis products like Courtlink®, Context®, and Lex Machina®**, providing more information for attorneys who are hoping to dive deeper into analytics.
While Lexis+ has the litigation analytics hub integrated directly into its home screen, Lexis does not offer access to this service.
(Litigation Analytics hub integrated into Lexis+ homepage navigation menu; Click to enlarge)
Brief Analysis is an AI-enhanced legal document analysis tool that “reads” any legal brief uploaded to the service — including an opposing counsel’s — and offers recommendations for strengthening an argument (while spotting potential weaknesses). The tool compiles the information in a dashboard, which offers fast access to similar briefs, helpful quotes, Shepard’s citations, and more.
All Lexis+ packages include Brief Analysis, but Lexis does not.
The legal news hub compiles top stories and trending articles from leading sources, including Law360®, Mlex®, and Mealey’s®, and covers over 140 practice areas. The hub is accessible directly from the Lexis+ homepage – plus, get legal news integrated directly within search results. Lexis does not offer access to the legal news hub.
(Legal News Hub home screen; Click to enlarge)
Attorneys can access Lexis+ Pinpoint – the 2022 LegalTechBreakthrough Legal Solution of the Year — directly from the Lexis+ homepage. The AI-enhanced feature can suggest terms of art related to a case and search quickly across content types for the most relevant information. All search results are presented in an interactive dashboard, so attorneys can easily identify next steps.
Take a Free Guided Tour of Lexis+ Pinpoint
All Lexis+ packages include Lexis+ Pinpoint, but Lexis does not offer access to the tool.
Powered by natural language processing, Lexis Answers provides Lexis+ users the ability to type a question into the search bar and receive a succinct answer at the top of their search results. Lexis does not have this capability.
Search Term Tree is a powerful visualization tool that displays the details regarding how your search terms were applied within your search and how the relationships between them impacted your results. The tool works across all content types, with the exception of legal news. Lexis+ includes Search Term Tree, but Lexis does not have this capability.
(Example of a Search Term Tree; Click to enlarge)
The Missing & Must Include feature is offered only on Lexis+ and quickly displays which of your search terms are missing from a particular result. The label is integrated into the results list, meaning there is no need to click into the document to see what’s missing. Conveniently located next to the missing label is a “must include” button, so you can quickly narrow your search to only documents that include the term. See how it works in the video below:
Both Lexis and Lexis+ include Search Term Maps — a patented data visualization that utilizes color coding to display where search terms are located within search results. Quickly see where your terms are most densely clustered, and, in turn, identify the most relevant search results with ease.
Search Terms Maps are limited to the content accessible through your Lexis subscription; however, Lexis+ will show Search Term Maps across all content types — integrated directly into your search results.
(Example of Search Term Map; Click to enlarge)
See how the top 75 cases in your search results are related with Ravel View, a data visualization built directly into search results. See seminal cases, as well as how cases cite to one another. Both Lexis and Lexis+ boast this capability.
(Example of Ravel View; Click to enlarge)
Get a comprehensive view of the case law that surrounds a specific issue with Legal Issue Trail. The feature lists cases that cite to the opinion on a particular issue, providing an efficient snapshot of how the issue has evolved over time.
Both Lexis and Lexis+ provide this feature.
Shepard’s citation service has been the leading industry citator for over 175 years — and both Lexis and Lexis+ incorporate Shepard’s Signals into search results. Unlike leading competitors, Shepard’s Signals indicate when law has been treated positively in court, as well as negatively and neutrally.
Although both Lexis and Lexis+ include Shepard’s Signals and Shepard’s reports, only Lexis+ provides access to additional features, such expanded history and Shepard’s At Risk.
(Shepard's Decision Analysis; Click to enlarge)
Compare two versions of a code, court rule, or legislation side-by-side on Lexis+ to better understand key changes that impact your clients. Lexis does not have this capability.
Track significant news and legal developments from one convenient location, including analysis of the developments. This capability is only included on Lexis+.
See Cost Details
Lexis can be purchased online for as low as $85/month. Meanwhile, Lexis+ — the newer and more advanced option — can be purchased online for as low as $140/month.
While Lexis may be easier on the budget, it’s important to consider the time savings associated with Lexis+. If an AI-enhanced service can help you find the results you need faster, will you be able to take on more clients? Will integrated secondary content strengthen your argument, helping you delight clients more often? Will the extra tools and visualizations streamline your research process, helping you to hone a competitive advantage?
Ultimately, greater investment in your firm may contribute to higher profitability in the long run. Regardless of which service you choose, it’s usually a good idea to contact LexisNexis to get the best pricing directly from a representative.
Navigating important decisions is part of being an attorney — and choosing the right legal research software for your firm is one of those decisions. Making a smart investment in your firm can save you time and money in the long run; after all, the tools you choose to purchase should work for you.
If you’re on a budget and comfortable with the content and features available on Lexis, that might be the platform for you. Even though Lexis does not host the same number of features and AI capabilities as Lexis+, it still equips you to access the largest collection of state law in the industry.
However, if you are ready to make an investment that empowers you to harness AI, cutting-edge features, and an array of different content types, Lexis+ is for you.
Still not sure? Click below to try Lexis+ for free or contact us to discuss your decision further.
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*Data based on information available as of November 2022.
**Products sold separately; not included in Lexis+