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The Future of Online Legal Research

September 22, 2021 (3 min read)

Online Legal Research Advances Key to the Practice of Law

Legal research requires identifying and analyzing fact-based precedent to handle a legal task with authority and confidence. With the right facts and circumstances, practitioners can prove or disprove a client's position on a particular issue. Quality legal research is critical to the practice of law. 

Before sources and materials can be analyzed, they must first be found. Legal research databases are overwhelming in size and practitioners must search efficiently and effectively to ensure complete and accurate results. Lawyers, paralegals and law librarians have a deep understanding of search concepts and techniques that play a key role in ensuring quality results. 

The generation of online legal research databases has granted practitioners, paralegals, law librarians and researchers access to more advanced tools and technology to improve efficiency. The sophistication of legal research databases is just getting started. Understanding the future of online legal research requires an understanding of how it got its start. 

Foundations of Modern Online Legal Research

The legal research process at its core, is similar to the research process across other disciplines and industries. You must begin by identifying objectives and specific needs, as well as the format and audience for the finished product. Research starts broadly with secondary sources and legal dictionaries, then narrowing down to primary resources, including case law research, statues, constitutions, and regulations.

What has always been true about the foundation of modern online legal research databases is the use of special solutions for problems unique to searching legal information. Yes, the approach may be very similar, but search structure and connections between disparate sources are what has set legal research apart from the beginning. 

  • Boolean search made online legal research possible with queries of keywords that are simple to understand and easy to implement if a searcher knows what they're looking for. 
  • Natural language made online legal research more human and forgiving by recognizing inexact queries though similar matches. 
  • Advanced search filters and algorithms removes the need to disambiguate legal terms that carry different meanings in different practice or jurisdictional settings. 

The use of advanced search and unique solutions for searching legal information differentiates Lexis+ from other online search engines. The next era of differentiation is about finding relationships.

Welcome to The Future of Online Legal Research 

Advanced search capabilities work best when searchers know what they're looking for and loosely where to find it. As practitioners search through case law, statutes, constitutions, regulations and more, the sophistication of legal research databases must remain lockstep.

Improving online legal research begins with finding relationships—connecting the dots—between discrete pieces of information. What was previously thought to be disparate sources of information are now ecosystems of contextually relevant information in modern legal research databases

Introducing Lexis+ from LexisNexis, a new online legal research experience designed to save you time and instill greater confidence in your work via one streamlined display—unlike anything you’ve ever seen in the legal space. 

Search the most comprehensive collection of case law, editorial analysis, secondary sources and practical guidance. Tools like Shepard’s® At Risk identify cases at risk of being overruled to ensure you’re only citing the most authoritative sources, while features like Lexis Answers help you resolve outstanding legal questions without reading lengthy documents by leveraging AI to locate the answers you seek directly within available documents.

Only Lexis+ features the comprehensiveness of the LexisNexis product ecosystem complete with legal research, data-driven insights and practical guidance. 

Learn more about how Lexis+ can facilitate better online legal research for the cases on your desk today.

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