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Top Six Reasons Small Law Firms Prefer Lexis+™ to Westlaw Edge®

May 26, 2021 (6 min read)

Lexis+™ and Westlaw Edge® are arguably the two most well-known legal research services for attorneys. When it comes to evaluating them, however, there are several important distinctions. LexisNexis® was the first to put legal research online and—true to form—continues to lead the way in innovative legal research advances, which is why legal firms across the nation use the LexisNexis services as their go-to legal research platform. By integrating the tools and content needed for efficient and thorough legal research, LexisNexis has built an all-in-one service to help small law firms formulate arguments. 

But what exactly gives Lexis+ its edge? 

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1. Cutting-Edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology

Lexis+ legal AI and sophisticated algorithms infuse powerful insights into traditional methods of legal research. This allows attorneys to streamline legal research and uncover hard-hitting insights.

  • Ravel™ View: This feature allows attorneys to visualize their case law search results to show how top cases cite each other—and how they can work together to help strengthen an argument. This tool allows attorneys to easily discover case connections, uncover seminal opinions and identify cases and citing trends that might otherwise be overlooked.
  • Search Term Maps: Attorneys often need to consume and digest immense amounts of case law in a short span of time. This Lexis+ feature leverages the power of visualization to enhance case search queries. Attorneys can now quickly review search results screens and lengthy cases with Search Term Maps and gauge whether reading the case is relevant to search intent.
  • Lexis Answers®:  AI-powered approach to mining comprehensive and relevant answers to legal questions helps small teams cover more ground faster and with fewer searches. It uses revolutionary machine learning to anticipate your research path, curating and delivering the most pertinent results.
  • Lexis+ Litigation Analytics: Powered by industry-leading Lex Machina® analytics and unrivaled Lexis® CourtLink® coverage, Lexis+ Litigation Analytics provides insights on judges, courts, attorneys and law firms. Solo practitioners and small firms can better compete in court with stronger arguments fueled by data. 

2. More Primary Content—Faster

When weighing Lexis+ vs. Westlaw Edge, the difference quickly becomes clear. Only LexisNexis offers the vast, authoritative primary content that give you the most comprehensive and richest information for your work. When you choose the Lexis+ service, you unlock 17% more federal case law and 10% more state case law than Westlaw Edge.*

What’s more, the Lexis+ service retrieves cases and puts them online faster than Westlaw Edge over 83% of the time. The LexisNexis editorial process provides a fast turnaround to help attorneys stay current. Editorial enhancements like headnotes and case summaries are completed within 72 to 96 hours on average.

3. Robust Secondary Resources

More than cases and codes, Lexis+ offers secondary sources and guides that span all practice areas in all 50 states. Lexis+ also features Practical Guidance, which supplies insights and support from over 1,500 industry-leading practitioners, plus practice notes, timesaving checklists and annotated forms to simplify drafting. 

In addition, Lexis+ grants users access to news and legal news sources, including the Law360® service, ALM® sources, The Wall Street Journal® and many more, as part of a collection of 40K+ news and business sources. With exclusive legal-analysis sources such as LexisNexis® Matthew Bender® treatises, small firms can quickly understand how changes in the legal and regulatory space might affect current and future cases. Thanks to this breadth of coverage, Lexis+ provides the latest news and views on clients, companies, competitors and evolving legal topics.

4. Flexible Search Functions

It’s impossible to ignore the differences in search functions when analyzing Lexis+ vs. Westlaw Edge. Thanks to its advanced back-end technology, the Lexis+ service offers flexible search options. 

The Lexis+ search interface allows legal practitioners to enter a natural language query, browse by topic, search by citation or use Boolean logic. The search can extend across the entire LexisNexis database or be limited by topic or jurisdiction, and then filtered to narrow results further. 

The Missing and Must Include feature gives you more control over your search, highlighting terms from your search query that are missing from a specific document in the results set—without actually having to open the document. For even greater search customization and control, the Search Tree data visualization tool helps you better understand why certain terms are missing from the results set, and selects the requisite terms to refresh the results set with those terms.

5. Shepard’s® Citations Service

Westlaw® has created its own citation service called KeyCite®, while Lexis+ features the Shepard’s Citations Service. Shepard’s is the market-leading legal citator because it’s time-tested, offering an authoritative, up-to-date look at how courts have treated primary law. It also shows points of law that judges have repeatedly followed to support their decisions, to help attorneys cite more confidently. 

Brief Analysis, powered by Shepard’s, is a feature on Lexis+ that extracts legal concepts from your briefs and sources and creates targeted research recommendations based on citation patterns. With Lexis+, you’ll ensure that you’re citing only the most authoritative sources to build a winning argument. 

6. Tailored to Help Small Law Firms

The Lexis+ service is a smart solution for small firms and solo practitioners looking for a good value. Small firms don’t have the staff to spare when it comes to legal research, which is why Lexis+ features are optimized to help accelerate the work attorneys do. With specific features that small law firms can use as a springboard to expand services, find efficiencies and win more, Lexis+ can help small firms and solo practitioners avoid becoming overwhelmed and overworked.

Explore the Differences for Yourself

LexisNexis is known for revolutionizing legal research to help make it less tedious and more data-driven. Using AI technology, analytics and visualization tools, Lexis+ provides new avenues for attorneys to formulate case strategy. This service also establishes an efficient and real-time connection between legal professionals and changes in the law. When it comes to affordable, fast access to timely legal content, LexisNexis beats Westlaw every time. 

Explore the benefits of Lexis+ yourself by contacting a sales rep or starting a free trial today. 

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Related: LexisNexis vs. Thompson Reuters: The Comparison

*Comparison data based on information available as of September 2020.

Comparison data based on information available as of October 2020.


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LexisNexis, Lexis, Lexis Answers, CourtLink, Shepard’s and the Knowledge Burst logo are registered trademarks, and Lexis+ is a trademark of RELX Inc. Matthew Bender is a registered trademark of Matthew Bender & Company, Inc. Law360 is a registered trademark of Portfolio Media, Inc. Lex Machina is a registered trademark of Lex Machina, Inc. Ravel is a trademark of Ravel Law, Inc. ALM is a registered trademark of ALM Media Properties, LLC. Westlaw, Westlaw Edge and KeyCite are registered trademarks of West Publishing Corporation. Other products or services may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. © 2021 LexisNexis