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Ravel™ View is a powerful visualization tool included within the Lexis Advance® legal research platform. It uses an intuitive graphical representation of your search results to help you quickly filter your findings and pinpoint the cases most valuable to your legal strategy.
Better still, from Ravel View’s unique perspective, you’ll be able to spot good law, thanks to the Shepard’s® treatment display incorporated with Ravel View. That means you can quickly focus on cases that offer the most opportunity to help.
And perhaps most importantly, you can uncover relationships that you might have completely overlooked on a more traditional text-based search.
So…how does this tool work? Let’s explore a quick use case.
For starters, familiarize yourself with how to use the Ravel View feature. A handy quick-start guide can be found here, while you’ll find a more thorough walk through of the Ravel View’s capabilities here.
Once you’re acquainted with Ravel View, we can dive into a specific search.
For this exercise, we’ll use the keywords “Hurricane Property Damage” to research a hypothetical legal claim.
Your search begins at the Lexis Advance service’s homepage. Simply type “Hurricane Property Damage” into the big box to launch the search.
Once you click the magnifying glass icon (or hit enter), you’re taken to the search results screen.
Then, click the Ravel View icon to switch from the traditional text layout to the full Ravel View display.
A quick glance at the chart above reveals a few larger circles scattered amongst small circles. The larger circles represent cases that have been cited most often and by clicking one of the larger circles, you’ll see visual links to the other cases that were affected by its ruling. Take note of the link’s color too, it corresponds to the case’s treatment of the linked case. Similar to the Shepard’s color-coding scheme, a green link signifies positive treatment, while yellow and red represent caution and warning, respectively.
Inside the righthand pane (pictured below), you’ll get a case summary with key details like the decision date and jurisdiction, plus a Shepard’s Signal™ indicator that tells you the strength of the law derived from the case.
So, for our Hurricane Property Damage search, clicking the biggest circle on the page tells us that the most-cited case is 2008’s Mills v. Foremost Insurance Company. (Mills v. Foremost Insurance Company (511 F.3d 1300))
In addition to some of the core details of the case, notice the little yellow triangle. That’s the case’s Shepard’s Signal indicator—for a good primer on how Shepard’s Signals work, read this.
You can also see that the big circle representing the Mills case connects to three other smaller cases, indicating that this case influenced the decisions in the cases it links out to.
So, taking this all in, we can learn a few things about the Mills case right off the bat. For starters, we know when and in what jurisdiction it was decided. We can also get an idea of its relevance, thanks to the case overview. Going further, we can look at its Shepard’s Signal indicator as a good benchmark for how the decision has been treated by later courts.
Finally, we can see that it’s influential, with at least some part of the decision being invoked in later court decisions.
Perhaps the most intriguing benefit of Ravel View is the ability to highlight the way a case connects to others. This feature is especially handy if you want to easily scan your search results and quickly pinpoint relevant cases to buttress your strategy.
Using those Hurricane Property Damage search results as an example, we can see that the largest circle, the Mills case, connects to three others in the Ravel View display.
Now, you can start exploring those cases. If you click the smaller circle to the right, you’ll connect to Herrera v. JFK Med. Ctr., L.P. (Herrera v. JFK Med. Ctr., L.P. (648 Fed. Appx. 930)). You’ll be presented with similar information that you saw with the Mills case—when/where it was decided, a brief overview of the case, any Shepard’s treatment and so on.
You can then dive in to that case and see how Mills influenced the decision. If the Herrera case went on to influence other cases, the Ravel View would show you links to the related decisions—just as you saw with the original Mills case.
In fact, if you look at one of the larger circles in the middle of the Ravel View display, you’ll find the S. Tex. Med. Clinics, P.A. v. CNA Fin. Corp. case. (S. Tex. Med. Clinics, P.A. v. CNA Fin. Corp. (2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11460))
That case links to a past case (Narricot Indus. v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co. (2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19074)), which influenced its decision. It also links to a future case (Mid-Continent Cas. Co. v. Eland Energy, Inc. 795 F. Supp. 2d 493)) that it, in turn, influenced.
Sometimes the Ravel View presents you with a lot of relevant cases. While that’s often a good dilemma to have, sifting through them all in the visual layout canbe cumbersome. That’s why there are handy filtering tools available to help you further refine your results. To find these filters, look for this button near the top of your screen.
Once clicked, you’ll be able to quickly distill your results by date, court, state and a host of other variables. With each filter you set, the Ravel View will adjust automatically once you click the filter OK button.
While this “Hurricane Property Damage” example demonstrated several of the capabilities of Ravel View, the best way to see all of the benefits of this tool is to start experiencing it firsthand. Ravel View is included with your Lexis Advance® subscription at no additional charge, so there’s no risk to jump in and give it a try.
Check out the video below to learn more.
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