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Lexis Answers Uses Artificial Intelligence to Cut to the Chase in Legal Research

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an AI-powered legal research technology that provides fast answers to common legal questions, including definitions, elements of a claim, and standards of proof (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of document and email manegement software that integrates with Microsoft Office and scanners to consolidate all client-related data in one location, ediscovery software for quickly and inexpensively collecting and reviewing documents and email in small cases, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

When you need a legal definition, the elements of a claim, a standard of proof, etc. — legal basics that lie beyond the reach of your memory — it seems like a waste of time to skim cases for the answer. Instead, an intelligent assistant like those in our smartphones should provide the answer instantly.

Lexis Answers … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Lexis Answers is a free enhancement to Lexis Advance that saves you time by using artificial intelligence to anticipate your legal research needs.

The Killer Feature

Lexis Answers doesn't cost extra. It's baked into Lexis Advance. When you enter a search that falls within Lexis Answers' wheelhouse, an Answer Card appears atop the search results.

Product Manager Michael Etgen gave me a demo of Lexis Answers. He starts by entering the search "define res judicata." The Answer Card contains a definition from Bouvier Law Dictionary. Etgen then changes the search to "elements of res judicata." The Answer Card for this search lists res judicata's three elements taken from a Fifth Circuit case with a handy link. Etgen adds "NY" to this search. The Answer Card changes to show the elements of res judicata in New York, referencing a New York Court of Appeals case.

You need not memorize precise syntax to use Lexis Answers. It lists suggested answers as you type that you can select, and understands intent across different variations of language. For example, both "what is the definition of res judiacata" and "define res judicata" generate the same result. As Etgen demonstrated, Lexis Answers also understands jurisdictions such as states.

A team of lawyers with subject matter expertise trains the Lexis Answers algorithm, an ongoing process to ensure this flexibility, improve results, and expand the corpus of knowledge Lexis Answers understands. The algorithm also incorporates intelligence from Shepard's to ensure that cases used to provide answers are among the leading authorities as was the case for the above res judicata example.

Other Notable Features

Below the Answer Card, you'll find case law search results with your Lexis Answers query among the terms in the Search Term Map. Click on this term in the Search Term Map to view it in context without leaving the search results. The Search Term Map also tells you where in the opinion the term appears and its density throughout the opinion.

"Our goal is to create a smarter starting point to research," says Jeff Pfeifer, Vice President of Product Management at LexisNexis. "Using machine learning and advanced natural language processing technologies, Lexis Answers actually understands and interprets the intent of a user's search query — saving them time and effort by surfacing specific and actionable insights right at the top of their search results. This artificial intelligence powering Lexis Answers makes research easier, quicker and more intuitive than ever."

What Else Should You Know?

Lexis Answers currently encompasses legal topics from federal jurisdictions and most U.S. states and territories. As he wraps up my demo, Etgen tells me coverage will continue to expand to include all legal issues in all U.S. jurisdictions. Learn more about Lexis Answers.

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Topics: Legal Research | TL NewsWire
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