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LexisNexis (sometimes simply called "Lexis" among users) is a popular searchable archive of content from newspapers, magazines, legal documents and other printed sources. LexisNexis claims to be the "world’s largest collection of public records, unpublished opinions, forms, legal, news, and business information" while offering their products to a wide range of professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic markets. Typical customers of LexisNexis include lawyers, law students, journalists, and academics. "It's how you know" was the primary slogan for LexisNexis for over a decade. They have moved to a slogan of "Total Solutions".

Content offerings

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The main LexisNexis Search page
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A 1768 Massachusetts case retrieved through the slightly different LexisNexis Academic Universe user interface

LexisNexis is divided into two sites that require separate subscriptions: www.Lexis.com, is intended for legal research, while www.Nexis.com is intended for investigations into business dealings.

Lexis.com

The Lexis database contains all current United States statutes and laws and nearly all published case opinions back to the 1770s, and all publicly available unpublished case opinions from 1980 onward. It also has libraries of statutes, case judgments and opinions for many other jurisdictions such as France, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. Lexis has articles from various legal journals from different countries which show the development of legal systems. Lexis has a library of public records, which includes current mailing addresses for nearly every living person in the United States. It has real property deeds and mortgages for nearly all states, and for many states, it also has voter registrations, motor vehicle registrations, marriage and divorce records, professional licenses, and liens. A related feature, SmartLinx, is quite popular with law enforcement officials, as it scans all Lexis public records databases to build a comprehensive profile of a target subject.

In 2001, LexisNexis acquired CourtLink Corporation and their electronic access and electronic filing and service products. LexisNexis File & Serve (also known as Justicelink/Courtlink eFile) is the world’s first web-based electronic filing and service product. LexisNexis File & Serve [1] allows law firms to file documents securely with the court and serve documents electronically upon other case participants while cutting costs, time and paper consumption. The product offers an alternative to courts allocating tax payer dollars to fund ‘special projects’ to streamline the volume of incoming documents and gives firms more control over the delivery and management of their cases. LexisNexis also leads the USA in the latest trend in document delivery, eService. Firms can now stipulate to electronically serve other case participants in instances where the court may not be ready to implement electronic filing.

As part of its current publishing deal with the California court system, Lexis has a stripped-down free site, available from the California Courts Web site [2], for the public to search California opinions. It also has a stripped-down free site, called LexisOne [3], that has case law available for all American jurisdictions for the last five years.

Nexis.com

News stories from the majority of English-language periodicals worldwide are available back to 1986, and there are a number of articles available as far back as the mid 1970s. To see a free sample of data availability, visit the http://www.lexisnexis.com/news site.

Other offerings

LexisNexis also offers for students at colleges and universities. Its flagship product in this market is LexisNexis Academic, which is a combination of news, business, and legal content. Also available are specialized services that index, abstract, and provide full text content to congressional publications, statistical data, environmental publications, and government periodicals. In the high school market the company sells a product called LexisNexis Scholastic.

LexisNexis also has a textbook publishing division, which is primarily dedicated to printing casebooks for law schools.

Business operations

LexisNexis is now headquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Lexis also operates branch offices in cities all over the world. It employs over 13,000 people worldwide.

Pricing schemes of LexisNexis involve varying methods such as flat monthly rates, per hour rates (previously estimated in the $300 range), or the more common per source rate (each source having differing access limitations and pricing). Usually, law schools and other educational venues will be granted either free or highly discounted rates, which they in turn pass on to their students through the use of a gateway or LexisNexis accounts for them to use.

In the U.S., both LexisNexis and Westlaw offer free optional training seminars for law school students. These seminars supplement the mandatory training provided by law schools in how to perform traditional legal research in a law library. American attorneys are expected to be proficient at using either database to do their own research.

In the UK, Lexis Professional is often charged for per search with each search varying in cost depending on the size of file searched and quantity of material downloaded. Searches cost at least £30 and sometimes a great deal more. This high cost and the complexity of the database means skilled researchers often undertake Lexis searching and not lawyers themselves.

History

Anglo-Dutch publishing giant Reed Elsevier currently owns LexisNexis. At its inception in 1970, the database was christened LEXIS by Mead Data Central (MDC), a subsidiary of the Mead Corporation. It was a continuation of an experiment organized by the Ohio State Bar in 1967. On April 2, 1973, LEXIS launched publicly, offering full-text searching of all Ohio and New York cases. In 1980, LEXIS completed its hand-keyed electronic archive of all U.S. federal and state cases, a monumental achievement. The NEXIS service, added that same year, gave journalists a searchable database of news articles. (Notice the capital letters in the name; it was then standard to capitalize the names of online services.)

In 1975, West Publishing Company, now known as Thomson West, developed Westlaw. The service was launched in 1975 with headnote-only searching (all cases published in the West National Reporter System are prefixed with subject-specific "headnotes" written by West attorney-editors, which can be used for cross-referencing to similar cases through the West American Digest System). Westlaw added true full-text searching in December of 1976. Westlaw is currently LexisNexis' industry rival.

In 1994, Mead Corp divested itself of MDC to return to its core competency of office supply manufacture. In December of that year Reed Elsevier PLC acquired MDC, known as LexisNexis thereafter. During the handover, LexisNexis's website, the LexisNexis Communication Center, went online.

In its early years, Lexis was purely a computer operation. But to compete against West's overwhelmingly powerful national brand, it gradually took over many smaller regional or specialized publishers such as: Michie Company, Martindale-Hubbell, Matthew Bender, Mealey's Litigation Reports, Anderson, Gould Publications, Weil Publishing, and Shepard's Citations.[4] Some predecessors merged into Michie include The Allen Smith Company and Bobbs-Merrill's law book publications. As Lexis added more paper publishing products and West improved its online database offerings, the two eventually arrived at an uneasy coexistence in both the online and the offline legal research markets. See Wexis.

When Toyota launched the Lexus line of luxury vehicles in 1987, Mead Data Central sued for trademark infringement on the theory that consumers of upscale products such as lawyers would confuse Lexus with Lexis. A market research survey was undertaken at the time, asking consumers to identify "Lexis" (it was only spoken); the survey showed that a minuscule quantity of people thought of the computerized legal search system, a similarly minuscule number thought of Toyota's luxury car division, and an overwhelming plurality thought of a soap opera character. Mead lost on appeal in 1989 when the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit held that there was little chance of consumer confusion. Today, the two companies get along fine, and in 2002 implemented a joint promotion called "Win A Lexus On Lexis!"

In 2000, LexisNexis acquired RiskWise, a St. Cloud, Minnesota company. Then, in 2004, it acquired Seisint, Inc, of Boca Raton, Florida for $775 million. Seisint is the company providing the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX). These companies are part of LexisNexis' Risk & Information Analytics group[5].

On March 9, 2005 LexisNexis announced that personal information of some Seisint users may have been stolen. It was originally estimated that 32,000 users were affected [6], but that number greatly increased to over 310,000 [7]. Affected persons will be provided with free fraud insurance and credit bureau reports for a year. However, no reports of identity theft or fraud were discovered because of this security breach.

Competition

LexisNexis' chief competitor in the legal market is Westlaw. Because West and LexisNexis are so pervasive in the legal research market, some customers have jokingly imagined an organization called Wexis.

See also