If you’ve ever been tasked with litigation research, you know just how long it can take – and that’s on a straightforward matter. We’ve all been asked to find that needle in the haystack, or that one case that the partner swears they once read that said a very specific thing that wins your whole case. In those instances, a single litigation research issue can easily take up an entire weekend.
While many have come to think of this as a rite of passage in litigation, get ready for it to change. LexisNexis® is reinventing litigation research from the ground up with Fact & Issue Finder, the newest piece in the Lexis+® litigation research portfolio of technologies built around the litigator’s workflow. The idea is to bring together advanced search capabilities, a critical breadth of content that spans legal and nonlegal information, visualization, and analytics to provide holistic insights into research issues, allowing you to spend far less time on research and more time on decision-making.
What this means for you, in a nutshell, is that the epic litigation research project that used to take you all weekend can now be completed in a matter of minutes, with full confidence that you’ve found all relevant results (or lack thereof, contrary to what that partner might think). Being released in September as part of every Lexis+® subscription, this powerful new tool is built with all litigation professionals in mind, from partners to paralegals to knowledge management professionals.
It might sound too good to be true, but one test drive of Fact & Issue Finder and you’ll see litigation research in a whole new light.
Deconstructing Litigation Research
Fact & Issue Finder arose out of an initiative by LexisNexis® to completely deconstruct litigation research. In speaking to hundreds, if not thousands, of litigators over the years, they kept running into the same complaints and issues. The main problems they found were threefold (which probably sound all too familiar):
- There’s an abyss of information, with a seemingly endless amount of resources to wade through in the course of your research, while always feeling like you’re missing something.
- The current litigation research workflow is fractured, or even nonexistent, despite the amount of this work being done – you shouldn’t have to try to piece together data across a multitude of websites and products, again still feeling like you’re missing something.
- Despite these first two problems, there’s no current solution catered to tackling fact- and issue-specific litigation research in an intuitive manner.
So, what LexisNexis® decided to do is blow up litigation research and start over. Taking input from actual litigators onboard, they built out the ideal research workflow from scratch. The result is Fact & Issue Finder, which takes the spotlight off the skill of crafting searches and places it on the skill of thinking and reasoning like an attorney.
A Better, Faster Way to Research
Fact & Issue Finder automates the entire litigation research workflow to allow for what was once hours of work to take place in a matter of minutes. The whole process starts with your powerful and easy-to-use dashboard, which you access directly from the Lexis+® homepage.
It’s perhaps easiest to understand the magic of Fact & Issue Finder from the perspective of a very specific research scenario. Imagine you’re handling a case that involves paralysis following a surgery and you want to see whether you can bring a claim under the res ipsa loquitur doctrine in California. As this specific fact pattern likely doesn’t come up that often, your research could quickly turn into the dreaded needle-in-a-haystack hunt. You’ll need to understand not only the elements of the claim, but whether it’s been brought in California, what the case law has said, whether such a claim, if it exists, has succeeded, the potential value, possible experts, and other related medical issues that might be relevant.
Fact & Issue Finder makes your job easy. From your homepage, first select your relevant general practice area from personal injury, labor and employment, insurance, business and commercial, real estate, or intellectual property. From within personal injury, start typing res ipsa, and you’ll see the tool start to work.
First, because the tool is truly topic- and issue-based, you’ll only see taxonomy topics.
LexisNexis® has dedicated a taxonomy team to handcrafting searches for over 6,000 of the most commonly selected litigation topics, meaning the tool understands the nuances of litigation practice and strips away everything else in the search results. You get only the most relevant results across multiple content types, with none of the trial-and-error searching you’re used to.
Fact & Issue Finder also layers on an AI technology called embeddings that allows you to search by common synonyms in addition to exact terms of art. For example, age discrimination might also be called ageism, and the tool accounts for that. You can simply type the way you’d normally type, without having to pre-research all possible alternate terms before you start.
With both of these powerful features, Fact & Issue Finder shifts the burden away from you and onto Lexis, so you can get right to making the actionable decisions you need to make, and not on crafting the right 30-character search string to get at results.
Once you run your search, you’re taken to a search overview page, which details all the searches being run behind the scenes. You’ll see a series of tiles, each representing a content type, including Case Graph, Practical Guidance®, Administrative Materials, Verdicts and Settlements, Expert Witnesses, Context, and relevant third-party practice area materials from Lexis’s sister companies and partners. In the medical context, for example, you’ll see materials from Elsevier®. The idea is to get to you the best possible content for your specific issue.
There’s also an Additional Fact or Issues bar, where you can really get into the nitty gritty of the facts and issues in your case. In our scenario, you can keep adding issues like surgery or paralysis or malpractice to really narrow down your results. The best part, though, is that Fact & Issue Finder incorporates what they call no-fail searching. After you’ve entered everything, you’ll see chips in each of your tiles for your terms and parameters, which allow you to figure out exactly when your search hits zero results. So, for example, if malpractice is the term that generates no results, you’ll see it crossed out. This allows you to remove that term and keep tweaking your search and focusing on your most key facts with a few simple clicks until you get the best possible set of results, without a fear that you’ve missed something because you had one term throwing your whole search off.
What would normally take hours of searching through trial and error can now happen in just minutes, with the bonus of knowing you’ve left no stone unturned and found everything that’s potentially relevant to your case.
Fact & Issue Finder is also incredibly helpful when it comes to finding or assessing expert witnesses. Based on your search parameters, you’ll see not just experts that generally work in the field of your case, but experts who have experience with the specific facts of your case in your court. Fact & Issue Finder extracts this information from its Verdicts and Settlements database to show you experts that have at least one documented verdict or settlement involving your search terms, and then takes you to its Context page where you can get full analytics on that expert.
Of course, you also get full access to case law via Case Graph, which will look like the Lexis+® experience you’re used to, but with more functionality. You’ll see a case result list, but also have the ability to jump to connected documents for every single case law result.
Through machine learning, the tool creates what they call legal matter clusters, which pull together any available briefs, pleadings, motions, dockets, verdicts, and settlements for a case, as well as any relevant statutes and codes that are cited. If it’s available on Lexis, you can access the document with a single click, always in a new tab so you don’t lose your place in your workflow.
Fact & Issue Finder changes the research game by integrating the various Lexis+® products you would typically use in your research in one place, so you never have to jump from product to product or disrupt your workflow.
That weekend you spent searching for the one magic case that matches your fact pattern? It’s about to be a thing of the past. In a matter of minutes, you can find everything on Lexis+® (and then some) that hits on your facts and issues. Instead of crafting searches, you can spend that time making decisions – or maybe not work all weekend (one can dream).