At this year's LexCon, Lexis representatives outlined their vision for the future of legal research – one that, with the introduction of the latest '(L)Eagle Eye' upgrade, will be defined by advance legal intelligence facilitated through innovative legal analysis and decision support tools.1 According to Mr. Andreas Geyrecker, Director of Product Development at LexisNexis Austria, the aim is to expand the field of vision of lawyers,2 allowing them to draw previously indiscernible connections between transitional provisions, guidelines, regulations and laws, while reducing the time and risks that often accompany the decision-making process.
The following will outline key highlights of the event, focusing in particular on new tools and features introduced by the provider to enhance and yet simplify the legal research experience of its customers.
The Event and Keynote Speech by Prof. Susskind
As Austria's leading provider for digital legal research, LexisNexis unveiled its upcoming plans for 2021 in front of an online audience comprised of lawyers, partners, tax consultants as well as representatives of the judiciary.3 Highlights included updated Lexis 360 features, a Tax Intelligence Initiative as well as the keynote address delivered by Prof. Richard Susskind, whose work largely focuses on the interaction of artificial intelligence and the law. In his speech, Prof. Susskind stated that society has entered a transitional period with regard to how professions function and provide their services. Technology, he argued, has been the driving force of these socio-economic changes.
Contrary to popular belief, the significance and impact of technology, however, does not lie in automation, but transformation. It thus plays a pivotal role in not merely simplifying but modifying the role and tasks carried out by experts such as jurists and tax accounts.4 While new technologies are unlikely to displace the legal professional workforce, they will equip law firms to better meet their results-oriented and client focused objectives by optimizing and expediting their ability to provide timely legal advice and assistance. According to Prof. Susskind, it is the moral obligation of the legal profession to offer alternatives to existing mechanisms that are too often falling short of their potential economically, technologically and qualitatively.
Innovations and Features
While last year's 'Watchdog'-Upgrade introduced features to track legal changes via SmartSearch Alerts, artificial intelligence innovations in the legal sector are destined to continue being carried forward through the recently presented tools, which promise to accelerate the speed and accessibility of legal research.
The new version makes navigation much easier. This is in part due to the fact that more frequent use will render more effective search results. According to LexisNexis, the search engine recognizes and collects the content searched for on prior occasions.5 In doing so, it streamlines the research process by providing quicker and more convenient access to these sources.
ii. Design and Innovations
The striking redesign of the platform causes the overall display of information to appear lighter as well as more accessible and easy to read. The added content button to key sources, e.g. manuals, comments, magazines etc. allows customers to quickly access links at any given time on both the start page as well as subpages.6 This reduces the search duration while also improving research efficiency.
LexisNexis is also breaking new ground with 'augmented content' through legal analytics and visualization aids to help consumers understand the context of norms as well as access additional relevant information that may otherwise be easily overlooked and thus give rise to liability. The creation of visual tools and interactive diagrams is particularly significant as it equips customers to identify legal connections between judgments, laws, guidelines, transitional/penal provisions and legal literature such as fundamental judgments.
Further innovations include:
- Natural Language Processing: This new search function enables customers to discover content that is thematically similar to a given text passage provided (e.g. by marking part of a legal document, other resources will appear that centre on the same legal issue at hand).
- Lexis SmartSearch Recommendations: The SmartSearch function is intended to create shortcuts and obtain the most relevant information from a large pool of legal sources. Users will now be able to draw parallels that would otherwise be highly time-consuming for individual users to uncover.
LexisNexis Tax Initiative
The LexisNexis Tax Initiative has been a collaborative effort between prominent law firm partners, the Wirtschaftsuniversität (WU) Vienna as well as financial and tax authorities. The project introduces three key features, namely 1) mechanisms to facilitate the dialogue between Austrian tax experts and ensure consensus on disputed topics; 2) provision of daily tax news updates by WU experts allowing practitioners to stay updated without the need to undertake extensive additional research; 3) the use of a digital assistant (Lexis VAT Tool) whose specific questions will guide experts through complex sales tax testing schemes to deliver concrete answers, supported by documentation.7
In his closing remarks, Mr. Rudolf Mayrhofer-Grünbühel, LexisNexis Director of Sales and Marketing, reinforced the significance of these new features in terms of transforming the efficiency and speed at which work tasks are executed and legal research is undertaken. They will also be instrumental in the face of yet unprecedented and exceptional challenges including those presented by the current COVID-19 pandemic. An information point has been set up to offer quick and easy access to high-quality articles, briefings and legislation concerning the coronavirus and its legal implications.
The LexisNexis Eagle Eye upgrade as well as its Tax Initiative have set new standards in terms of how legal research is and will be conducted in the future. By increasingly incorporating artificial intelligence mechanisms into the legal realm, law firms will certainly become more competitive by delivering detailed and targeted research results in shorter periods of time. They will also significantly shorten the due diligence process required to advise client strategically and intelligently, while leaving less room for potential mistakes or inaccuracies.
1 LexisNexis (2020) (L)Eagle Eye: das Lexis 360® Jahresupgrade ist da. Available at: https://www.lexisnexis.at/blog-post/leagle-eye-das-lexis-360-jahresupgrade-ist-da/ [accessed 07.11.2020].
2 See also: Anwalt Aktuell (2020) Das Lexis 360: Eagle Eye Upgrade im Test. Available at: https://www.anwaltaktuell.at/05-20/lexis-eagle-eye-upgrade-im-test/ [accessed 06.11.2020].
3 To watch the live-streamed event in full length please visit: https://www.diepresse.com//livetalk.
4 See also: Die Presse (2020) 'LexCon2020.' Technologierevolution für das Recht. 21 October, p10.
5 See also: See also: Die Presse (2020) 'LexCon2020.' Bei der Recherche nichts mehr übersehen. 21 October, p10.
6 See also: n ii.
7 See also: Die Presse (2020) 'LexCon2020.' Augmented Content forciert die Effektivität. 21 October, p11.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.