LexisNexis is perhaps the most widely used legal database and toolset common to the fields of law, education, business, and government.
Look at any law school’s database subscriptions and you will find LexisNexis listed alongside JSTOR, WorldCat, and ProQuest. Ask any attorney who was in law school in the 1990s or 2000s and they will tell you how their school had its own LexisNexis printer. Do an internet search for employers looking for job candidates familiar with LexisNexis and you will see thousands of results. Or just ask a lawyer who is involved with the Innocence Project.
A non-profit organization that focuses on exonerating prisoners who have been wrongly convicted, the Innocence Project credits its LexisNexis software for providing the breakthrough that helped free at least one person who had already served 12 years of a life sentence. The software package known as CaseMap allowed the legal team involved with this case to load and organize all the relevant information in one spot. With all the information conveniently available to the team, they were able to create videos for presentations and further annotate their evidence, which created a much more presentable end product.
After hearing the legal team’s freshly organized evidence, a judge vacated the conviction and the wrongly imprisoned man was freed on bail pending a new trial, which saw the prosecutor dismiss all charges. One of the leading lawyers who worked with the Innocence Project on this case credited the LexisNexis software for helping to create a compelling chronology of the original trial and conviction, making a significant contribution to the success of the new hearing.
This is just one example of the utility of LexisNexis, which shows why those working in the field of law value legal support teams that are well-versed in using this resource.
A Broad Field of Applications for the Broad Field of Law
With a company history that can trace its roots back to 1818, the resource database and accompanying tools that make up LexisNexis is currently owned by the LexisNexis Group based in Dayton, Ohio. It’s hard to sum up the suite of tools, applications, and resources that LexisNexis offers. Suffice it to say, the company has been a pioneer and industry leader in computer-based research in the intersecting fields of law, business, and risk management.
It has become vital for aspiring legal professionals, especially those in legal support services, to be well-versed in navigating the conglomeration of laws, legal precedents and other legal data the database stores and organizes.
The following list shows three popular LexisNexis products and what they entail, which represent a small fraction of the total number of programs, applications, and tools the company offers:
- Concordance Desktop – This program allows the sharing and management of litigation documents across a discovery team. Documents can be tagged and organized accordingly, and subscribers also have access to a powerful litigation search engine.
- CaseMap – This application ties together legal issues, facts, and evidence with the aim of refining a legal argument. The legal team can assemble all their facts on one interface and create links within assembled data. This program is also designed to streamline work flow.
- Lexis Securities Mosaic – A one-stop compilation database of federal regulatory, disclosure, and legal transaction information. This program is particularly useful for legal professionals working in the financial services industry.
Becoming Certified in LexisNexis
Earning LexisNexis legal research certification, sometimes called a “career diploma,” can be useful for a wide range of professionals who want to work with law:
- Anyone who plans to work in the legal field
- Legal assistants, paralegals, and legal transcriptionists
- Students at any point in their education
You can find schools throughout the United States that offer accredited, professional certification programs in LexisNexis. If you choose a program that is nationally or regionally accredited, that means you may also enjoy either one or both of these benefits:
- You may be able to apply the credits you earn in the program as transfer credits towards a college degree
- You may be able to apply college credits you’ve already earned towards the completion of the LexisNexis certification program
To accommodate the rising demand for LexisNexis certification, many schools also offer their programs in an online format. Admission to certification programs usually begins with a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
While each certification program is different, you can expect to learn in-depth about the following topics:
- How to search legal databases
- Using computer-assisted legal research (CALR) systems
- Ethical and legal questions
- Using the internet to perform legal and business research
- Using and citing copyrighted information and sources
- Conducting research about financial information, businesses, and people
- How to read a legal case and a legal brief
- Locating cases and statutes
Who Can Benefit from Being Well-Versed in LexisNexis
LexisNexis traditionally began by offering databases and resources to those working in the field of law. The following are some of the relevant products it offers to legal professionals in addition to those previously mentioned:
- Lexis Practice Advisor – a service that provides advice from experts about management of a law practice
- CounselLink – a program for business activity management and electronic billing
- LexisNexis Case Law – a comprehensive database of peer-reviewed, summarized, and analyzed cases
- LexisNexis Briefs, Pleadings, and Motions – a collection of these legal documents that are retrieved from significant cases
- State Net – a tool that monitors state legislative and regulatory developments
- CourtLink – a tool that provides information about litigation history of judges, lawyers, and experts
- InterAction – a program for law firms to manage their customer service
- TotalPatent – a database of full-text and bibliographic patents
- PatentOptimizer – a program for creating, analyzing, and drafting patents
- Patent Advisor – an analytical application that can improve patent violation prosecutions
- Lexis DiscoveryIQ – an application that filters irrelevant data prior to discovery review
- PCLaw – a program that manages and tracks a law practice, clients, and business activities
LexisNexis has products, guidelines, and services designed with virtually every type of law practice, including:
- Immigration law
- International trade
We’ve only covered a few products tailored to those in the legal community. However LexisNexis has developed additional products for other large industries including government, education, and business. Demonstrating knowledge of LexisNexis products can be vital if you plan to pursue a career in any of these fields, especially as they intersect with the field of law:
- Finance and banking
- Health care
- Real estate
- Trade and commerce
- High tech
- Life sciences
Examples of LexisNexis Preferences in the Real World
Having experience and demonstrated proficiency in LexisNexis products is perhaps one of the most universal skills employers in the legal, business, education, and government sectors throughout the nation look for when hiring legal support staff. The following job advertisements are sourced from a June 2016 survey, provided here as illustrative examples only. These are not actual offers of employment:
- Paralegal with Hertz Corporation – the car rental company’s Estero, Florida office is advertising for this position to work as part of its corporate operations team. The candidate is expected to assist with SEC filings, assist in the preparation of UCC filings, and provide research for applicable laws and regulations. Applicants must have paralegal certification and at least a two-year college degree. Preferred candidates have thorough knowledge of legal research tools like LexisNexis.
- Legal Specialist with FirstEnergy – this Akron, Ohio-based diversified energy company is seeking to fill this position which involves conducting legal research using LexisNexis, assisting in the discovery process, collecting documents, reviewing documents, drafting legal documents, filing pleadings, and retrieving information from court dockets among other activities. Preferred applicants have a college degree, relevant professional experience, and a paralegal certification.
- Paralegal and Ethics Coordinator with the American Society of Clinical Oncology – seeking a candidate to join their legal team in Alexandria, Virginia, this position involves researching legal, ethics, and compliance matters using the LexisNexis database. Incumbents must also prepare, submit, and track regulatory findings, as well as carry out a range of other professional duties. Applicants need to have a bachelor’s degree and strong organizational skills. Preferred applicants have proven abilities working with LexisNexis.