Monday, June 26, 2017

Lexis Answers: Artificial Intelligence Without the Hyperbole; No Robot Lawyers In Sight--A Fastrack to Legal Answers

Entering the “no hyperbole” zone. No Robots in Sight

I spent almost an hour last Friday talking to Jeff Pfeifer, Vice President of Product Management at Lexis Nexis about the upcoming release of a new artificial intelligence enabled Lexis Advance feature called Lexis Answers. Instead of  the “robot lawyer” hyperbole that has characterized many recent AI product announcements, Pfeiffer  while enthusiastic for Lexis Answers, is refreshingly restrained in discussing the product. Most importantly he does not oversimplify the true complexity of legal research when applying AI to a specific set of facts. Pfiefer describes Lexis Answers as getting lawyers to a “well informed starting point,” speeding up basic research so lawyers can start more complex research.  He sees Lexis Answers the “next evolutionary step in a journey with big data sets which is moving towards human like interactions with machines using standard Dialog.”

Press releaseLexis® Answers, a new artificial intelligence (A.I.) enhancement within its flagship Lexis Advance® offering. Using powerful machine learning, cognitive computing and advanced natural language processing technologies, Lexis Answers transforms legal research by understanding the user’s natural language question and delivering the clearest, most concise and authoritative answer, in addition to finely tuned, comprehensive search results.Learning is based on a universe of 14 million case law opinions.

  "Lexis Answers represents a paradigm shift in legal research. By delivering specific and actionable answers at the top of their search results, we’re saving users effort previously spent analyzing pages of search results and legal documents—enhancing their workflow and empowering them to get more done in less time,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of North American Research Solutions at LexisNexis.

The Answer Card

The Lexis Answers - Answer Card
According to Pfeifer “With Lexis Answers, our goal is to create a smarter staring point to legal research. “  When a lawyer types in a natural language question they see  “The Answer Card” which displays delivers four key things: 

  1. A concise answer – a starting point to smarter legal research
  2. The authority for the answer, including case reference and date of the authority
  3. Related legal topics that should be reviewed for complete and thorough research
  4. A feedback feature – Was this information useful – Yes or No – that helps LexisNexis train our machine learning algorithms based upon user assessment of answer quality

“Additionally, the result list is specially compiled based upon our analysis of the user’s query and our interpretation of the user’s query intent.  The result list is uniquely curated to emphasize additional authority that is relevant to the user’s question. “

Types of Questions
Lexis Answers "Suggested Questions"

At this time Lexis Answers can provide answers for five types of legal questions:

  1. Definitions
  2. Elements of
  3. Standards of review
  4. Legal doctrine
  5. Burden of proof

According to Pfeifer, there are plans to “expand the collection of questions that are supported and mine additional content types as we further build out our machine learning system.”  

Under the Hood

Lexis Answers has been in development at Lexis’ Raleigh Tech Center for more than two years. The Raleigh center was established in 2015 as a “congnitive computing center of excellence.” The Lexis Answers questions were informed by anonymized user logs. Specifically they looked at user queries that included input errors such as a really bad query syntax or partial questions that were not fully articulated.

Jeff summed it up as we have been sending The natural language processor  to law school " Several years ago I wrote that the problem with the current state of legal AI was that so far machines could only respond and couldn't "Ask" questions to help researchers refine and clarify what they need. I am happy to see that LexisNexis is moving toward the research dialogue.

They are designing towards a dialogue. Such is suggesting that the user limit by jurisdiction. They also anticipate voice iteration using clarifying questions to help the user.

I asked Pfeiffer if IBM 'Watson technology was part of the solution and he indicated that it was not. Lexis/Nexis had internal knowledge which they combined with a variety of open source AI and machine learning technologies as well as programs available from Google and Amazon. These various pieces of technology were customized to meet the requirements of legal research.“ The main goal was to provide immediate utility for standard case law researchers. ”Lexis Answers will be available to all subscribers at no additional cost.

Additional Features to Come – “Ravel Answers”

Although the LexisNexis acquisition of Ravel Law was only announced two weeks ago, they are already exploring how Ravel’s technology can help them extend Lexis answers. Pfeifer anticipates that the Ravel technology should allow them to extract phrases and legal expressions and enable them to add new kinds of questions and answers. In the future, they hope to be able to answer questions about judges, experts and provide various kinds of profiles.

They will provide post search filters so user can limit by jurisdiction in the near future. The only concern I see is that there could be a “legislative gap.”  It is not clear to me how a major legislative change which modifies or nullifies caselaw precedent can be reflected in machine learning results “overnight.”  For example if there were sweeping tax reform which they changed the statute of limitation for tax fraud, it is not clear to me how this change would be immediately reflected in the results. Pfeifer indicated that they are well aware of this issue and they are using the Lexis Shepherd’s statutory analytics to identify changes in statutes.

I asked if Lexis Answers will be available on any non-English platforms. At this time no but Pfeiffer assured me that the technology they have built  will be extensible to non-English platforms.

No Robot Lawyers Just More Efficient Lawyers

Pfeiffer does not make overblown promises that this technology will eliminate associates. He talks like a man with a deep appreciation for the complexities and idiosyncrasies of law would apply to a set of facts. In fact, he stated that there is a rarely question where the first response from Lexis answers is the end of the legal research process.

The Competition

ThomsonReuters released a similar feature called Westlaw Answers in January 2016. However, that feature covered mostly state answers. LexisAnswers covers or federal and state case law answers. I am not aware of Bloomberg Law offering a similar feature- they only added “natural language” query feature earlier this year and had previously required Boolean queries. Wolters Kluwer has a google-plug-in for their Tax product which enables researchers  to enter a natural language query and get an answer. Ross Intelligence also provides a natural language response to queries – their product was limited to bankruptcy law and may recently have expanded to cover Intellectual Property.

Starting Today At No Additional Cost to Subscribers

Starting at noon on June 26 LexisNexis will start to turn on Lexis Answers for each of their accounts. Apparently, this has to be done on a client by client basis and they expect the entire process to be completed by the end of Tuesday, January 27.

Here is the full press release:

LexisNexis Launches Lexis Answers, Infusing New Artificial Intelligence Capabilities
into the Company’s Flagship Legal Research Platform, Lexis Advance

Advanced technologies deliver the most concise and authoritative answers to

common legal questions, plus tailored search results for deeper research

New York, NY—June 26, 2017—LexisNexis® Legal & Professional today announced the launch of Lexis® Answers, a new artificial intelligence (A.I.) enhancement within its flagship Lexis Advance® offering. Using powerful machine learning, cognitive computing and advanced natural language processing technologies, Lexis Answers transforms legal research by understanding the user’s natural language question and delivering the clearest, most concise and authoritative answer, in addition to finely tuned, comprehensive search results.

Unlike traditional search approaches, which require users to translate their query into key words or use Boolean syntax, the Lexis Answers service allows users to enter their query in the form of a natural language question. With the input of a couple of words, the Lexis Answers service can begin anticipating and recommending Suggested Questions to the user. After analyzing millions of annotated legal documents and other content, Lexis Answers delivers the single best possible answer via a Lexis Answer Card. Each Lexis Answer Card links directly to the specific text within the document—rather than just the document itself—significantly speeding up the research process for common legal questions.

 "Lexis Answers represents a paradigm shift in legal research. By delivering specific and actionable answers at the top of their search results, we’re saving users effort previously spent analyzing pages of search results and legal documents—enhancing their workflow and empowering them to get more done in less time,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of North American Research Solutions at LexisNexis. “Whether users need answers to common legal questions or they seek deeper insights into more complex queries, Lexis Answers makes it easier and faster to get the specific information they seek.”  

Advancing more accurate and complete research, this new A.I. capability suggests related topics that help users logically and intuitively expand their search. It also delivers more comprehensive “traditional” search results tailored to the user’s question and can be further refined using robust filtering options. All of the words within the search question, and added equivalents, are highlighted within the search results and full-text results documents—making it easier for users to find information and determine relevance.

“Today’s announcement of Lexis Answers showcases the significant investments LexisNexis has made in pursuing advanced technologies that transform legal research to better meet the needs of the data-driven lawyer,” said Jeff Pfeifer, vice president of Product Management at LexisNexis. “And our work with Lexis Answers is just beginning. Over time we plan to refine and build this technology out to make it more sophisticated, more inclusive and smarter—delivering a service that actually learns from our users in order to surface the answers they need, save them time and provide even greater actionable insights.”

A.I. technologies have been an important part of the LexisNexis product portfolio for many years. In 1990, LexisNexis pioneered the use of machine learning, and in 1993, launched its first data visualization application—decades before the mainstream use of these technologies. Since these initial forays, LexisNexis has been actively pursuing natural language processing, text-mining, machine learning and other advanced capabilities to deliver state-of-the-art technology to customers and advance legal research into the future. A.I.-enhanced products from LexisNexis include Lexis Advance, Lexis® Litigation Profile Suite, LexisNexis MedMal Navigator®, the Lex Machina® Legal Analytics® platform, Ravel Law and Intelligize®.

Lexis Answers was developed by a team of experts at the LexisNexis Raleigh Technology Center. LexisNexis created its Raleigh, NC based cognitive computing center of excellence in 2015. This group is dedicated to developing artifical intelligence solutions for data-driven lawyers. A team of data scientists, computational linguists, advanced engineering and product management professionals will develop a series of A.I.-powered solutions releasing throughout 2017 and beyond. 

Lexis Answers is now available to Lexis Advance subscribers at no additional cost.

About LexisNexis® Legal & Professional

LexisNexis Legal & Professional is a leading global provider of content and technology solutions that enable professionals in legal, corporate, tax, government, academic and non-profit organizations to make informed decisions and achieve better business outcomes. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. Today, LexisNexis Legal & Professional harnesses leading edge technology and world class content to help professionals work in faster, easier and more effective ways. Through close collaboration with its customers, the company ensures organizations can leverage its solutions to reduce risk, improve productivity, increase profitability and grow their business. LexisNexis Legal & Professional, which serves customers in more than 175 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide, is part of RELX Group plc, a world leading global provider of information and analytics solutions for professional and business customers across industries.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Guess Who's Coming to AALL? Part 2: Government Information and Workflow Tools.


Yesterday's post  highlighted seven vendors which will be first time exhibitors at AALL in Austin next month.

Those vendors offer tools which are primarily targeted at litigation, corporate and Intellectual Property practices. Today's five vendors are more diverse. Several offer a wide range of services which fall broadly within "workflow improvement." Voxgov is the only vendor in today's group which focuses purely on providing a unique set of content on a research platform.  I asked Voxgov founder Robert Dessau why he had decided to exhibit at AALL this year. " With expertise in the collection and management of a broad range of original source material from Federal and State governments we view AALL as the ideal environment in which to introduce our newest addition, VoxGov Energy, designed specifically for the legal market.We look forward to assisting, collaborating with  and incentivizing those who need visibility into who in government is saying what on any Energy related issue at any time. Visitors to our booth will have the chance to win a free one year subscription to Voxgov Energy. Look forward to meeting you Austin. "

VoxGov BOOTH # 330
Beyond the obvious Statutes at large and CFRVoxGov scrapes over 9,000 US government URL’s, including social media and has created a massive database which can be searched and analyzed for trends by agency, issue, political party.The government information that lawyers normally rely upon such as statutes and regulations only represents about 10% of the VoxGov database. The vast majority of  government materials in VoxGov are collected from over 14,000 government websites. The document types include: Press Releases, News, Notices, Columns, Articles, Op-Eds, Decisions, Opinions, Orders, Events, Media Advisories, Fact Sheets, Newsletters, Bulletins, Recalls, Alerts, Reports, Publications, Speeches, Statements, Remarks, Testimony, and Transcripts, along with Social Media from official government sources, Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and more. VoxGov only collects information authored or adopted by the U.S. Federal Government and published  on official government websites .All of the data is enriched with extensive metadata  which supports sophisticated filtering and trending.

Their website states that Casebriefs offers “The Most widely used supplements for higher education and newly minted professionals."
Although they offer resources for a wide range of professionals there is plenty of content for law students including, Casebriefs, outlines, exam prep and video lectures.

 InfoTrack Booth814 
InfoTrack offers a wide range of services including interactive forms for electronic filing of
government forms, an electronic signature tool called "SignIT," court document retrieval and corporate services including, corporate formation and entity searching. They also have a data visualization tool called "REVEAL" which charts entity relationships.
PowerNote Booth 229

Powernotes  has an intriguing tagline "Organize your internet."
They promote their product as "the only tool designed for the academic research process." But after looking at the website- I think this product has a broader audience including the law firm. government and judicial markets. The product offer highlighting, categorizing and note-taking on any website. The product organizes research into an outline form. The product also saves the URL links for all the sources in the outline. Frankly sounds like a great tool for any researcher no matter what their environment.
 Sabinet BOOTH # 823
Sabinet offers a wide range of  innovative library services including collaborative cataloguing, inter library lending and end-to-end library management systems. They also offer support for digitization and information management projects, news monitoring, access to journals.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Guess Whose Coming to AALL?: New Exhibitors Part1: Litigation, Corporate and IP Vendors

The AALL Conference Exhibit Hall gives  attendees the chance  to take a long and winding stroll  thought aisles lined with vendors promoting the latest innovations and offering a "first look" at new products.  It is a festival of food, swag and serendipitous encounters with old colleagues as well as the chance to meet new ones.  I especially value the  opportunity for a one-on-one engagement with vendors and a quick tutorial on a on a hot new product. Since the major legal vendors dominate the Exhibit Hall at AALL, it is easy to overlook the first time vendors with unfamiliar names and unknown products. 
I thought it would be interesting to take a peek at the twelve new exhibitors at the 2017 Conference and provide some insights into products. This post will be written in two parts. Part one focuses on vendors offering products for litigation, corporate and IP Practice needs.
I recommend that taking a close look at each of these vendors.  Even though you  may have a product which  covers the same legal issues you are likely to discover that each of these vendors is offering a unique type of service or analysis of an old problem.  Many of these vendors are offering AI driven and custom solutions.  Stop by and welcome these new exhibitors to the AALL exhibit call in Austin.

Click here to see a complete list of exhibitors.
I have only used the products of two of these  new vendors Casetext and VoxGov (which will be covered in Part 2 of this post).  Information for the remaining vendors is taken from their websites.

In what may be a first, the AALL "New Product of the Year" award went to a start-up Casetext CARA – a feat all the more remarkable since they had no official presence at AALL in 2016.  Last year many attendees including myself met Pablo Arredondo, who was walking the halls and providing on the fly demos.

I asked Jake Heller, President of Casetext why he thought it was exhibit at AALL. “Law librarians are the world’s true experts in all things legal research and they have been an integral part of CARA’s development and deployment.  Particularly considering CARA being honored as new product of the year, we thought this was a great time to launch our inaugural AALL booth.  We look forward to seeing everyone there!”
Casetext which offers free caselaw research, access to analytical memos from 150 law firms and a “crowd sourced “citator called “We-cite” is launching their first “fee based” product:CARA.  Casetext currently includes over 7 million primary documents including case law from all 50 states.  CARA stands for Case Analysis Research Assistant.  CARA is very easy to use.  All a lawyer has to do is drag and drop a brief into CARA.  Instead of searching with keywords, CARA uses the entire brief as the query.  CARA data-mines the brief by extracting both the text and the citations from the document.  The CARA analysis looks at direct relationships and “implied” relationships between the cited cases in the brief and related opinions in the Casetext database.  CARA uses latent semantic analysis to sort the results.  The CARA results report includes a list of “suggested cases” and a CARA generated analysis of those cases.

Dispute Resolution Data enables you to discover the value of arbitration and mediation through the   DRD provides cost, time, and other valuable process information for users to formulate strategies that transform levels of service.
exploration of aggregated international case data.

Aggregated dispute resolution data will provide professionals in the field with insight through historic and current geographic and case-type reports on dispute resolution claims, durations and processes.  This information is valuable in assessing risk management and strategy.

focusedIP is the first to provide patent practitioners with a high-quality Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision database accessible by state-of-the-art search tools and data analytics.  focusedIP is the only vendor that has generated a complete, accurate and reliable PTAB decision database.  We have taken the time to ensure that our database accurately represents the complete body of published PTAB decisions – including the 100000+ plus PTAB Appeals, and not just the 2600+ AIA Trial Decisions.
GDE Mexico Legal
GDE Legal
"Through timely and proactive solutions we help your international ventures proceed efficiently and with minimal legal cost.  We provide you with valuable information and develop practical tools to ensure you make the best business decisions."

Uses AI to analyse filings for public companies.
Welcome to the 21st Century.  Data Blending with MyLogIQ’s AI Powered Integrated Platform.

CIQ-CompanyIQ™ is a single integrated platform of multiple domains of information, which covers ALL public companies.  It provides a comprehensive 360° profile of companies delivered in real time.  Refer to the list on your right or click here.  Our solution will help you cut costs and increase efficiency.
With CIQ-Company IQ™ you can perform concept based searches and quickly identify changes between documents.  You can also pinpoint relevant peer or industry disclosures for any concept and access SIX other domains of information, not covered by other data providers.
Our CIQ-Company IQ™ cloud based software is the most robust research tool in the industry.  We provide a 360° compliance perspective for ALL public companies.

Perception partners describes three different types of services on their website.  1) Intell compeitive monitoring, mines the deep web for innovation opportunities and IP risk.  2) IP search and   3) Monitor for counterfeits, brand protection services produce evidence of infringement to support takedown reqeusts.
technology landscaping offers expert to map out IP strategy.

Social Media Information (SMI is a managed service provider whose mission is to locate, investigate  and preservive human information from sociall media and the web. "Our  proprietary technology and team of in-house analysts allow us to produce actionable human intelligence reports and preserve web evidence efficiently and with a high degree of accuracy."
This years conference will be held at The Austin Convention Center, July 15th to 18th in Austin Texas.