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With both Lexis.com and Lexis Advance available, a few of my clients have flat-out refused to even try Lexis Advance until Lexis.com “goes away.” While I completely understand the sentiments of resisting change and dodging the learning curve, I do feel that avoiding Lexis Advance until you are forced to use it seems like a pretty big mistake to make – especially for your clients. Allow me to explain…
#1 - Your Clients Expect You to Use the Best Tools Available – In Fact they Pay You to Do So
Imagine that you’re about to have extensive shoulder surgery. You’ve chosen the best doctor in the area and you know he works at a new state-of-the-art facility. On the morning of your surgery, the doctor comes into the pre-op room to discuss the procedure with you. As you intently listen to the details, you realize he’s going to use a procedure that takes longer and requires more recovery time. In fact, few doctors are using it anymore. You ask him why he isn’t planning on using the new, more efficient procedure -- the one that has less recovery time and is less expensive. And you mention that you chose this clinic because you know it has the newest, most precise equipment available. His answer? “The old way is easier for me. I don’t have time to learn how to use the new equipment.” He shrugs and adds, “I’ll switch to the new procedure when I’m not allowed to do the old one anymore.”
When it comes to the tools and methods you use, this scenario isn’t all that different. It’s like telling your client that yes, we have the new faster, more efficient platform, but we’re too busy to learn how to use it. And yes, we understand that because it’s faster and more efficient it may actually lower your billable costs but again, we’re waiting until we absolutely have to use it.
Your clients pay you to use the best possible resources you can. They also expect you to keep up with the latest technology. That does not mean you need to run out and buy tablets for all of your clients, or even your staff. But if your firm has Lexis Advance and you aren’t even trying to learn how to use it, you may be doing them a disservice.
#2 - Pop Quiz: Buy It All, Only Use little - Or Just Buy What You Need?
Speaking of being effective, what about controlling billable waste? In a time when clients are resistant to any charges they don’t see as necessary, it behooves practitioners to control their time and costs to the extent they can.
As it pertains to legal research this begs the question: When you run a search and get a giant results set back, how often do you use all the documents you pulled? In fact, how often do you use more than 50% of the documents you pulled?
Because Lexis Advance uses search algorithms that are adept at finding and filtering what documents you need, you can more easily tailor your results list to what you need and nothing more. And because there is no charge for searches, you don’t have to bill for the entire results set. You select and pay only for the documents you need to complete your task.
When I pose this to my clients in my day-to-day appointments, I often hear the objection that Lexis Advance commands a higher price per document. While that’s not fully correct from the outset, there’s a bigger consideration. When you are billing a client, what’s the better argument: You had to buy $200 worth of documents but only used 10% of them? Or you bought $200 worth of documents and you can show where each and every one was used to support their case? My bet is the latter argument wins every time.
# 3 - Get Hours of Your Life Back
Have you ever tried to find supporting documents that didn’t have a headnote? Or maybe you’ve had the “pleasure” of trying to find common documents from several different searches? Such tasks can take hours off your life and add a few gray hairs to your head.
Lexis Advance has features that not only cut down on time, they perform tasks the average researcher isn’t capable of doing on her own. Using Find Similar Documents, Compare Results or Legal Issue Trail enables you to find relevant connections, compare search results and pull similar documents from a large set of results in a single click. And all three of these features are no additional charge.
Since introducing these functions via Lexis Advance I have had several clients fully integrate these steps into their research process. It’s no longer an “extra” for them but rather a necessary part of being a thorough researcher.
My job as a Research Consultant is to help my clients utilize their resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. My advice in every training session I’ve had in the past 18 months has been for them to make the switch to Lexis Advance now if their goal is to deliver better outcomes. Some of them still look at me like I’m trying to spoon-feed them lima beans, but many of them have made the switch and they aren’t looking back.
Still resisting? Think about all the folks that didn’t want to switch from Lexis software to Lexis online. That was decades ago at this point. They all lived to tell the tale and my guess is that most would agree that it was worth the short ramp up time of growing pains.
Tami S Cunningham JD is a legal research consultant in North Carolina. She’s been helping her clients deliver better outcomes for their clients for nearly a decade. In her free time she enjoys digital photography, binge watching shows on Netflix and geeking out on anything and everything social media related. Follow her at @TCJDtweets on Twitter or on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/tamiscunningham