What’s in an Answer on Westlaw and Lexis Advance?

Following, albeit rather slowly on the heels of Westlaw Answers which launched in February 2016, Lexis recently released Lexis Answers. Both are designed to help the legal researcher get quick answers to simple legal questions.

Specifically, Westlaw Answers provides:

  • Specific answers to common types of legal questions.
  • Links to authoritative court decisions.
  • Questions appearing in type-ahead display, with the answers shown above the search results.

Lexis Answers provides:

  • Ability to start typing
  • Ability to start typing a query in the Lexis Advance Red Search Box — you can begin in question form (e.g. “What is …”) but it’s not necessary.
  • Suggested questions as you type and can select and go to the answer.
  • Two types of results: Lexis Answers Card with a concise answer from an authoritative source such as a legal dictionary or case law along with links to go directly to the precise answer passage in the source or to explore topical links to related concepts.
  • Comprehensive search results from all Lexis Advance content.

The main differences between the two is in the display of results upon selecting the desired question.

In Westlaw Answers, the suggested question the researcher selects determines the content set of the result list that displays (i.e. cases where a term is defined, statutes/courts rules, regulations, administrative decisions or secondary sources that cover the concept) with no option to explore the larger universe of Westlaw content unless the same search is repeated.

 

Lexis Answers on the other hand is less cumbersome in that it offers both the answer and the ability to filter and select the additional content sets (i.e. statues, administrative  materials, secondary materials etc,) discussing the concept in a single results display screen.

The Answers feature is a great addition for both providers. However, in a head to head comparison, Lexis Answers wins on the results display side of things by saving the researcher time by allowing for ease and quickness in exploring a legal concept more fully.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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2 Responses to What’s in an Answer on Westlaw and Lexis Advance?

  1. Hi Cheryl, thanks for doing the comparison of Westlaw Answers and Lexis Answers. A quick comment to clarify the functionality available on Lexis Answers. This feature covers several different types of common legal questions including definitions, doctrines, elements of, standard of review, and burden of proof. And with Lexis Answers, you can conveniently include a jurisdiction in your question to get relevant results faster, such as “What are the elements of res judicata in NY?”.

    I do work for LexisNexis on Lexis Answers, so I am little biased, but very proud to be a part of a talented multidisciplinary team working with advanced cognitive computing technologies to improve legal research.

    • Cheryl Niemeier says:

      Thank-you Michael for your comment clarifying the expanded capability of the Lexis Answers feature.

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