LexisNexis recently published a “whitepaper” discussing Casetext.1 It argues that Casetext, while more affordable, is risky to use for legal research, purporting to cite specific shortcomings of Casetext as proof.
There’s only one problem: the paper is full of blatant lies. Not strategic repositioning of the truth. Not arguable statements of quality. Lies.2
Why the lies, Lexis?
Why would LexisNexis make false claims, especially those that are so easily refuted? Because their product cannot stand up to Casetext in a head-to-head competition. They know that they have one dwindling advantage. It’s not their product or reliability. It’s entrenchment.
In other words, they are scared. And in truth, they probably should be.
For years, they have been selling a bad product at a high price to attorneys who didn’t feel like they had many other options. They benefited from a duopoly. But instead of using their position of power to understand the pain-points of litigators, invest in innovation, and improve their product, they expanded their revenue at the cost of the consumer. And this short-sighted strategy is showing its cracks. In the last 9 months alone, 3,500 law firms adopted Casetext, most of whom switched from Lexis.3
The Real Risk to Litigators
According to the Lexis whitepaper, trying new legal research technologies is “risky.” But customers know that taking advantage of the industry’s best technology isn’t risky. Failing to do so is risky. Competition is fierce among lawyers, in the courtroom and out of it. They don’t want to risk:
- Missing an on-point case because it’s from one state over and your plan only covers cases from your home state.4
- Accidentally racking up a bill 3x your monthly agreed price because you read a report out of plan.5
- Saying there is no relevant case, and your opponent showing the judge the case you missed because the other side worked smarter.
- Relying on questionably accurate headnotes and summaries written by hoards of nameless editors instead of those penned by judges.
- Having an urgent question of law and realizing your legal research tool is down again.
- Not being able to take on that additional case because you spent an extra month this year doing legal research and not finding what you needed.
- Realizing you don’t like your legal research tool, but still have 2.5 years left in your iron-clad contract.6
In short, LexisNexis is scared because legal research that uses better technology to achieve better results at a lower cost threatens their existence. So they paint the competition as risky, hoping that customers won’t look further.
What is risky for a legal research company like Lexis? Failing to invest time and money to improve a product for so long that the only recourse left is writing inaccurate whitepapers about your competitors.
2 A few examples: (1) They say Casetext’s citator, SmartCite (our alternative to Shepard’s), is “based on algorithms rather than human editors.” While we do use algorithms to make the process more efficient, a team of human editors reviews SmartCite results. By using both, we actually improve accuracy, allowing computers to catch human error and visa versa. (2) They say Casetext doesn’t have slip opinions. Slip opinions are available on Casetext within 24 hours of publication. (3) They say Casetext doesn’t have case summaries. Not only does Casetext have over four million case summaries — those summaries are penned by judges, rather than nameless editors.
3 A study conducted by the National Legal Research Group found that 75% of attorneys preferred Casetext to LexisNexis, they found 21% more on-point cases, and did so 25% faster.
5 Hopefully, it wasn’t a Sustainability and Risk Report.