LexisNexis unveils Microsoft Teams-based corporate legal intake and matter management solution 

LexisNexis has unveiled a beta Microsoft Teams based legal intake and matter management solution for corporate counsel, created in partnership with Microsoft. Lexis has co-created LEXIS Connect with Microsoft’s corporate legal team, which has shared the problems they face as a legal department to aid development. 

LEXIS Connect is an add-in application for Teams and announcing the launch, senior director of product management for LexisNexis in the US, Canada and UK, Serena Wellen said: “When you’re in the application, it feels like you are in a specialised in-house legal version of Teams. 

“We’ve built streamlined legal workflow for request intake and matter management using really powerful Microsoft technology, including AI technologies to introduce automation into the workflow where appropriate.” 

The new solution includes a generative AI-based ‘Ask Legal’ legal assist and Wellen said: “What we’re focused on is the kind of repetitive tasks that come up for corporate counsel, like answering questions about company policies.” 

Leading the collaboration from Microsoft’s legal department is Jason Barnwell, who is general manager for digital transformation of corporate, external and legal affairs. In a presentation launching LEXIS Connect he said: “There are a few challenges emerging for GCs that make the Lexis approach really compelling. The first is the just the need for more leverage. Resources are not growing, but the demand for the services that we deliver to the enterprise are, and the only way that we’re going to square that circle is by finding more technology enablement. 

“Another challenge that I think GCs face is the need to have more visibility into the work that’s happening. And that’s to both manage the work but also to express a compelling value creation narrative into the enterprise that helps the enterprise understand why what we’re doing is impactful and how it’s advancing the business. 

“If you want to build an AI department of the future, you need tools that start creating harmony with your data and your processes. And if you don’t have that, you’re not going to be well positioned to take advantage of the AI capabilities that are going to wake up.” 

With regard to the use of generative AI, Barnwell said that Lexis and Microsoft take security seriously but observed: “It is tempting to focus on the perils of these technologies but the benefits are so excellent that we really need to start experimenting and I don’t think we can wait because the technology is changing and evolving so quickly that we literally have to start trying things and see how they work. If we try to just pause and stand still and let things settle, I don’t think that gets us the outcomes that we want.” 

According to Wellen, in undertaking the research process for Connect, Lexis talked to over 1000 GCs, corporate counsel, and legal operations professionals. She said: “The thing that really struck me, was that intake and matter management were top areas of pain, and the sense that they were trapped in a reactive model. They had too much work, too many email requests – all marked urgent, and not able to find the information because it was spread across different places in different applications, with no visibility into the matter status.” 

She added: “Teams are swamped with repetitive tasks, such as ‘send me the latest NDA’, which is not the best value that the legal department can add.” 

The use of Teams has skyrocketed since the pandemic but this partnership between Lexis and Microsoft began in 2020, when Lexis’ CEO Mike Walsh met with Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella to discuss opportunities between the two companies. Around the same time, Barnwell met with Lexis’ chief design officer Jason Broughton. 

Barnwell said: “It was me complaining to Jason about the problems we had and he said, ‘We might be able to make that better.’ The thing that he brought, and the Lexis team brought to the co-creation process was a deep curiosity of trying to get as close as possible to the pain points so that you can really unpack those and bring them into the product experience. It’s been delightful to see the rate of iteration.” 

Connect and Ask Legal can be installed from within the apps section of Teams. Giving a demonstration of the product, Lexis’ senior product manager Muthuraman KasiViswanathan, lead product manager for LEXIS Connect, said: “It really is a simple installation, the entire setup process for the company should take under a week.” 

Any employee can use Ask Legal, which provides a response and the source document, so that simple legal questions and repetitive questions can be handled by the assistant. 

The business can submit a request broken down into 12 standard matter types including contracts, real estate, regulatory compliance, sales and marketing, or general requests. 

Matter types are associated with a form that help to capture all the necessary information to process the request and avoid ‘back and forth’ conversations. Requesters can also attach a document to the request and can access a workspace that shows the request, documents attached, and who is assigned to the request. ‘Chat with counsel’ opens a Teams chat with the relevant legal team member.  

LEXIS Connect is then used by the legal team, showing all the matters coming in and who they have been assigned to, as well as completed and archived matters. “By the launch, we will also have support for multiple legal teams and each team will have their own dedicated matter list view so they can track all the matters coming into their team,” said KasiViswanathan.  

Anyone opening a matter will see the assignment, communication and documents, and can enter a due date. “So this is the central location for all matter related communication, which makes it easier for the legal team to pick up from the last thread of conversations they’ve had around this matter,” said KasiViswanathan.  

Legal teams spend a lot of their time in Outlook and KasiViswanathan said that on the roadmap is the ability to create matters from within Outlook as well. 

A SharePoint-hosted document section holds all the documents related to the matter and Lexis AI surfaces similar matters or blueprints as to how matters such as this have been handled in the past. A generative AI-based legal research AI assistant helps users to perform tasks using natural language questions within LEXIS Connect. “The legal assistant will have an expanded role in the future to perform matter related tasks as well,” said KasiViswanathan, adding, “We’re also in the process of building out robust analytics, which is going to help the legal team to improve their productivity.” 

Lexis is welcoming interested firms to join its commercial preview testing programme and get a ‘sneak peak’ before the product is commercially released, which is expected to happen this summer. 

Building on Teams to create a unified intake system will no doubt appeal to the corporate legal market. The use of a generative AI-based assistant to help reduce questions on the likes of company policy is a forward-thinking step. But Lexis will have to be clear how this product fits within its existing suite of offerings, both technically and commercially. LEXIS Connect is said not to compete with enterprise legal management solution Counsellink, which also now includes contract lifecycle management capability following Lexis’ acquisition of Parley Pro.