Is November LexisNexis month? Last week it was the UK operation announcing its move into the Microsoft Dynamics era, this week it's two intiatives from LexisNexis Australia…

• First off Sydney-based lawyers Blackstone Waterhouse has become the first firm in Australia to deploy Lexis Affinity Library as a remote fully-hosted (SaaS) practice management solution. Lawyers and staff can now access Lexis Affinity Library from anywhere with an internet connection, including mobile devices like the iPhone. Since going live, the firm has already reported significant new capabilities and efficiencies, including complete mobility, reduced IT requirements and peace of mind, enabling it to drive up productivity and deliver more responsive service to clients. The cloud solution is provisioned through collaboration with hosting solutions provider, Online Business Technologies (OBT).
 
“Staff no longer need to wait until they are back in the office to answer client queries or carry out simple tasks. They could be done there and then – from their laptop at court, on a client site or even on the road– a huge edge in today’s fast-paced environment,” said Danny Arraj, managing partner of Blackstone Waterhouse. (Click on the attached PDF for a copy of a white paper on this project.)
 
• Secondly, LexisNexis Australia today expanded its offering with the phased launch of LexisNexis Practical Guidance, a virtual research support tool for law firms of all sizes which streamlines access to information by practice area. The first phase sees LexisNexis Practical Guidance initially launch its family law module, with further practice areas to be added in the coming months.

With LexisNexis Practical Guidance, LexisNexis further evolves its customised offering for smaller law firms and sole practitioners. Via an intuitive interface and in a format that mirrors their workflow, the solution provides lawyers with easy access to step-by-step guidance, resources, support and expert knowledge supplied by externally sourced practising lawyers within the module’s respective specialty. Previously, this level of support has only been accessible to larger firms.

 Marc K. Peter, Director of Technology & Business Development, LexisNexis Pacific, said the release marked an expanded focus for LexisNexis. “LexisNexis Practical Guidance is a new type of research tool designed to match the way lawyers work, for smaller firms to larger players alike. Lawyers within smaller firms will see an unprecedented benefit from what is effectively a specialist legal practitioner on their desktop. They can spend less time on research, more on billable work, and gain instant direction on subjects that are outside their core area of expertise. In fact, nine in ten lawyers we surveyed reported that LexisNexis Practical Guidance would save them around six hours of research time per week.”

In mid-sized and larger firms, LexisNexis Practical Guidance can support junior lawyers who don’t have extensive experience in a particular topic, as well as experienced lawyers who may not have worked recently within a specific practice area.

LexisNexis has partnered with Watts McCray, a leading specialist family law firm, to deliver the first practice area module which provides access to a range of family law resources including guidance notes, checklists, forms and precedents. Watts McCray’s insight and expertise in the development of the family law module ensures the content is relevant, organised by legal topic and structured to match the way a lawyer works. Additional LexisNexis Practical Guidance modules, which will include business, succession, employment and property, are scheduled to be released over the next 12 months.

Key product features of LexisNexis Practical Guidance include:
• Practical up-to-date information by topic within key practice areas: Enables users to stay on top of changes in the law and have full confidence in the accuracy of their research + Content is structured to reflect lawyers’ workflow, with users able to browse content by topic and search for specific information, including cases and legislation
• Content is organised to match lawyers’ workflow: Checklists guide practitioners through a matter step-by-step + A Logical flow of information ensures users cover all key subjects
• Expert authorship by lawyers currently practising in the field: Offers immediate access to practical advice on how to approach a new matter type + Provides instant access to detailed checklists, forms and procedural documents

LexisNexis is undertaking a user-led review of the initial product, with eight lawyers participating in the pilot phase of the family law module during November 2010. The eight pilot participants will road-test LexisNexis Practical Guidance for three weeks and give their verdict through a live blog which can be viewed at www.lexisnexis.com.au/blogs/practicalguidance

For further information visit www.lexisnexis.com.au/practicalguidance