Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the design and layout of Wolters Kluwer’s new legal research platform, Cheetah, which was officially launched out of its legal and regulatory solutions division this week, and brings into the legal arena some of the simplicity of a consumer search.
Intuitive is a much overused word and surprisingly hard to deliver – Google and Facebook are often optimistically referred to in new product launches – but with Cheetah’s oversized icons and powerful search function it goes a long way towards delivering a straightforward user experience.
Users will be faced with a dashboard divided into sectors such as ‘treatises and explanations’; ‘acts and statutes’; ‘SEC and CFTC materials’; as well as practice tools and smart charts; blue sky law regulations; topics (such as litigation and enforcement issues); and news headlines.
Smart charts draw together substantive law and a link to relevant explanatory material in one convenient hyperlink-filled table. The search function, meanwhile, enables Boolean and natural language searches, bringing up all relevant material – over a million documents have been analysed and classified – and labelling what type of document the material is from.
The platform – which law firms are already transitioning to from IntelliConnect – aims to make it far easier and quicker to research Wolters Kluwer’s extensive legal content in an information age where lawyers and their clients both expect instant results.
The site has been designed so that it can be used on a portable device without an app. On an iPad or mobile phone the full website content available in an increasingly collapsed format. Notes and annotations – which can be made against highlighted text and stored under saved items – are still available from a PC or mobile device.
Cheetah follows the launch of free US legal research site Casetext’s new writing tool LegalPad, which enables researchers to pull up cases, statutes and regulations directly alongside the text they are writing. Users can extract quotes from multiple legal texts without leaving the page they are writing on, with the citation for that quote automatically included within the blog.
Dean Sonderegger, vice president of the legal markets group, said: “We have been in business a long time and for us this is about recognising that the market is changing and that there is more pressure for attorneys to get an answer quicker. This is our commitment. We recognise we have to invest and make an ongoing commitment and we will continue to invest in the platform.”