Overall, I find LexisONE: The Resource for Small Law Firms to be an excellent source for its intended audience (individual attorneys). It may also be useful for voters doing research on candidates who are lawyers or judges.
I evaluate LexisONE on 9 criteria and note areas in which it could improve, for instance: the interface could be more friendly to users with disabilities and could better highlight the major navigational features. However, given that it is essentially a free resource for many users - I suspect they will put up with these flaws.
LexisNexis, a member of Reed Elsevier PLC, which is owned equally by Reed International PLC (NYSE: RUK) and Elsevier NV (NYSE: ENL).
Given that Lexis is one of the top 3 resources recommended by Emory's Law school, I'd say that it's authority is significant.
Although there is not much in the way of original content (aside from a twice-monthly newsletter), as the site says, it "combines searchable access to over three billion documents from thousands of sources with leading-edge systems and tools for managing and evaluating this content." This is an index whose usefulness lies in its ability to access lots of other people's content in a helpful manner. Its given copyright date is 2008.
The audience is "solo and small-firm attorneys." It seems to be limited to U.S. Federal and State courts in its scope (and not ALL of those courts). It is focused on the last 10 years of case law (but includes U.S. Supreme Court decisions from 1790), as stated in its coverage page.
It contains the following types of information:
- case law,
- legal forms,
- headline legal news,
- directory of links to law-related Web sites,
- articles on work-life balance,
- a twice-monthly newsletter,
- and - for a fee - research.
I checked out the originating sources of some information (such as the member directory listing of lawyers for Georgia) and the data is accurate.
I'm happy to report that it glorifies objectivity in its more factual (and less article-like) data.
The style of writing is VERY much aimed at lawyers, and I don't understand half of what they're saying.
4. ARRANGEMENT OF INFORMATION
Arranged by type of information sought (case law, legal forms, legal news, links, lawyer profiles, etc.) and then by appropriate subdivisions (often georgraphical and/or subject). The case law is searchable by keyword, date ranges, citation, parties, judges, counsel, as well as area of law. Legal forms have an advanced search that you can narrow by state or by area of law. The headlines appear to be just an RSS feed.
It seems to be scanned on a very regular basis and be extremely up to date: as online indexes are wont to be.
6. FORMAT & PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
An online index of multiple legal sources, it doesn't use many images. Unfortunately, the major sections of the web site are a little small and not very well highlighted (as one could do with some simple CSS to turn them into global navigation buttons). The size of the site is also a little compressed (but perhaps they are purposely designing for people with either poor vision (and, thus, lower screen resolution) or with older computers whose screen resolution is lower, as well. Still, the text is very compressed and could use some clearer white space and highlighting of major/important navigation elements.
VERY stable, as the reputation and business model of Lexis Nexis (a globally-recognized entity) depends on it. It loads very quickly and doesn't use too many graphics.
8. SPECIAL FEATURES
The free access to recent case law, all supreme court decisions, legal forms, aggregated legal news headlines, and a lawyer locator are enticing. And the search functions seem a little limited in the legal forms area (for instance, you cannot search both family law AND a state simultaneously), but the case law ability to narrow by date, resource type, geography and legal area is excellent. I am especially impressed by the ability to search by people (parties, judges, counsel). I didn't locate any assistive technologies and the tabular layout of the page is not helpful for those using screen readers. It is an English-only interface.
With registration, free access to a number of areas of the site. Paid research services and advanced research capabilities are also available. The pricing scheme seems to reflect its audience: Forms and case law are free with registration, and enhanced search results can be retrieved, using your credit card, with charges range from $4 to $9 per document.