LexisNexis is one of the three major legal databases (others: Westlaw and Bloomberg) which I’m certain you will become familiar with throughout your legal career. Although I was acquainted with legal databases when I started law school, I had no idea what they had to offer. Each person has their own preference on what database they will use. Do not feel obligated to choose one that someone else suggests. Nevertheless, these are the cool things Lexis has to offer that I found very useful!
Shepard’s Brief Check
In order to ensure you have good law, you need to look at cases that have cited a particular case or statute. To aid you in doing this, legal databases have a mechanism. For Westlaw there is KeyCite, and for Lexis there is Shepard’s. Lexis also offers another service through Shepard’s, Brief Check. This allows you to upload a finished document and check all your citations for good law. You can check up to 600 citations at once saving you time checking each individual citation. This is a godsend after you finish your memo or brief during your 1L year or for documents for moot court, law review, or at your summer job.
Another useful tip about Lexis is that it can assist you in your preparation for exams. Exams are stressful and it can be hard to know what exactly you need to study (note: literally everything you learned in class). Lexis gives students access to a large amount of treatises from various legal scholars in order to break down some of the confusing topics that 1Ls (and up) struggle with. They also provide a fun studying game that focuses on issue spotting.
While the last thing you want to do is research during summer, you will probably be conducting some legal research during the break. Lexis offers free summer access to all law students without enrolling in the program or paying any extra. This allows you to have continued access to your saved research and history even after the semester ends. Not only is this helpful for your own personal uses, but your summer employer may benefit from your continued use to a legal database without having to foot the bill.
In order to make legal research more fun, Lexis offers rewards for law students. As you research, you collect points which can be converted into rewards. These rewards range from a simple $5 gift card to items like a GoPro (depending on how many points you have). To earn points, you can attend Lexis trainings at your school, participate in table days, or even just research on Lexis. If you enroll in daily research points, you can earn 10 points a day from accessing documents on Lexis. These points add up really quickly; I was able to get a $70 Amazon gift card with all my points!
Have you ever been looking a case or legal topic up on Google and wondered if you could find it on a legal database? Chrome has a browser extension for LexisNexis. If you have this downloaded on your computer and are signed into Lexis, you can find documents on Lexis that match what you look up on a different website. This also allows you to search on Lexis while you have another browser tab open so you do not have to keep switching from your search tab and the Lexis website. This can help make studying and researching quicker and easier.
— – —
Want more law school tips? Sign up for our free mailing list today.
And check out these other posts from a student’s perspective:
- A Student’s Perspective: The First Week of Law School
- A Student’s Perspective: Orientation
- A Student’s Perspective: Dealing with Death and Hardships in Law School
- A Student’s Perspective on Good Note Taking In Law School
Image Credit: Shutterstock
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.