Legal Technology

Automation guides Lexis Practice Advisor search of SEC docs

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Lexis Nexis logo.

Using data mining and search term analytics, LexisNexis has made it easier to search through Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

A revamp of the Lexis Practice Advisor website launched Monday using data mining techniques from securities research technology firm Intelligize. The processing aims for quicker browsing and more relevant search results.

“Making the process faster has been customer-driven,” says Rachel Travers, vice president for analytical content for Lexis Practice Advisor, in an interview. “The task has been to understand what we needed to achieve and enrich what we already have. Hopefully the result is as intuitive as we’ve tried to make it.”

The most obvious change is a home-page redesign that names practice areas, content types and jurisdictions. The lists provide a quick entry into the research service’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings and lawyer-drafted practice guides.

Artificial intelligence comes into play deeper in the site. Analytics helped identify frequently searched content to tag for quicker retrieval, and an automated process organized SEC content into practice-specific categories.

Lexis Practice Advisor display.

A pop-up filter in Lexis Practice Advisor prompts the user to search for specific merger provisions.

Documents dating to 2008 have been tagged so that users don’t get lost in the volume of verbiage generated from thousands of documents. In its announcement of the upgrade, Lexis says the search covers 15,000 merger and acquisition deals, 15,000 registered offerings, and 8,000 exempt filings and international prospectuses not found in the SEC’s EDGAR database.

The documents will be available in modules for capital markets, M&A and finance. Four other modules—benefits, labor, intellectual property and real estate—incorporate both the SEC documents and exhibits filed to EDGAR since 1994.

“Customers will look for clauses for drafting purposes, or as an industry standard for a specific deal point,” Travers says. Tagging should improve results from the search bar, drill-down menus or searches by title, date, exhibit or company.

“SEC data is not easy to get to,” Travers says. “The added metadata puts hard-to-find or previously unknowable information into the hands of practitioners.” In a demonstration of a search for merger agreements, a pop-up filter prompts the user to find text of sandbagging protections or basket thresholds.

“Automation can pick up and tag what we think are the most important parts of documents,” Travers says. “This is repeatable and extendable.”

Intelligize was founded in 2007 by ABA Journal Legal Rebel Gurinder Sangha and received $3.6 million in funding led by a unit of LexisNexis parent RELX Group. LexisNexis acquired the firm last year for an undisclosed price.

Through 2018, LexisNexis intends to apply the technique to Practice Advisor’s 14 practice-based modules, Travers said. Eight new specialties are also planned to launch, including antitrust, employee benefits and private equity.

The roadmap for future development includes automated forms, integration with Microsoft Office software and other drafting tools.

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