From Academic Kids

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LexisNexis is a popular searchable archive of content from newspapers, magazines, legal documents and other printed sources. Its primary customers are lawyers, journalists, and academics; its slogan is "It's how you know."

Besides all current statutes and laws, Lexis contains nearly all published case opinions in the United States back to the 1770s, and all unpublished (but publicly available) case opinions from 1980 onward. It also has full libraries of statutes and case opinions for many other common law jurisdictions like Australia and the United Kingdom.

News stories from the majority of English-language periodicals worldwide are available back to 1986, and there are a few articles available as far back as 1980.

Lexis has a library of public records, which includes current mailing addresses for nearly every living person in the United States. It has real property deeds and mortgages for most states.

A fee is charged for using the service. The fee was formerly hourly (at $300/hour or higher) but LexisNexis now prefers to negotiate monthly flat fees based on the number of people on the account.


The service is currently owned by Reed Elsevier. It was originally created as the LEXIS service in the late 1960s by Mead Data Central, a subsidiary of the Mead Corporation, as a continuation of an experiment organized by the Ohio State Bar in 1967. It was formally launched as a public service in April 1973. The NEXIS service was added in 1980 to respond to demands from journalists for an easy way to search articles. Notice the capitalization; it was very popular at the time to put the names of online computer services in all-caps.

Only in the early 1970s did the West Publishing Company recognize the pent-up demand for computerization of legal research. It responded by developing its own service, called Westlaw, which launched in 1975 but did not offer true full-text searching like LEXIS until December of 1976.

Like many corporations in the 1960s, Mead had aspirations of expanding beyond the dreary office products business and becoming a bona fide conglomerate; Lexis was but one portion of those plans. And like many of those corporations, Mead discovered the hard way that being a conglomerate was not easy. Eventually, Mead sold off Mead Data Central to return to its core competency of making office and school supplies.

In the early years, MDC was purely a computer operation. But to compete against West's overwhelmingly powerful brand, it gradually took over many smaller traditional publishers throughout the country that competed against the West products available in their local markets; examples include Michie and the Lawyers' Publishing Co-operative. As Lexis slowly added more paper publishing products, and West improved its online database offerings, the two eventually arrived at an uneasy coexistence in both the online and offline legal research markets that is comparable to an oligopoly. See Wexis.

When Toyota launched the Lexus line of luxury vehicles in 1989, Mead Data Central sued for trademark infringement on the theory that upscale consumers (like lawyers) would confuse Lexus with Lexis. Mead lost on appeal in 1990 when the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held that there was little chance of consumer confusion. Today, the two companies get along fine, with joint promotions with titles like "Win A Lexus On Lexis!"

In 2004 LexisNexis acquired Seisint, Inc for $775 million. Seisint is the company providing the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX).

On March 9th, 2005 LexisNexis announced that personal information of some Seisint users may have been stolen. It was originally estimated that 32,000 users were affected [1] (http://money.cnn.com/2005/03/09/news/midcaps/lexisnexis/index.htm), but that number greatly increased to over 310,000 [2] (http://money.cnn.com/2005/04/12/technology/personaltech/lexis/?cnn=yes). The affected people will be provided with free fraud insurance and credit bureau reports for a year. However, no reports of identity theft or fraud were discovered because of this security breach.

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