Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read September 2021 — In a wide-ranging conversation with Invest:, Chief Product Officer of LexisNexis North America Jeffrey Pfeifer discussed the evolution of law consultancy during the pandemic. He also spoke about exciting opportunities on the horizon and of the benefits of being located in the Triangle market and its access to excellent talent.
What have been some takeaways from the COVID landscape?
Law firms in North America had some of their best years in recent memory as the pandemic brought about a lot of new legal questions, like employment, real estate and business law questions that were not foreseen when the pandemic started. Our customers fared very well throughout that period but were confronted with new questions: How to work effectively in a business environment? How to work effectively in terms of collaboration, especially in areas that had been very office-oriented?
How did your clients turn these insights into competitive advantages?
An in-house legal department at a major corporation might be looking at how to effectively manage legal spending. A law firm might be generally more focused on providing the best possible legal counsel and advice to their clients. Depending on your position and your point of view, your business targets may vary. Our customers use our products in both ways: in-house counsel will use tools that we deliver, such as a line that we have called Practical Guidance. This helps an in-house legal department explore an area of the law with templated documents and checklists and other tools that help them accomplish legal tasks more quickly. On the law firm side, it might be mining information to figure out what is likely to happen in a litigation scenario. By mining things like legal or court docket information, a law firm might be able to advise a client what a likely outcome is in a specific litigation scenario.
What are your current research and development areas?
There are really a number of key technical questions that are driving the work that we do. Emerging areas include artificial intelligence, advanced data mining, advanced data visualization capabilities and even experimentation with things like augmented reality for legal professionals. Each of these technical advances are valuable when working with very large datasets like we have. These technology advances drive new insights for legal professionals – a future we call data-driven law.
What are some advantages to being in Raleigh-Durham and at the Centennial Campus specifically?
LexisNexis had a small presence in the Triangle pre-2014. That experience was quite positive for us. Over time, we found a tremendous base of technical talent in the area that ultimately led us to move our global hub for technology to the Triangle area. NC State University talked to us about some of the broader objectives they had for the Centennial Campus, a unique location mixing education and private employers like LexisNexis. Three things swayed us ultimately to locate there. First, access to world-class technical talent, and we have a significant number of NC State graduates working at our company now. Second, we were excited by the opportunities NC State offers for sponsored technical research. And finally, we were really excited for our employees to have the experience of a college campus for a work location. That setting was a big driver for what we wanted to achieve culturally.
How is your legal accelerator program benefiting local companies here?
About five years ago, after acquiring a number of startups in the legal tech space, LexisNexis had an idea to build an accelerator program. Our objective was to develop a wider ecosystem to support legal tech startups. We saw an opportunity to build an ecosystem where companies could help each other get a stronger footing, especially at the early tech stage and the early company development phase. As a result, we launched the LexisNexis Legal Tech Accelerator. We have between five and 10 companies participating each year and we help these companies refine their business model for the legal market, helping them grow and develop toward scale. This has been an exciting venture, based here at our technology center on NC State’s Centennial Campus.
What are the overall near-term growth plans for LexisNexis?
Interestingly, legal technology is growing no matter where you are in the world. For LexisNexis, we continue to expand our global footprint supported by products and technology developed here in the Triangle. Overall, the LexisNexis mission is to strengthen the Rule of Law around the world. There are many markets where the Rule of Law is strong and stable but there are many countries where it is not. We are focused on developing tools and solutions that help the legal profession strengthen the rule of law, improving the lives of individuals in the process.
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