Little Bits of History

April 2

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 2, 2017

1973: LexisNexis launches publicly. The Ohio based company offered full-text searches in all Ohio and New York cases. Before the World Wide Web was a thing, dial-up services were possible for lawyers looking for data on cases. As computers improved, data was available via disks. Today, the world’s largest electronic database for legal and public record related information is available by subscription at LexisNexis. They have over 30 terabytes of data on 11 mainframes supported by more than 300 midrange UNIX servers and almost 1,000 Windows NT servers. The main datacenter is in Miamisburg, Ohio.

Today, they have current United States statutes and laws as well as a large number of published case opinions dating back from the 1770s and up to the present day. Also available are unpublished but publically available opinions from 1980 onward. In 2000, they began to build a library of briefs and motions. For questions from outside the US, they also have libraries of statutes and case judgments and opinions from Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. These are accompanied by databases of law review and legal journal articles from countries where such are available.

The original data was put together and managed by Mead Corporation, then based out of Dayton, Ohio and established as a continuation of an experiment organized by the Ohio State Bar in 1967. Mead, now MeadWestvaco, sold to Reed Elservier, now RELX Group. Reed Elsevier is an Anglo-Dutch publishing company and purchased LexisNexis in 1994. On this day, LEXIS was launched independently and was available for lawyers and the NEXIS service, for journalists writing about legal issues, was launched later in the year. Their headquarters remain, through mergers and buyouts, in Dayton.

The business of aggregating data is huge and when Mead first sold LexisNexis, it was for $1.5 billion. Since then, there have been several mergers bring more data under the LexisNexis umbrella. Included in purchases over the years have been RiskWise, Quicklaw, and Seisint, Inc. which owned and operated Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX). In 2008, ChoicePoint was purchased for $3.6 billion. The data aggregator company was rebranded as LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In 2014, they purchased Health Market Science (HMS) which collects high quality data about US healthcare professionals.

The safety of the people shall be the highest law. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom. – John Locke

Let me be clear – no one is above the law. Not a politician, not a priest, not a criminal, not a police officer. We are all accountable for our actions. – Antonio Villaraigosa

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. – Julius Caesar

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