Lexis Advance is a huge leap forward over the old Lexis.com research system. The simplified interface reduces most of the clutter that was always a problem for Lexis.com, and Google-like search features make it easier to find the case, statute, or other authority that you need. For many of the same reasons that WestlawNext is a big leap forward from the old Westlaw.com, Lexis Advance is much better than still-available-but-why-would-you-use-it-anymore Lexis.com.
WestlawNext has had an iPad app since 2010, and as I noted in my review last year, it is fantastic and it has received some great improvements since it was introduced. Lexis recently released Lexis Advance for the iPad and iPhone. The apps themselves are free, but of course you must be a subscriber to Lexis Advance to use them. My law firm is, so I was able to try both apps.
When you start the iPad app, you are given a large search bar at the top. In the large panel below that, you can swipe between a (useless) Welcome page, a view of your saved folders and research or a history of prior research that you have done in Lexis Advance on either your computer, iPad or iPhone.
Select a content type (e.g. cases or statutes), a jurisdiction and/or a practice area (or leave any or all of them set to "all") and then enter your search terms and tap search. This quickly brings up a search result screen. Cases are shown first, but you can tap on the word "Cases" in the bar on the left to select other sources. The large pane on the right shows you your search results. By default, cases are listed by relevance, but you can change the sort order such as court (highest/lowest), date, etc. Search terms do not seem to be displayed in this view.
Tap on a case name to bring up a case. A full case list is shown on the left to make it easy to jump to other cases. Search terms are highlighted in bold, and you can even jump to specific search words using the terms button at the bottom. You can make the left bar go away just by sliding it, and you can even make most all of the bars on the left and the top of the page go away by tapping the full page view button at the top left of the opinion.
Simply tap the Shepardize button to get full Shepard's history, such as subsequent history and citing cases.
One of the features that I love in the WestlawNext app is the ability to highlight text. Unfortunately, you cannot do this in the Lexis Advance HD app. When you select text, your only options are to copy it to the standard iOS clipboard or you can save the selected text to a folder within Lexis Advance, but that feature seems fairly useless to me as you can only view a portion of the saved text.
Also curious is the gear at the top. It brings up something called "Settings" but it is not really settings at all, and instead just a way to get feedback, support, share the app, etc. There are no options to change any aspect of the app.
When you find a good case you can save it to a research folder on Lexis Advance so that you can easily access that case on your computer, or you can e-mail the case in PDF format. I don't see any option to control the format of that PDF file, such as changing how search terms are highlighted or using an easier-to-read dual-column format. This is less of an issue for a statute, but is a very unfortunate omission for cases. Having said that, one of my biggest gripes with Lexis Advance on the computer is how difficult it is to change these same options; for example, even on the computer, there is no way to save dual-column format as a default so you must manually select it on the computer every single time. Arrgh.
In addition to the iPad app, Lexis also released a version of Lexis Advance for the iPhone. I cannot even begin to list all of the ways that this is an improvement over the prior, almost-useless Lexis Get Cases and Shepardize app for the iPhone released back in 2009. The Lexis Advance iPhone app works just like the iPad app, and now provides a great way to pull up a case, Shepardize it, and even perform real legal research on the iPhone, although you are of course somewhat limited by the small size of the screen.
These two apps are great for many of the same reasons that I love WestlawNext on the iPad. The interface is even more simple than Lexis Advance on the computer, and while this means that you lose some functionality, it also means that there are fewer barriers between you and your research. The Lexis Advance HD app on the iPad is so nice that I can honestly see myself using it even if I have easy access to a computer. The clean and focused interface seems to make it even faster to find good cases. I can't see myself doing much true legal research on the iPhone, but since my iPhone is always with me, it is fantastic to have the ability to look up a case no matter where I am. In the past, I have used the Fastcase app on the iPhone to quickly find cases being cited by an opponent during oral argument. With the Lexis Advance iPhone app, I can not only read the case but I can also Shepardize the case to potentially find contrary authority.
The Lexis Advance app for the iPad doesn't have all of the features of WestlawNext for the iPad. Some of this may be because Lexis Advance on the iPad app is a 1.0 product whereas WestlawNext has been on the iPad for well over a year and has received improvements. Some of this has to do with the differences between the full versions of the products on the computer. But many attorneys don't have a choice between WestlawNext and Lexis Advance because their office picks one system for everyone to use. There is no doubt that for any attorney who is a Lexis Advance user, the new iPad app is really impressive in its 1.0 version and I can't wait to see it improved over time. Lexis has been doing some amazing things over the last few years, and the new Lexis Advance apps for iPhone and iPad embody all that is good about Lexis Advance and the future of Lexis.