In my former life as a defense product liability lawyer, I was often called on by clients to evaluate the exposure and risk of a case. Or I might need to determine whether and how many similar cases there might be out there to better assess risk. Or I might want to know what experts to vet and hire. Obtaining this information wasn’t easy, however. It took time and patience and even then was not always complete. You had to look at a variety of sources in different places. Often the results allowed you to make little more than a wild ass guess.


That’s why the LexisNexis Product Liability Navigator, announced today, looks so promising. As most of you know, LexisNexis is a global provider of information and analytics. The Product Liability Navigator is the second Navigator offered by LexisNexis. The first being the Lexis Medical Navigator®.

The Product Liability Navigator is designed to be a one-stop platform for all relevant information about product liability cases.


The Product Liability Navigator is designed to be a one-stop platform for all relevant information about product liability cases. This information includes experts, verdicts and settlements, regulations, and recalls, among other things. I have seen the product and am impressed by it. It’s easy to use and intuitive.


But before I get into the particulars, I want to talk about the process that LexisNexis used to make this platform. I have often railed about legal tech products that are hard to use and learn. Most lawyers bill by the hour still. Every hour spent in training and trying to figure out how to use a legal tech product is money straight out of the pocket.  I have seen too many legal tech developers who think because they practiced law briefly before entering the tech marketplace, they know how to design legal tech products lawyers will use.


But what impressed me most about the Navigator was its ease of use. Tabs well labeled. Issues and filters designed to get at what lawyers need. A well set up dashboard.


There’s a reason for this ease of use and intuitive design. Instead of having a bunch of engineers design a product and then take it to lawyers, LexisNexis did just the opposite. The LexisNexis team went to practicing lawyers to design the product and then built it based on the lawyers’ needs.  Mark Koussa, Director of Product Management with LexisNexis and a former product liability defense lawyer, was the lead LexisNexis development guru on the project. I talked with Koussa and Serena Wellen, Sr. Director of LexisNexis, about the design process and the product recently.


Koussa realized from the outset he needed a broad look at needs and wants from the legal community to make a useful product. He and his team talked to and collaborated with some 300 product liability lawyers about what they want and need. These included plaintiffs and defense lawyers, big firm lawyers, and solos. Koussa and his team basically gave this group the Dashboard to design.


The result is a highly functioning and intuitive dashboard that contains all the information products liability lawyers might want.


The result is a highly functioning and intuitive dashboard that contains all the information products liability lawyers might want.


Wellen walked me through how the Dashboard might help a lawyer. The Dashboard quickly enables a user to evaluate the value of a case by looking at other cases and verdicts or where available, settlements. It also shows any recall information, applicable regulations, and additional relevant information.


According to the LexisNexis press release, the Navigator will allow users to search for and filter information in six categories: Regulations, Recalls and Reports, Caselaw, Verdicts and Settlements, Expert Witnesses, and Multi-district Litigation.  It enables searches in these categories by various filters, including product type, product name, product manufacturer, and federal or state jurisdictions.  The platform has filters for things like liability theories, affirmative defenses that have been asserted, and injuries from the product that have been alleged.



The Dashboard will graphically display results generated. Clicking on any of the results will take users to the most relevant documents for their search.


Later this summer, the Product Liability Navigator will implement what it calls its ‘No-Fail Searching’ feature. This function will automate more complex and unique searches for better results. So if one or more content types yield no results, this feature will automatically drop the lowest-scoring search term and re-run the search until results can be found, or until there are no results left to show.



While I haven’t played around with the platform in-depth, the demo that Wellen and Koussa did for me was impressive.


The Navigator will be offered on a subscription basis. According to Wellen, the database contains some 1.4 million recalls and reports, 300 state and federal regulations, 1 million verdicts from federal and state courts, and information about some 400,000 experts. It appears to be a data-rich platform.


Form and functionality matter to lawyers. Look at how the Navigator was developed and functions if you want to design and sell a legal tech product. Ease of use, short learning curve are critical. The Product Liability Navigator appears to join handful of legal tech products out there that offer these key characteristics.