2023 Year in Review

6 December 2023

2023 Year in Review

by Ed Walters, Chief Strategy Officer, vLex

Generative AI, the most consequential merger in legal tech history, the new Cert citator, Vincent AI, awards, and more - all in one year (and the year isn’t even done yet)!

Legal tech always moves at a blistering pace, but it’s easy to see that 2023 was one of the most eventful years in the history of the industry. The combination of vLex and Fastcase certainly pushed the frontiers of artificial intelligence and law.

That’s why we’re taking a look back at the end of the year to review everything that’s happened, in one of the most active years ever in the legal information industry.


Docket Alarm becomes one of the first legal tech companies to integrate GPT 3.5

Docket Alarm becomes one of the first legal tech products to incorporate the (then) new OpenAI GPT-3.5 model to automatically summarize documents in a docket sheet without having to open them. Seems like AI might be a big deal this year.


vLex and Fastcase Merge, Creating a Global Legal Research Company

The year started fast, with news that global legal publisher vLex was merging with US legal publisher Fastcase to create the world’s largest legal research library, with more than 1 billion legal documents, the law of more than 110 countries, and more than 3 million subscribers from around the world. The companies had partnered many times over the past 20 years, had a shared mission and complementary strengths.

Backed by Oakley Capital and Bain Capital Credit, the combined company created vast potential for LLMs for law, compiling one of the largest and most diverse collections of structured legal documents anywhere.

The four founders of vLex and Fastcase, Lluís and Angel Faus, Ed Walters, and Phil Rosenthal, discussed the merger on the LawNext Podcast with Bob Ambrogi.


vLex and Docket Alarm launch AI-powered docket analysis tool

vLex and Docket Alarm launched the Batch AI Analyzer, which enables law firms to download, summarize, and organize pleadings, significantly reducing time spent analyzing dockets. Offering three summarization options, including bullet summaries, an outline summary, or an extraction of the main entities of the case, the Batch AI Analyzer helps litigators and researchers to get “up to speed” on a case — not in hours, but in minutes. This ensures that more time can be allocated to additional research and court preparation activities, which could result in better litigation outcomes.

JULY 19, 2023 - FASTCASE 50

vLex and Fastcase Announce the 2023 Fastcase 50

Even after the merger, the combined company continued the tradition of honoring the “smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders” in law, with the most international class of the Fastcase 50 yet.

JULY 25, 2023 - AALL 2023 IN BOSTON, MA

American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting

The first real combined event for the vLex and Fastcase team was in Boston for the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries (Read the AALL recap). Let’s just say that artificial intelligence was mentioned a few times during the meeting. vLex team members spoke about AI in research, in a panel with Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, vLex, and Bloomberg, spoke about SALI standards, state court docket analytics, and gave a sneak preview of the new Vincent AI skills from vLex. (The team also hosted nightly cooking classes for a few honored guests!)


vLex Adds Nigerian Law Collection

One major strength of vLex is the broad scope of its collection, featuring the law of many different nations in a single platform. That’s why it was a big deal when, in August, vLex launched a collection of highly sought-after Nigerian legal materials on its legal research platform. These authoritative materials, provided in partnership with DSC Publications, offer practitioners in Nigeria a solid legal framework to support their understanding and practice of the law.


Cert Citator begins to roll out in U.S. states

After Fastcase purchased the tech stack of legal tech pioneer Judicata, the teams set to work to build a new, industry-leading citator for the United States to identify when cases have been overturned. The vLex and Fastcase teams began rolling out Cert state by state, for all federal cases, and in Vincent AI, in the third and fourth quarters of 2023.


ILTACON 2023 - A Tale of Two Conferences

By the time ILTACON 2023 rolled around, many legal tech companies (including vLex) had the opportunity to launch generative AI offerings, so the conference was a perfect showcase for what’s new, which we recapped in a post here. The conference went far deeper into the business of law: client interactions, case management, data analytics, pricing, business development. The overarching message at ILTACON was the importance of a human-centric approach. Many discussions and panels focused on how technology could assist but not replace human skills. Whether it's client relations or augmenting a brief’s linguistic flourish: the human intellect remains undefeated. For now.


vLex Launches Vincent AI in Beta

When vLex and Fastcase merged earlier in the year, one of the major reasons was that it created the world’s broadest law library, which would be powerful when combined with large language models.

The combined business wasted no time in launching in beta a new kit of generative AI tools, an expansion of Vincent AI to include Research Assistant, Build an Argument, Compare, and Analyze a Document.

Vincent AI represented the first international legal AI tools, working in the US, UK, Spain, and Ireland right out of the box, with new jurisdictions to follow. The tools use Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) and allow users to see (and edit) the legal authorities used by Vincent AI. (Damien Riel discussed the approach with Greg Lambert in this episode of Geek in Review.)

These features make Vincent transparent, respectful of confidentiality, and most importantly, virtually impervious to hallucinations (or creation of phony authorities). The launch was broadly received with acclaim by law firms and legal journalists.


Docket Alarm wins Legaltech Breakthrough Award for “Overall Legal Analytics Solution Of The Year”

For the third year in a row, the Legaltech Breakthrough Award honored vLex, this time crowning Docket Alarm the “Overall Legal Analytics Solution of the Year” for 2023. Don’t call it a three-peat. Vincent was honored as the Virtual Legal Assistant Solution of the Year in 2021, and vLex was awarded Overall Legal Research Solution Provider of the Year in 2022.


vLex Adds More than 200 Expert Treatises and Forms in Partnership with James Publishing

vLex and James Publishing announce a new partnership that will support practitioners across the US, as well as those around the world conducting business in the United States. vLex agrees to host more than 200 practical law books and archived titles, as well as forms for federal and select states, as part of the brand-new James Publishing collection on vLex.

A transformative year for law

The year isn’t even over yet, and there’s so much to recap. vLex has worked closely with law firms, bar associations, corporate counsel, and lawyers to transform the legal intelligence industry everywhere.

The scope of vLex has changed dramatically in 2023. With Vincent AI and artificial intelligence generally, many legal tasks will never be the same. Products like Docket Alarm, Fastcase for bar associations, the Cert citator, NextChapter bankruptcy filing, are now a part of vLex, with a larger engineering team and more resources for even faster innovation.

2024 will be the year that vLex catalyzes innovation for law firms and law departments around the world. It’s been quite a year - and the best is yet to come.

Learn more about vLex's updates throughout 2023 on the vLex Blog.