Thomson Reuters’ Mobile CLEAR Takes Public Records Searching to a New Level

April 16, 2012

CLEAR is the next generation version of the investigative tool, AutoTrackXP, which has over a decade of history in the public records market. CLEAR launched to the law enforcement market in 2008 as ChoicePoint CLEAR (Consolidated Lead Evaluation and Reporting). In late 2008, Thomson Reuters acquired CLEAR to aid investigations within many disciplines. For most investigative use cases in law firms, they offer Westlaw PeopleMap as part of a larger legal research offering. Westlaw and WestlawNext are available in mobile versions today as well. Here are some links that show demos of CLEAR’s unique features:      

Traditionally, public records databases have offered access to key information: people and private and public business locators, assets (real estate, motor vehicles, watercraft, and aircraft), licenses, filings (corporation, UCC, civil and criminal), court records (bankruptcies, foreclosures, marriages and divorces, judgments and liens), and sanctions (health care providers, OSHA inspection reports, etc.). While CLEAR provides similar coverage, its mobile capabilities are what set it apart from its competitors. LexisNexis for example, offers only one mobile application, a free CourtLink app which is available for download from iTunes. CourtLink customers can use this app to review recent court dockets, set up Alerts and track activity on the CourtLink site- on demand. Right now, it doesn’t offer the capability to access other important kinds of public records information, nor does it offer access through any other mobile devices other than the Apple brand. In contrast, CLEAR ENHANCED Mobile has enhanced mobile capability for access to data on a HTML5 supported smartphone, while CLEAR CLASSIC Mobile works from most smartphones with Internet browsing access. You can also access CLEAR on an IPAD or tablet, just as you would with a full web browser on a laptop or desktop computer.  

While I’m excited by this development in mobile technology, I would like to see more transparency on the part of Thomson. I made several attempts to get a ball park estimate of pricing for CLEAR, for both a single attorney user and for equipping an entire law firm. Thomson’s response was: “As for pricing as a whole, each customer’s needs and usage differ greatly, making it impossible to quote one particular price for the product. We work closely with our customers to develop a subscription plan that works for them based on their specific needs and business model”. Neither was I able to get a definitive answer on the impact (if any), of mobile technology on increasing their customer’s billable revenue. Thomson was equally vague on how the available content of the product differs for investigators and attorneys – other than the fact that investigators have access to complete social security numbers and attorneys don’t.

Meanwhile, I’d like to see even more applications for accessing legal resources using mobile devices of all types – particularly those originating from LexisNexis. As users, what apps would you like to see? Let me know- I’d love to hear your ideas.