Developer of Lexis Nexis Passes Away

The Washington Post yesterday included the obituary of H. Donald Wilson, 82, who was the president of Mead Data Central when the online legal research service Lexis was introduced. The obituary notes that

At first, many lawyers refused to use the software, regarding computer work as a secretarial job. In order to spur adoption of the product, Mr. Wilson gave law students almost free access to electronic files of court decisions, so that when they graduated, the young associates at law firms immediately asked their employers: “Where’s your Lexis?” Zurkowski said. Mr. Wilson also realized that tax lawyers and those in other specialized fields were more likely to do their own research, and he focused the company’s early efforts in those areas, said his longtime associate, Gary A. Marple, president and chief executive of Lessac Technologies Inc.

I was attending law school when Lexis was introduced at the George Washington University where I studied. I don’t remember badgering my first employer for Lexis but the online legal research services are a valuable tool along with the old fashioned books and now the free internet services.