Casetext CARA subscribers have recently seen two new  search enhancements appear on the CARA Platform. These new features ” Black Letter Law” and “Holdings”can help a researcher quickly locate the fundamental principles governing an area of law  in order to bolster a brief.

The Black Letter Law feature was created by harvesting all of cases which identify accepted principles of law which are  introduced with the phrases ” it is well settled,”  ” it is well established,”  “It is axiomatic.”  The “black letter law’ feature has one limitation and that is identifying black letter law related to completely new concepts e.g. blockchain.

The Holdings database leverages judicial summaries of cases and compares similar holding across an area of law. Search results provide the name of each case, the citation and a concise case summary. Results can be filtered by jurisdiction.

In The Beginning. The Pablo Arredondo, one of the co-founders of Casetext provided me with some background on the development of these features. The initial idea behind the Black Letter Law and Holdings database goes all the way back to 2011. While studying law at Stanford Arredondo had recognized the  value of “explanatory parentheticals” in judicial opinions.  Arredondo taught himself some basic coding so he could create a proof of concept: “Through a lot of trial and error, I was able to mine tens of thousands of principles and hundreds of thousands of case summaries. The prototype was posted on the web using a domain we called “well settled.” When Arredondo showed the prototype  to Paul Lomio,  who was Director of Stanford’s Law Library at the time, who suggested that Arredondo reach out to another Stanford alumni.  Jake Heller had just embarked on a legal research start-up. Heller and Arredondo met a few weeks later and they went on to build Casetext and the suite of CARA enhancements.


Black Letter Law

The Holdings Database Results


The limits of AI.  According to Arredondo,  AI still can’t summarize a case’s holding…  Or in Arredondo’s words, “judicial intelligence” still beats “artificial intelligence” in being able to summarize case holdings. CARA uses legal informatics patterns which are unique to the common law.  Phrases like “it is well settled” have appeared in common law case,s in all common law jurisdictions for hundreds of years. The folks at Casetext have calculated that it would take a judge over 350 years to read all the cases and write the case summaries which are included in CARA’s holdings database.

Holdings vs Synopsis I asked Arredondo how CARA’s  holding summaries are different West editorial “synopsis” which are added to cases in their reported cases. Arredondo  pointed out that the West summaries are written by an editor and Cara’s  holding statements are written by judges. I also asked  if CARA could flag cases where a judge had misinterpreted the holding of a case.  He responded that since CARA provides  a researcher with multiple summaries from different judges – presumably any misinterpreted holding would  be materially different from the others. It might be worth considering whether CARA could use their linguistic analysis to flag and highlight the “outlier holdings” which might be misinterpretations of a case holding.
One fundamental fact remains  — lawyers must still read the underlying cases whether they are utilizing  CARA’s  new features or a more traditional citator tool. It is exciting to see legal research innovators enrich lower cost research systems with sophisticated editorial-type  enhancements built on linguistic analysis, machine learning and algorithms.  CARA’s Black Letter Law and Holdings features are designed to help lawyers quickly strengthen their briefs with the best precedents and the strongest principles of law…. and then have time to read the cases themselves.




Today Fastcase is announcing the acquisition of innovative docket analytics provider Docket Alarm. Over the past few years, Fastcase has been rapidly transforming itself from being a reliable “low cost” online research provider of primary  law into a serious contender to erode upstream market share from the mega-platforms Westlaw, LexisNexis and Bloomberg Law. The addition of a sophisticated analytics product such as Docket Alarm caters to a market “sweet spot” in law firms. Everyone wants better business intelligence and insights for assessing past litigation performance and anticipating future performance and outcomes of law firms, motions, judges and courts. This move could give Fastcase a serious market edge in the analytics space – because Docket Alarm is offering both federal and state docket data— (although the state data appears to be limited to New York, California and Texas).

Analytics is actually at the core of the Fastcase product. I recently discovered that Fastcase was the first product I reviewed in this blog in 2011.  Fastcase: Legal Research Enters the 4th Dimension or the Little Engine that Could and highlighted Fastcase’s interactive visual timelines.

Fastcase Interactive Timeline


The addition of Docket Alarm will provide Fastcase users  with a powerful docket alerting system for real time intelligence about client, causes of action and law firms.

The Competition. Lexis has been offering only federal analytics through their Lex Machina acquisition. Bloomberg Law has a deep pool of both federal and state docket data – but I believe that all of the analytics they are offering are for federal courts. Thomson Reuters although an early player in legal analytics with their Monitor Suite Product has yet to launch a federal or state product for lawyers. They are rumored to be developing an analytics product which will launch in 2018. So that really seems to catapult Fastcase to the head of the pack in either first or second place as of today.

An Acquisition Hiding in Plain Sight – OK I wondered “what was cooking” when I saw Docket Alarm founder Michael Sander perched under a Docket Alarm Sign in the Fastcase booth at the AALL Conference in Austin last July.  Maybe Ed and Phil were being nice to another scrappy start up from a former practicing lawyer. And now we know… This is another piece of the Fastcase masterplan which has been unfolding over the past year.

Docket Alarm was founded by intellectual property litigator Michael Sander. Docket Alarm combines a library of hundreds of millions of litigation records with its machine learning and natural language processing tools. Docket Alarm provides analytical profiles on judges, parties, law firms, and attorneys, identifying win rates, time to decision, and even measuring gender diversity at law firms. Unique for the industry, Docket Alarm’s API gives other firms and companies the ability to leverage its existing database of PACER cases, alerting capabilities, and analysis in bulk.

According to the press release Docket Alarm’s “advanced analytical capabilities, customizable real-time litigation alerts, case prediction indicators, and technology-driven research tools complement Fastcase’s quest to add unique, must-have content for its subscribers and provide leading legal analysis with contributions from firm partners across the country.”

Today, Sander will become the Managing Director of Docket Alarm and Director of Fastcase Analytics. Current Docket Alarm subscribers will continue to enjoy access to their accounts through with their login and password with no disruption to their access. As Fastcase continues to build out its Analytics, Legal News and Alerts Services, products such as Docket Alarm, the AI Sandbox and Full Court Press will enable Fastcase customers to add and enjoy these unique services and content to their Fastcase subscription.

“Fastcase’s legal research tools have changed the game for published opinions, but they are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Ed Walters, Fastcase CEO. “Docket Alarm adds insights from court filings in cases that never result in an opinion, giving litigators a more complete picture in their research. Now Fastcase and Docket Alarm subscribers can search motions, pleadings, and briefs; get clear analytic insights into judges and law firms; and understand the history of similar cases. Analytics are the future, and Fastcase and Docket Alarm are going to be right in the center of it.”

Integration of Docket Alarm According to Walter’s, Fastcase and Docket Alarm will operate as separate services in the short term, but they will fast track the integration of Docket Alarm into Fastcase 7. Docket Alarm Data will be integrated into Fastcase Sandbox right away. According to Walters both platforms are built on similar technology stacks… “Our goal is complete integration in a single fantastic platform.”

Fastcase Transforms Over the past year alone Fastcase has made several transformative moves. They hired seasoned legal publishing executive Steve Errick and Chief Operating Officer. Launched a printing arm Full Court Press, Launched a journal of original scholarship “The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law. (RAIL)—which is a multi-media offering, eBook, print and audio and the addition of a library of expert commentary of more than 15,000 expert legal bloggers in the LexBlog network.

As a consumer of analytics products I am thrilled to see Fastcase enter this market and tackle developing tools to  meet the unmet demand for state docket analytics and insights.

Here is the full press release:


January 10, 2018

Media Contacts:

Jennifer Brand Ransom, 202.731.2114

Fastcase Expands Legal Analytics Capabilities With Docket Alarm Acquisition

 Fastcase Provides New Competitive Advantage with Litigation Alerts and Legal Analytics Through Docket Alarm Addition

 Washington, DC (January 10, 2018) – Fastcase today announced its expansion into the federal and state docket alerts, legal news and data analytics markets with its acquisition of Docket Alarm.

Docket Alarm’s advanced analytical capabilities, customizable real-time litigation alerts, case prediction indicators, and technology-driven research tools complement Fastcase’s quest to add unique, must-have content for its subscribers and provide leading legal analysis with contributions from firm partners across the country.

Docket Alarm, founded by intellectual property litigator Michael Sander, has been a disruptor in the legal analytics market. Leveraging both a library of hundreds of millions of litigation records and its machine learning and natural language processing tools, Docket Alarm has quickly become a preferred analytics tool for identifying judicial trends and predicting litigation outcomes. Docket Alarm provides analytical profiles on judges, parties, law firms, and attorneys, identifying win rates, time to decision, and even measuring gender diversity at law firms. Unique for the industry, Docket Alarm’s API gives other firms and companies the ability to leverage its existing database of PACER cases, alerting capabilities, and analysis in bulk.

The nation’s largest law firms, Fortune 500 companies, and market research and consulting firms rely on Docket Alarm to search, track, and analyze judicial trends in lawsuits and bankruptcies in federal, state, and administrative courts. Its insight into the ITC, PTAB, and TTAB give intellectual property litigators unparalleled visibility. Its new state court analytics products give New York, Texas, and California litigators tools they have never seen before.

“Fastcase’s legal research tools have changed the game for published opinions, but they are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Ed Walters, Fastcase CEO. “Docket Alarm adds insights from court filings in cases that never result in an opinion, giving litigators a more complete picture in their research. Now Fastcase and Docket Alarm subscribers can search motions, pleadings, and briefs; get clear analytic insights into judges and law firms; and understand the history of similar cases. Analytics are the future, and Fastcase and Docket Alarm are going to be right in the center of it.”

Walters added: “We have tremendous respect for Michael, a truly great legal tech entrepreneur, and we can’t wait to work with him. Docket Alarm and Fastcase were both individually great, but the combined service is going to be a blockbuster.”

“Building a company from scratch was not easy, especially in the legal market with technology that relies on the analysis of millions of cases with high accuracy. But seeing sophisticated law firms, in-house counsel, and financial institutions come to rely on the platform has been incredibly rewarding,” said Sander. “Docket Alarm has the technology to usher in a new age of litigation analysis, and Fastcase has the resources and will to change the way attorneys and law firms research the law; it’s an excellent team to join, at an exciting time.”

Beginning today, Sander will become the Managing Director of Docket Alarm and Director of Fastcase Analytics. Current Docket Alarm subscribers will continue to enjoy access to their accounts through with their login and password with no disruption to their access. As Fastcase continues to build out its Analytics, Legal News and Alerts Services, products such as Docket Alarm, the AI Sandbox and Full Court Press will enable Fastcase customers to add and enjoy these unique services and content to their Fastcase subscription.

Fastcase co-founders Ed Walters and Phil Rosenthal continue to challenge the status quo in the legal publishing industry. Since founding Fastcase in 1999, they have consistently pursued the mission to make legal research smarter and to democratize the law, making it more accessible to more people. In July they added former LexisNexis executive Steve Errick to drive their product roadmap, which has seen them add in addition to news, dockets and analytics, the launch of a publishing arm, Full Court Press, and the addition of a library of expert commentary of more than 15,000 expert legal bloggers in the LexBlog network.


About Fastcase

As the smarter alternative for legal research, Fastcase democratizes the law, making it more accessible to more people. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 800,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase or visit



SUNY Global Center

ARK Group will be hosting their 12th Annual Best Practice & Management Strategies for Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services. I believe I have been at every conference in every role including: attendee, speaker, moderator, chairperson and keynote. Over the years the program has become more focused on strategy and innovation.

The location has also improved.  I spoke at the first ARK conference which was held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan.  It was unforgettable because a pipe burst in the ceiling above me in the middle of my presentation. We literally moved on and I completed the presentation without benefit of an umbrella. The past few years the conference has been held at the SUNY Global Center on E 55th St in Manhattan. It is a comfortable high-tech presentation environment.

This year I am co-presenting with colleague Stacy Pangilinan. Our presentation is entitled: “Why are we paying for that? Reinventing the Budget Process with Project Management and KM Principles.” Which will be a case study on the development of new budget workflows and analysis using KM and Project Management tools

Ark Group’s 12th annual Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services conference will once again provide an ideal platform for discussion and debate concerning the convergence and impact of technology and economics on evolving practice strategies—as we take a collective view at the “Big Picture” of Librarians as Disruptors, the importance of interdepartmental support and technology, how to change the stereotypical image of the librarian, and how to run the Library as a business. As usual the speakers include a terrific mix of KM thought leaders, legal tech innovators, and law firm consultants.

  • DATE: February 22, 2018
  • Where: SUNY Global Center, New York, NY
  • Register Here.

Here is the full agenda:

9:00AM   Opening Remarks: Conference Chairperson

9:10AM   OPENING/KEYNOTE on the Front Lines: Assessing New Products and Setting Expectations for how they will Perform at the Firm Legal technology is moving quickly, and so is the marketing language about AI. Separating value from the noise can be difficult. What can AI actually do today? When do you want a product built with it, and when does it not matter? What are the important questions to ask about how a specific AI product works? How can you identify when the emperor has no clothes? KM professionals and law librarians are at the front lines of assessing new products and setting expectations for how they perform at the firm. Answers to these questions are essential for finding solid ground in the rapidly shifting tech landscape. Get critical insider knowledge from someone who has built and sold AI about how you can identify the good, bad, and the ugly.

Daniel Lewis, CEO & Co-founder, Ravel

9:50AM   SURVEY RESULTS & PANEL DISCUSSION Beyond Virtualization: Transforming the Law Library  “What is the Modern Law Library?” The role of library services within firms and organizations has shifted. Rather than being a target of downsizing or outsourcing, librarians are moving beyond traditional roles, reinventing themselves to support the business of law. However, administration must be open to this evolution. Without this support, library modernization cannot be fully realized.  This segment will address the steps firms need to take for maximum efficiency and delivery of legal information resources—and the role of the Modern Law Library.  How is “Library Modernization” being defined?  This session—inclusive of a panel discussion with key experts from the field— will speak to the “Big Picture” of Librarians as disruptors, the importance of interdepartmental support and technology, how to change the stereotypical image of the librarian, and how to run the Library as a business.

Greg Lambert, Chief Knowledge Services Officer, Jackson Walker LLP,  Shabeer Kahn, Director of Research Services, Morrison & Foerster,  Nancy Rine, Director of Research Services and Conflicts, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Michael Feit, President, Feit Consulting , Monice  Kaczorowski, Vice President, Library Strategy & Innovation, Feit Consulting

10:35AM Morning Networking & Coffee Break

11:00AM   CASE STUDY  Why are we Paying for That? Reinventing the Budget Process with Project Management and KM Principles: DLA Piper Case Study Budgets can’t be managed effectively  in a once a year budget recalibration.  Cost optimization is an ongoing process which should be built into your departmental workflow. Digital resource budgets have exploded over the past ten years and expanded the complexity of resource acquisition and renewal. How do you    account for the cost of enterprise, local and practice group spending?  How do you get practice group participation in budget accountability and cost control? Learn how one firm moved from a decentralized and painful budget process to developing a streamlined and effective tool for ROI reporting  by starting with a whiteboard and  workflow analysis.

Stacy Pangilinan, JD, MLIS, Senior Manager, Knowledge Solutions, DLA Piper LLP (US) AND Jean O’Grady, JD, MLS, Sr. Dir of Information, Research & Knowledge  Management, DLA Piper LLP (US)

11:45AM   CASE STUDY The Knowledge Desk… A One-Stop Shop Often law firms roll out multiple search engines, databases and portals to provide information to their lawyers, and then are surprised when lawyers don’t use them.  The belief is that lawyers don’t use these tools because they are not tech savvy.  In reality, it’s because there are too many options and it’s difficult to figure out where to find something.  Enter Knowledge Desk.  Knowledge Desk was launched in 2016 and is designed to provide Littler attorneys with a “one-stop shop” for all legal answers – copies of complaints, answers to legal questions, legal research, SMEs, etc.  The Knowledge Desk has handled more attorney  requests in the first nine months of 2017 than in all of 2016 and is on track to

respond to over 26,000 requests by year-end – a 35% increase year-over-year. In an environment where so many firms and libraries are shrinking, the Littler library has had dramatic growth without taking on new departments.  In this case study, Cynthia Brown will share the secret(s) to Littler’s success.

Cynthia L. Brown JD, Director – Research Services , Littler Mendelson P.C.

12:15PM Networking Luncheon

1:15PM   CASE STUDY  Absorbing Library Services into KM – A Case Study    In early 2016, Ogletree Deakins dissolved its library services department and absorbed all library functions into KM. Two years later, the team behind that (ultimately successful) transition is here to discuss the impetus for the change, its execution, what went well, and what went wrong.

Jennifer P. Mendez, Senior Manager, KM Firm Solutions, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Evan J. Shenkman, Senior Manager, KM Counsel & Research, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Patrick V. DiDomenico, Chief Knowledge Officer, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

2:00PM   INTERACTIVE SEGMENT Teach Your Children Well:  Preparing Law Students For Law Firm Practice Conventional wisdom says that legal education needs to evolve to meet the  current demands of the market place. But what, exactly, should change, and how can legal educators best prepare law students to hit the ground running at their firms? This interactive discussion will allow conference participants to share their thoughts with a law school librarian teaching legal practice technology at Fordham University Law School.  We will begin with an overview of the current state of legal technology education in the resource and information realm. Then, we will evaluate its sufficiency based on law firm needs now and anticipated skills necessary for the future. This will be an opportunity for attendees to share their perspectives directly with the source on educating students for the modern practice of law.

Jocelyn K. Sagherian, Reference Librarian, Fordham Law School Library

2:45PM Afternoon Networking & Coffee Break

3:15PM   PANEL DISCUSSION   Practical Magic: Read/Write AI in Law Firms In the past, law firms could use artificial intelligence only by subscribing to  software that incorporated it – read only.  But today, law firms are using artificial intelligence to create their own tools and solve long-intractable problems – read/ write AI. In this panel, Fastcase CEO Ed Walters will moderate a discussion among law firms who are building their own AI-enabled tools to create the datapowered law firms of the next generation.

Edward J. Walters, Chief Executive Officer, Fastcase, Others TBA

4:00PM   CLOSING PANEL DISCUSSION   The Leadership Imperative:  Leveraging Strategic Relationships Across Departments  In line with the increasing professionalization of law firms, paralegal, docketing and litigation services managers have become key sources of innovation,  intelligence and change. This evolution directly impacts workflow, data capture, and the very provision of legal services by law firms; it also represents an  important opportunity for law librarians interested in broadening their portfolio of knowledge enabling services to help their firms leverage existing talent and resources. This session will provide an overview of key trends in docketing and paralegal relevant to library, as well specific examples from these groups.

Kara Buzga, Paralegal Manager, Mayer Brown , Tara Kim Eberhart, Director of Paralegal Services and Docketing, Dentons, Jessica L. Bengels, Managing Attorney, Manager of Litigation Services, Latham & Watkins LLP, Steven E. DeJesus, Docket Specialist, VedderPrice — Moderated  by:  Anna McGrane, COO, PacerPro


The most recent Outsell Report on  Legal and Regulatory  Solutions 2017  projected that this sector would generate $23.5 billion in sales in 2017. In addition, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have generated regulatory uncertainty which has been good for both law firms and the legal information industry. Consistent with this environment and the convergence of machine intelligence, analytics and workflow solutions– 2017 produced an interesting crop of products and enhancements from large vendors and startups. Wolters Kluwer, Law 360, BloombergBNA and MLex kicked off the year by offering special regulatory guides anticipating the impact of the new administration in the US.  There were over a dozen new vendors exhibiting at the AALL annual conference which I highlighted in two blog posts part 1 and part 2

This blog has covered a wide variety of new products including Judicata’s Clerk, Gavelytics, Voxgov, CARA’s Brief Finder and CARA Push NotificationsLex Machina launched new modules including bankruptcy appeals, commercial, employment and products liability. Ravel launched law firm analytics before being acquired by Lexis.

Wolters Kluwer appeared to have been in innovative overdrive building new tools and features on its own and in alliance with other technology companies. Wolters Kluwer launched M&A Clause Analytics,  Smart Tasks, predictive legislation in their Federal Knowledge Center, Clarivate, Standard Federal Tax Plus, SEC RegReview, a new Cybersecurity Product, Enhanced Arbitration Platform and a KTmine IP Alliance.Lexis unveiled an AI tool: Lexis Answers and began to deliver some “mashups” between their various products. They enhanced Practice Advisor with Intelligize. Lex Machina analytics are appearing in Lexis Advance. They launched a video enhanced practice guide: The Wagstaffe Group Practice Guide: Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial.

BloombergBNA added points of law, citation maps, an E discovery center, a Data Compliance and Risk Benchmark Tool, and Relaunched Corporate Practice Center with In-House Counsel Focus,

Thomson Reuters relaunched their treatise platform. ALM launched Compass which will replace their Rival Edge and the ALM Intelligence Center.

Fastcase launched a publishing arm called Full Court press and a multimedia journal: The Journal of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence and Law

KNOW IT ALL! One of the best new resources which launched in 2017 was  free — AALL’s new daily newsletter called Know it All

PLEASE VOTE It’s been a busy year for legal information professionals and knowledge managers There are so many products to evaluate and compare. Share your wisdom with your colleagues. Please take a few minutes to participate in the brief “Start Stop” Survey and vote for the best of 2017. Vote Here








Happy New Year. I am kicking off 2018 with a look back at the most popular Dewey B, Strategic posts of 2017.

In mid – 2017 I moved  Dewey B Strategic off the Blogger platform and relaunched on Kevin O’Keefe’s LexBlog platform. Many thanks to the very patient technical staff at LexBlog for keeping me sane during that transition.

Here is the list of the 15 most popular Dewey B Strategic posts of 2017:

  1. LexisNexis Sued By Law Firm Alleging Breach of Contract, Deceptive Practices For Selling Codes With Omissions and Errors.
  2. ThomsonReuters Relaunches Online Treatises: New Formats, Context and Functionality in Secondary Sources
  3. Start/Stop Poll Results: Ravel Law Analytics Voted Best New Product–Lexis Search Term Mapping Best New Feature–ROI Tracking and Research Workflow Tools Emerge as Leading Workflow Enhancement Products
  4. Wolters Kluwer Leaps to the Head of the Class with “SmartTasks” Customizable Corporate Know-How and Offers a Free Federal Legislative Knowledge Center
  5. Lexis Answers: Artificial Intelligence Without the Hyperbole; No Robot Lawyers In Sight–A Fastrack to Legal Answers
  6. 2017 Trends In Law Firms and Legal Publishing: Pure Speculation From the Serious to the Fantastic.
  7. Trump Deregulation Watch: Wolters Kluwer Publishers White Paper– Bloomberg BNA Publishes 2017 Outlook Reports
  8. Guess Who’s Coming to AALL? Part 2: Government Information and Workflow Tools.  Guess Whose Coming to AALL?: New Exhibitors Part1: Litigation, Corporate and IP Vendors
  9. LexisNexis Acquires Ravel Law: A Tipping Point for Legal Analytics and the Second Wave of Legal KM
  10. Practice Innovations: Passwords are Dead; Pens are Alive; Big Data & Big Foot, Virtual Reality, Security and Cloud Choices
  11.  Bloomberg Law Relaunches Corporate Practice Center with In-House Counsel Focus: Compliance, Toolkits and Analytics
  12. VoxGov: A Veritable Goldmine of “Hidden” U.S. Government Insights and Trends
  13. Wolters Kluwer On a Roll: New Cybersecurity Product, Enhanced Arbitration Platform and KTmine IP Alliance
  14. Lex Machina Launches New Apps: Instant Insights into Litigation Damages and Parties
  15. American Lawyer Highlights Rise of The CKO in 2017 Survey of Library, Knowledge Management and Research Professionals




Bloomberg Law recently announced 3 enhancements to Bloomberg Law which will be available to all subscribers at no additional cost.    These resources include “time to trial” analytics, a unique court focused practice portfolio and a groundbreaking new docket feature, Docket Key which bring a smile to the face of anyone who has ever spent hours slogging through a docket sheet trying to find a specific document.

Analytics for Time to Motion Grant and Case Resolution

The new analytics feature allows lawyers to analyze judges on time to motion grant or resolution by case type. Judges, and district court case timing can be compared to each other and to the average overall case timing. As clients become more price sensitive, predictive analytics on case and motion timing can be used for both pitches and early case assessment.

Analysics comparing judges and district time to trial.


NY Commercial Division Practice – Bloomberg Law has partnered with the law firm Patterson Belknap to create a  new civil practice guide which focuses on commercial litigation in the Commercial Division of the New York Supreme Court. Unlike every other state, in NY the Supreme Court is in fact the trial court – not an appellate court. Bloomberg has intensified their focus on developing practice resources that can enhance efficiency and workflow.  They now have 13 sets of practice portfolios. I have previously pointed out  that BNA’s practice portfolios were print resources focused on streamlining workflow, which predated Practical Law by several decades. They had the misfortune of being developed in the “bad old days” when offering lawyers tools to drive efficiency was met with a laugh or a yawn.

According to the press release, the commercial division of the New York State Supreme Court was “formed to enhance the quality of judicial adjudication and improve efficiency of commercial disputes. The commercial division practice presents unique challenges because lawyers need understand both the state rules of procedure as well as the specific rules of the commercial division.”The portfolio provides insight into the inner workings of a commercial division and covers issues including the selection of judges the rules of practice jurisdiction management of cases discovery motion practice as well as appeals from the court. Practice tools include Forms.


Docket key (Hooray! Finally, a Way to Search for Specific Documents)

Anyone who does docket research knows that dockets are loaded with cryptic entries which do little to identify the exact nature of the documents associated with each entry. Docket Key is one of the first attempts by any publisher to take a stab at solving this problem. Docket key makes locating specific filings easy.  Bloomberg employed machine learning to identify 20 categories of documents including motions, complaints, notices briefs and orders.

Currently Docket Key supports the most frequently searched 15 federal districts on Bloomberg Law including the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, the District Court of the District of Columbia and the Northern District of California. Docket Key is a search feature on the docket search page and enables researchers to navigate directly to a desired document. For a relative newcomer to the legal research arena – Bloomberg has always had an exceptionally strong docket product. Lexis and Westlaw have had docket products on the market for decades, it is a real “head scratcher” that they have let Bloomberg leapfrog over them in streamlining docket research and making specific  document types discoverable. within a docket sheet. Doesn’t sound like rocket science – but Bloomberg if the first one to get “lift off” on this  particular challenge.

Users will notice that Bloomberg has revised their recent revision of their Dockets page. The recent revisions eliminate tabs and reduce the number of “clicks” to get to a result.


Practicing Law Institute (PLI) will be removing their content from Bloomberg Law at the end of 2017 when the current license ends. PLI is one of the premier Continuing Legal Education Providers in the U.S. The big question is – will PLI content show up on Lexis or Westlaw. The answer is “no.” According to Craig Miller the VP of Membership at PLI, the company opted not to continue licensing their treatises and coursebooks to Bloomberg Law  or any other third party publisher in order to focus on developing and promoting their own digital platform PLI Plus. PLI Plus was previously marketed as PLI Discover Plus. According to Miller, about half of the ALM 100 law firms subscribe to PLI Plus. I have to assume that in making PLI Plus the exclusive platform where researchers can access PLI content, the company is a making a play to expand that subscriber list. It was apparent from talking to representatives from both companies that neither intends to burn any bridges.

PLI Plus

When Bloomberg Law first launched, it was a platform of primary law materials, which was enhanced with Bloomberg news and financial data. They had very little in the way of legal analysis and commentary. In that context the addition of PLI materials to the platform was a very significant benefit to subscribers. In 2011 Bloomberg acquired the Bureau of National Affairs – a company chockablock with premium editorial legal content. Bloomberg has continued to expand the BNA practice centers and portfolio series and Practical Guidance Suites, while also adding treatises from third party publishers such as the Federal Judicial Center.

PLI Plus includes an archive of PLI treatises, coursebooks, answer books, legal forms and program transcripts. The PLI Plus website includes 90,000 legal research documents covering 25 practice areas.

PLI Needs Primary Law What About a Mashup with Fastcase or Casetext? A Win Win Scenario?

The PLI content on Bloomberg was enhanced with links to primary sources such as cases and statutes. Hyperlinking is common feature in most legal research platforms.  PLI could benefit from a relationship with lower cost legal research providers such as Casetext and Fastcase.  Fastcase has already entered into several alliances with outside content providers most notably HeinOnline. Either Fastcase or Casetext could benefit from the addition of PLI materials– which includes both treatises and workflow materials such as checklists and forms. While PLI had indicated that they want to be the exclusive provider of their own content – this would not rule out their licensing content from another vendor which will enhance their user experience.

I have to confess that I have a soft spot in my heart for American Lawyer Media. Their flagship publication American Lawyer and I both entered law firms at about the same time. Three decades ago, when the latest issue of the American Lawyer arrived, I had the distinct  sense that it should have been kept behind the circulation desk and covered in a brown wrapper. By 1980 standards it was a tawdry publication. ALM injected personality, scandal, and ungentlemanly financial comparisons into the rarefied hallways of Wall Street law firms. It had the same “shock factor” as the early postings on the Above the Law blog. No one wanted to be seen reading it and yet everyone had to take a peek.

In the past 40 years ALM was also a pioneer in the now burgeoning world of law firm analytics. They defined the Profits per Partner metric which for better or worse has become the surrogate for law firm success in the 21st Century.

When ALM was repurchased by the  Wasserstein investment group in 2014, I worried that the owners might not invest in the ongoing improvement of the ALM platform. The launch of the new Legal Compass platform suggests that they recognize that there is an insatiable market for competitive insights. Legal Compass aggregates the massive archive of Rival Edge data and ALM legal intelligence surveys and married that data with external intelligence mined from dockets, SEC filings, law firm websites and social media. They have hired data scientists to develop an impressive suite of interactive charts, maps and data visualization tools.

According to Andrew Neblett, President of ALM Intelligence, “There has been a substantial expansion of data and the product development team to deliver the new platform. It was a massive task to normalize, structure, consolidate and validate the data from numerous ALM archival datasets and spreadsheets.

ALM has always been an important source of law firm data but frankly their platforms were painfully primitive, inflexible and inevitably frustrating for the user.

The most obvious impact for current subscribers is that two legacy products, Rival Edge and ALM Legal Intelligence are being phased out and replaced with Legal Compass. But Legal Compass offers much more than the sum of those two parts.

ALM Legal Compass Dashboard


Legal Compass Features

 There is no way to describe all the new features and reports available in the Legal Compass platform. The dashboard itself is organized around common tasks: recruiting, competitive analysis, benchmarking, client prospecting and firm expansion. Research tasks include law firm profiles, lawyer searching, surveys/rankings, lateral moves, office trends, law firm comparisons, company profiles, firm trends, event trends, analyst reports, ALM 200, NLJ 500 and law school trends.

Benchmarking Tools – ALM data forms the backbone of the benchmarking tool which enables firms to compare their own performance against peers and the broader market using unique financial and operational KPIs and a summary of each firm’s, rankings, practice areas, financial for the past, 10 years. In order to provide context each firm or group of firms is compared to the overall market using ALM 100 and 200. RPL, PPL data in scatterplot graphs.

Benchmarks Report
Scatter plot Scorecard

Office Trends Tool– Identify new players and how firms are strengthening or weakening in critical markets and practice areas using interactive maps and charts.


Lateral moves tool – reports partner and associate moves by law firm.

Lateral Moves Report

Events and News – Monitors the practice areas and topics competitors are promoting through events, news and thought leadership.

Diversity Reports – Leverages the archive of diversity data to benchmark against peer firms and the broader industry trends. Diversity metrics –Since clients are looking more closely at diversity in law firms they have the diversity metrics which they collect from their diversity data. The report offers comparative diversity metrics for each selected firm.

What’s Next?

 According to Eric Ryles, VP, Customer Solutions, ALM is pursuing a very aggressive development schedule. They plan to release new features every month for the next eight months. These new features will include “law firm intelligence decks” or custom reports and reports on law school graduate career trends. One of the most exciting new modules will be a law firm merger modelling tool which will enable law firm leaders to model a variety of merger scenarios involving specific law firms.

My Two Cents

Since lateral hiring of increasing importance and yet often proves to be disappointing to both firms and the lateral lawyers themselves, this is an issue in need of new insights. I suggest enhancing the lateral tool with additional metrics to help firms and laterals more accurately predict successful matches. I also suggest enhancing the laterals tools with in-house lawyer moves. Rival Edge has been one of the best but perhaps least known sources of in-house lawyer staffing information. The holy grail would be to expand the company information to include GC organization charts which would associate specific in-house lawyers with specific areas of responsibility e.g. contracting, regulatory, Intellectual property, etc.

Related Post:

American Lawyer Media Sold what does this mean for the journalism of law and personality?



I recently authored the following article which appeared in the October issue of Thomson Reuter’s Practice Innovations.

Knowing Value: The Rise of the Law Firm Chief Knowledge Officer

This past July the American Lawyer published its first rebranded annual Survey of Law Firm Knowledge Management, Library, and Research Professionals and focused on the rise of the chief knowledge officer. The main article was entitled “Law Librarian? Try Chief Knowledge Officer” and it was accompanied by another article entitled “From Providing Data to Providing Insight.” Both of the articles focus on the emergence of librarians and information professionals as CKOs.

Knowledge professionals are faced with the challenge assessing a complex ecosystem of emerging tools offering artificial intelligence and analytics. The market is full of new products which offer law firms “magic bullet” solutions which promise provide to deliver a competitive advantage, streamlined workflow or “game changing” insights. They are on the front line of a workflow and intelligence revolution and bring their experience and expertise to the challenge of marrying external and internal content with, algorithms and curated data. New knowledge and intelligence responsibilities include: Competitive Intelligence, Legal Project Management, Lateral partner due diligence, Pricing and Pitching as well as the development of client facing solutions. Traditional responsibilities include knowledge database management, portal development and enterprise search. Read the full article HERE

AALL has published its 13th Salary Survey which the AALL Press Release describes as “ the only comprehensive, comparative salary information designed by and for legal information professionals at law schools, law firm/corporate law offices and government law libraries. “

In recent weeks there has been a rash of positive stories about the demand for librarians despite the canard that Google had made the jobs of information professionals irrelevant. The Wall Street Journal

Only last week the Wall Street Journal ran a story Google Smoogle, Reference Librarians are Busier than Ever and two weeks ago Pearson the educational publisher released a study predicting an increased demand for librarians through 2030.

AALL’s salary survey confirms that despite the serious disruptions in law firm staffing and the drop in law school enrollments, jobs for information professionals remain steady and is increasing in some environments.

 Print vs electronic

Although all types of libraries: academic, firm and government have made a dramatic shift from print to digital resources in the past 10 years, the shift has been most dramatic in law firms. The survey also shows that law firms spend on average three times more than academic libraries on digital resources.







 What is happening in Law Firms?

Salaries for chief knowledge officers (CKOs) and chief library officers (CLOs) in private law firms jumped 32.1 percent from 2015 to $191,000. The one problem with the survey is that mega-firms are under- represented. While the survey is showing a positive employment and salary trend- it does not include data from the majority for ALM 100 firms. According to the data, only 5 firms with 450+ attorneys responded to the survey. I attribute this low response rate to the structure of the survey which is designed for organization with a single location not for organizations with dozens for even hundreds of locations across the US or around the world.

The data also confirms that law firm librarians are responding to market demands to efficient organizations delivering high value services. An increase in the number of professionals reflects the demand for complex research, competitive intelligence and knowledge management support. The data shows a decline in paraprofessionals in law firm libraries reflecting the elimination of low value administrative activities as libraries “climb the value chain,” as predicted by Jordan Furlong in his 2013 PLL Summit keynote.

How to Purchase the Survey The 146 page report in digital format is free for all AALL Members. Non members can purchase print copies for $250. Information available on the AALL website.