For years I have been heaping praise on Thomson Reuters for producing one of the first marketing pieces that took a crack at quantifying the time savings delivered by one of their workflow products.  The chart offers a simple comparison of several tasks and shows the time it takes to perform each task and with and without the use of the Practical Law Resources. See Illustration below.

It is probably five years since I saw that first chart and I began investigating whether Thomson Reuters has moved from producing a marketing piece to delivering a real tool that could actually help a customer determine or even estimate the time savings or efficiency delivered by Practical Law.   I am picking on Thomson Reuters but the truth is that none of the large legal information publishers ( LexisNexis, Wolters Kluwer or Bloomberg Law) which have enhanced their research products with workflow solutions are offering any resource to measuring the ROI of their products.  For purposes of this post I will focus on Lexis and Westlaw  for reasons that will become apparent below.Will New Thomson Reuters New Strategy  Drive Practical Law Use Down— Reducing ROI

Many librarians and knowledge professionals have gleaned some ROI intelligence from commercial tracking tools such as Research Monitor and Onelog. At the very least  these resources can track adoption and utilization trends. Is the number of monthly users or sessions trending up or down? Those basic trends provide important insights– if not the full ROI. However, recently Westlaw has undertaken a new and baffling strategy which is impairing the quality of the trend data. Now that Practical Law requires a login using the OnePass password – it is almost impossible to distinguish Westlaw use from Practical Law use. In addition, TR seems to be heading toward a complete merger of Practical Law into the Westlaw platform. Let’s think about that– Westlaw is deeply associated with online billing which associates fear and client reject…. Hummm. sounds like a formula to drive Practical Law use DOWN to me. Sounds like a formula which will prevent associates from getting access to a product that was marketed as an unlimited access workflow enhancement tool. Sounds like a strategy which will create obstacles to the efficiency that law firms were promised, Now on to the main event -we need an ROI tool.

Of Course They Can Built and ROI Tool — But Do They Want To?

 

Forty years ago when online research was young Lexis and Westlaw almost immediately began providing law firms with usage reports tracking the users, the billing numbers and  the costs associated with each session. Why? Because the best way to sell the product was to make it easier for law firms to shift at least some of the costs onto a client bill. Over the years both Lexis and Westlaw developed very elaborate systems PowerInvoice and Quickview which morphed from software to web-based products. Both vendors listened to customers and continued to refine these systems – we asked for mandatory client matter validation – we got it. We asked for custom billing formats – “no problem.” We asked for “user defined billing rates” —  “voila!” But cost recovery was system  built on law firm needs in a seller’s market.  It flourished in the go-go 80s and 90s before the great recession. But we are now in a buyers market – and law firms are struggling with fixed pricing, alternative legal service providers and competing to win business from an ever shrinking pool of  new business opportunity. What do law firms with tight budgets want from companies such as Lexis and Thomson Reuters?  We want some proof that we are not wasting our money when we buy tools like Practical Law and Lexis Practice Advisor.

Where are the  Quickview and Powerinvoice Equivalents Tools For ROI?

I recently posed this question to several large workflow Over the past few weeks I have been asking  workflow product vendors if they have a tool for measuring the value delivered by their products…. in response… “all I heard was crickets.” Not only do vendors not have an answer – their representatives seem to be completely flummoxed that I have asked the question.   I am picking on Lexis and Westlaw because we all know that they know how to build systems that can track and report and provide a  sophisticated analysis of each law firms usage history.  They  just need start taking workflow ROI as seriously as they took online cost recovery for forty years.  If they want to continue selling million of dollars worth of workflow enhancement tools they need to start benchmarking what efficiencies their tools deliver and then match those benchmarks to the activities of a firms attorneys. I am certain that Practical Law and Lexis Practice Advisor have thousands of document templates and checklists which could be benchmarked to provide  productivity gains. However my sense was that Thomson Reuters has to date benchmarked fewer than 100 documents and tasks.I am not aware of LexisNexis having benchmarked any tasks.

Lexis PowerInvoice Dashboard

 

Components of My Imaginary ROI Tool:

  • Vendor benchmarks time savings associated with most heavily used resources in their products
  • Like online research all use of Lexis Advance and Practical Law are associated with individual attorneys.
  • Each firm could assign an actual hourly rate or an average hourly rate to attorneys by category ( associates by class, Counsel, Partners)
  • When an attorney utilizes ( opens, downloads etc.) a benchmarked resource – a calculation of the value of time saved would be entered in firm’s private activity ledger.
  • At the end of each ( week, month, quarter – firm defined time period) the firm could download or receive and automatically generated report which calculates the value delivered during the reported time period.
  • A cumulative annual report that provided the annual efficiency value delivered and this metric will – be measured against the cost of the product and  ultimately drive the decision to renew or cancel the product.

 

This will be a work in Progress

This will not be a perfect out of the gate. Like Powerinvoice and Quickview — the ROI tool will have to evolve over time. Users and vendors will identify omissions and unexpected outcomes. Enhancements and refinements will be tested and added. This should be the beginning of an ongoing dialog.  But from Day One this will be better than what we have today – which is … nothing..

… and if someone else has a better idea – I can’t wait to hear it. Add your suggestion in the comments section below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The results of the 2017 Start Stop Survey are in. Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey. My apologies for the delay in compiling the results – let me blame a series of unexpected events starting in December and continuing through the spring.

Can it Be? The Best New Legal Information Product is FREE!  Although AALL’s daily newsletter launched in late 2016 it really gained traction in 2017. I am also a daily reader. Know It AALL aggregates legal knowledge and technology stories from around the web ranging from academic publications to popular blogs and news sites. It is like a fresh cup of news serendipity to drink in along with your morning coffee. (Full disclosure: I am currently on the Board of the American Association of Law Libraries which publishes the newsletter..) The Know it AALL is available for free to anyone who wishes to subscribe at this link.

What is the best NEW PRODUCT you became aware of in 2017?

  •  1st Place The Know it AALL from AALL
  • 2nd Place: Wolters Kluwer Standard Fed Plus
  • 3rd Place Tie: Casetext Cara and Lex Machina

Other recommended products:

Continue Reading Start Stop Survey Results AALL’s — “The Know it AALL” Is Voted Best New Product and Bloomberg Law’s “Docket Key” Best New Feature

PAYPAL Issues have been resolved. My apologies to those who were unable to place orders yesterday. Thank you for your patience.

Dear Colleagues and readers you must be asking yourselves:

What is a Blog-o-zine? It is word I made up to describe a print publication which includes  “best of” selection of  Dewey B Strategic  blog in 2017.

Why a print blog-o-zine?  I, who have been an unrelenting advocate for digital information consumption have now pivoted to embrace a print representation of my 2017 blog posts The bottom line is that  I want to make my content accessible to more readers and to put it into a format which more easily “browseable for lawyers, researchers and legal information innovators who want to review a recent snapshot of the legal information landscape.

What inspired this? I had two epiphanies on the print versus digital issue in 2017. After 7 years of blogging it has become more difficult for me to locate my prior blogs. After I moved from the Blogger platform to Lexblog which uses WordPress, my earlier posts became much more difficult to find using Google searches. As I often say “with  Google can always give you something— but it does not always give you the exact thing  that you are looking for.” 

Perhaps more importantly, in 2017 I read the book The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter  by David Sax which posits that since we are material beings we have a special connection to tangible things. Sax documents the reappearance of all sorts of artifacts of our pre-digital age:  Phonograph players, vinyl records, 35 mm film, moleskin notebooks and yes – specialist magazines!  I was only half way through the book when my daughter asked to go into an Urban Outfitters at 5th Avenue and 42nd St in Manhattan – and what was in the front of the store? Displays of phonograph players, vinyl records and 35 mm Fuji film.

The Revenge of Analog made me question one of my most basic assumptions about information delivery. It made me notice that for at least some content, I prefer to hold something in my hands and browse. The Dewey B Strategic Blog-o-zine is my celebration of our tangible selves who still enjoy turning a page and browsing.

Why should  someone pay for it? The 2017 Dewey B Strategic  Blog-o-zine is intended to be an easy access, reference handbook on the major legal research/technology trends,  product releases and enhancements of 2017. The book includes 34 product reviews for cutting edge legal products incorporating AI, analytics, workflow tools and plain old expert analysis. What have the big players Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, Bloomberg Law and Wolters Kluwer been up to? Did you catch the release of new features on Fastcase, CARA,  Ravel, Lex Machina? Have you heard about the innovative new tools from Judicata,  Gavelytcs and Voxgov? The blog-o-zine can be seen as a good investment in a tool that will make it easier for you to focus your time and your budgets on best products for your firm’s research needs.

What the legal information industry thought leaders are saying…. Dewey B Strategic has been recognized as an important source of legal publishing and technology insights by industry executives, knowledge management and library thought leaders. Read their testimonials here.

 Exclusive content in the Blog-a-zine – A  wrap-up blogpost on the state of the legal information industry at the end of 2017. ” 2017:KM Rises, “Robot Lawyer” Fatigue Sets in. Analytics and Workflow Surge.”
The book will retail for $99 but will be available at the pre-publication price of $79.00 (plus shipping) through April 30th. The publication will ship on or about April 30th.

You can use Paypal to reserve your pre-publication price  here: Buy Now Button

If you should experience any difficulties with Paypal please email me at jogdc1@gmail.com.

Last week Bloomberg Law launched a new analytics tool, Health Care Fraud Analytics. A first of its kind tools offering insights into a very specific niche– health care fraud enforcement. The tool enables subscribers to search and filter health care fraud settlement agreements by court, entity, allegation, date which can be used to display trends in health care enforcement and settlements. The product also provides insights into whistle-blower suits and violation trends. Settlement analytics can be searched by law firm or corporate entity. These insights can be used for  knowledge management , business development  purposes as well as for client counseling.

Health Company Profile and News

John Maloney Commercial Director at Bloomberg Law provided me with a demo of the product. The benefits of the product include the aggregation of content which is technically “available” but not easy to locate and the consolidation of content which are derived from disparate sources. The Health Care Fraud Analytics tool is designed to assist lawyers in advising their clients on government enforcement trends,  compliance strategies and policies, and mitigating risks.

Bloomberg Law Health Care Settlement Analytics

The Settlement Agreements and Corporate Integrity Documents

The product provides legal analysis, practice guidance and analytics from civil settlements. The full text of almost 800 settlement agreements are available in one click.  In addition, the editors have tracked down Corporate integrity agreements which are incorporated by reference into many settlement agreements but are not part of the civil settlement document. Corporate Integrity Agreements are enforcement tools used by the Office of the Inspector General within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These provide insights into restrictions and reporting requirements which the subject company must comply with.

 

I recently had the opportunity to interview Andrew Perlman, The Dean of Suffolk Law School and Professor Gabrielle Teninbaum, Director of the Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation at  Suffolk Law School. Suffolk is on of the U.S, law schools which has been in the forefront of transforming the law future lawyers are educated. In particular they have focused on preparing students for the emerging technology roles described by legal futurist, Richard Susskind. The interview was published in the  March issue of Thomson Reuters Practice Innovations.

The article provides insights into upcoming changes  law school curriculum, the role of the ABA and law firms in the transformation of legal education and preparing students for practice chances arising from AI and analytics in the practice of law.

Read the full interview here.

 

 

The March issue of  Thomson Reuters Practice Innovations has been released. This issue focuses on AI’s impact on the business and practice of law, transformation of legal education and the ongoing challenges of value pricing and client collaboration.

The Full issue is available here.

Subscribe to Practice Innovations at this link.

Skill Fade: The Ethics of Lawyer Dependence on Algorithms and Technology Brian Sheppard, Seton Hall University Law School

Using Expected Value Calculations and Big Data to Guide Decision-Making  by Mark Thorogood , Perkins Coie

 Fending Off Incursions by the Big Four into the Legal Industry  by V. Mary Abraham

The Opportunity for “Back Office AI” in Law Firms     by Sally Gonzalez, Fireman & Co

Suffolk Law School: Leading Transformation of Legal Education  Jean O’Grady, DLA Piper Interviews  Andrew Perlman Dean of Suffolk Law School and Gabrielle Teninbaum  Director of the Institute on Legal Innovation, Suffolk Law,

The Future of Change is Client/Law Firm Collaboration By Toby Brown, Perkins Coie

 Today Lex Machina  announced the release its first annual Products Liability Litigation report which analyses more than 400,000 product liability cases filed in U.S. District Courts from January 1, 2009 to Dec 31, 2017.

The report highlights  claims related to pharmaceuticals and medical devices and provides detailed insights on case findings, resolutions timing, damages awarded in verdicts, and approved class action settlements.

Owen Byrd, General Counsel and Chief Evangelist is quoted in the press release announcing the report. “Every year, the number of product liability cases filed in District Court consistently outpaces the combined case filings for patent, commercial, employment, trademark, copyright, antitrust, securities, and bankruptcy appeals. Of those product liability cases, medical device and pharmaceutical litigation accounts for the lion’s share of all filings, which is why we’ve chosen to feature this sector in our first annual report.”

Key Findings Include:

Continue Reading Lex Machina 2018 Products Liability Litigation Report Includes Trends and an Analytics “Primer”- Expert Witness App Launched

Tax and Trust & Estate lawyers have always been a breed apart. They take their research tools and processes VERY seriously. And Wolters Kluwer CCH resources have defined the process of tax research. CCH launched its first publication in 1913 the year the US enacted its first tax law The Revenue Act of 1913. Anyone who has studied tax law understands the multiple threads of primary sources ( laws, regulation, revenue rulings etc. which are necessary for the interpretation of the law. A code section is only the first step in a complex analysis. And all of these primary law pieces are in a continuous state of change. Wolters Kluwer is leveraging machine learning and natural language processing to generate new tools and insights.

This week Wolters Kluwer launched an  important  new tool Estate and Gift Tax Plus  to help trust and estates practitioners instantly track changes in laws and regulations with an innovative new tools for “redlining” and point in time navigation. Since the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Job Act was the most sweeping tax law in decades, trust and estates practitioners will need to track ongoing changes to regulations as well as interpretive and advisory materials impacting the practitioners understanding of the law. Wolters Kluwer expects their  Tax Plus and Estate Tax and Gift  Tax Plus products to help lawyers master these ongoing changes efficiently.

New Features Include: Point in time allows lawyers to see a law or regulation as it was in a particular year and redlining which allows a lawyer to track changes in laws and regulations over time.  Continue Reading Wolters Kluwer Launches Estate & Gift Tax Plus With Redlining and “Point in Time” Research Features

Today Fastcase is announcing the addition of the Littler Mendelson employment law practice materials to their growing portfolio of secondary sources and practice materials. Littler, is the largest global employment and labor law firm, and as far as I know they also have the largest collection of law firm authored treatises. The firm has a bookstore on their website. As of today, Fastcase will offer, 79 titles from the Littler Employer Law Library within the Fastcase legal research platform.. Fastcase subscribers will now see little materials in their search results. National titles include: Littler on Bankruptcy and Employment Law Issues, Littler on Disability in the Workplace, Littler on Classifying Workers: Employees v. Independent Contractors, Joint Employees, & Other Contingent Continue Reading Fastcase Expands Treatises: Adds Littler Employment Library Including 79 Titles

My apologies for the delay. February was a “lost month” due to flu season. Please vote here. 

They Survey will close Friday March 16th.

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 Continue Reading Last Call To Share Your Wisdom with Your Colleagues Respond to 2017-18 Start Stop Poll