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.

Correction: The original post listed an incorrect “click” and “open”  rate which has been corrected below. Apologies to my readers.

Last May Casetext’s CARA launched their “brief finder” feature which they recently enhanced with a “push” notifications feature. THey recently released a new “push” notifications feature called “CARA Notifications” which analyzes Pacer dockets and delivers an opponent’s substantive documents along with a report that highlights missing precedent.

Just To Refresh CARA….

The CARA product uses algorithms and citation analysis to identify relevant caselaw which is not included in a brief or memo. An attorney can just drag and drop any substantive document into CARA including: (1) an opposing counsel’s brief to begin research on your responsive motion and to identify cases not cited by opposing counsel (2) their own draft brief to ensure that the document is not missing relevant authority, and (3) a memo with legal discussion and case citations to make sure it includes key cases.

“Brief Finder” promises to surface the most relevant legal briefs filed in federal courts by “the country’s best law firms.” So with no effort CARA subscribers can see how leading law firms have argues the same issues included in the brief they are drafting.


Casetext monitors all the PACER dockets in which an attorney has active matters. Whenever opposing counsel files a substantive document such as a brief or memorandum, Casetext retrieves the document, runs it through the CARA analysis algorithm, and delivers the document and a report including uncited but relevant cases to the attorney. Pablo Arredondo, chief legal research officer believes that “CARA Notifications” is the first legal research product to proactively delivers a custom analysis of an opponent’s brief. I have to agree with that assessment. Since excessive research time can be targeted for write-offs CARA is positioned to target a workflow in need of efficiency drivers.

In a recent interview Amanda Gudis, the head of customer engagement at Casetext, stated that she is getting great feedback from customers about the product. She indicated that partners are especially enthusiastic about the notifications feature because it proactively provides research results which in the past, they would have assigned to an associate and then waited for an answer. According to Gudis there is currently a 35% “click rate” which supports the value of the push notifications. Subscribers receive the documents within an hour of filing. There is no shortage of commercial services which can be setup to monitor Pacer filings, but CARA is the only service which delivers only substantive filings and enhances those filings with actionable insights into potential vulnerabilities of those documents. Pablo Arredondo, Casetext’s co-founder and chief legal research officer, described how Casetext has applied the same “centrifuge-like” analysis technology that is used in CARA to dockets enabling them to filter out the routine documents and identify only the high value documents.

What’s Next For Casetext?

Arredondo was cagey, but he assured me that something exciting is in the works which is currently scheduled to launch January 2018.

Related Posts:

Casetext Launches CARA: Citation Fingerprints, Celestial Footnotes and Opinion Souring

Casetext Launches “New Brief Finder”

Today Lex Machina is announcing the release of a new module which covers federal product liability litigation. The Products liability addition of 500,000 cases pending since 2009 represents the largest expansion of the Lex Machina platform since its launch in 2006.

This data set more than doubles the number of cases which can be analyzed by subscribers.

Products liability module will provide the same trends in case timing, resolutions, findings, and damages for injuries caused by product defects, including medical devices/pharmaceuticals, vehicles, aircraft, asbestos, and more. It also includes third party subrogation cases where entities such as insurance companies take over the case on behalf of the plaintiff.

Challenges of Multi- District Litigation. The majority (91%, or 454,166 cases) of federal product liability cases pending since 2009 are part of a multi-district litigation (MDL) – a procedure where cases around the country involving the same incident (or complex set of facts) are transferred and combined into the MDL proceeding for discovery and pretrial. Lex Machina has tagged all of these cases so they can be filtered out of the results in one click. This technique allows researchers to easily compare the data involving only the master case, with the data including all the MDL cases included. Researchers can easily determine whether a presiding judge has expertise with MDL cases, and provides actual judicial rulings about expert witness admissibility.

Products Liability Damages and Findings Tags. According to the press release, Lex Machina interviewed top product liability attorneys to better understand their needs and incorporated their feedback directly into the new offering. As a result, Lex Machina has added 11 new damages tags, including wrongful death/disfigurement, property damange, lost profits and medical expenses; and 24 new findings, including breach of warranty, defective product, negligence and consumer protection law violations. Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics is the only platform that incorporates these unique filters into its offering.

Among some of the key product liability insights found within the data, include:

  • More than 10,300 vehicle-related product liability cases have been pending since 2009. Last year saw the largest number of vehicle-related product liability cases filed (2,226 cases).
  • The top three district courts for product liability cases pending since 2009, representing 58% of all filings, are: Eastern District of Pennsylvania (29%), Southern District of West Virginia (21%), and Eastern District of Louisiana (8%).
  • Asbestos-related filings made up over 140,000 cases pending since 2009 – 97% of which were filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Legal Analytics for Product Liability Litigation Webcast

On November 14 and 9:30 PST, 12 EST, Lex Machina is hosting a Products Liability Litigation webcast will feature Bob Ambrogi, renown legal tech blogger and Above The Law columnist will introduce the new module, along with with Eric Falkenberry, partner at DLA Piper, and Lex Machina’s chief evangelist and general counsel, Owen Byrd. Register for for the webinar

Judicata’s Clerk offers so much advanced analysis, that it almost scares me. After Judicata founder Itai Gurari, gave me a demo of Clerk I suggested that he needed to put a banner across the top of the screen reminding associates that they still needed to read cases and draw their own conclusions. You load a brief into the platform and Clerk delivers a multi-dimensional critique of the brief supported by a raft of suggestions and analytics.

Gurari has described Clerk as “moneyball for motions. ”Judicata’s Clerk has ingested “thousands of pages of legal text and millions of case data points in order to place each brief in context and provide actionable insights.” Different motions have distinct probabilities of being granted in a particular court or by a particular judge. Judicata offers an impressive array of document assessments.

Gurari built Clerk based on the assumption that associates would like to have an easy way to get insight into the strength to weaknesses of their arguments.

Have you cited the best cases? Do you have the right ratio of cases supporting your argument and against your Continue Reading Forget the Robots You Might Just Need a Clerk. Judicata’s Clerk: Algorithms and Analytics that “Grade” and Recommends Edits to Briefs.

The October issue of Thomson Reuters’ Practice Innovations has been released. Practice Innovations is a quarterly publication which focuses on best practices and innovations in law firm information and knowledge management for legal professionals.

Here is a  list of the latest articles:

Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Law: A Distributed Disruption, By Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future Research, London, UK, and alexandra Whittington, Foresight Director, Fast Future Publishing, Houston, TX.

People, Process, Technology – In That Order By Jeffrey Brandt, Principal, Brandt Professional Services, Ashburn, VA.

Market Restructuring and Lateral Partner-hiringBy William Henderson, Professor of Law and Stephen F. Burns,chair on the legal profession at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Bloomington, IN.

The Revolution of Autonomous SoftwareBy Don Philmlee, Legal Technology Consultant, Washington, DC.

Knowing Value: The Rise of the Law Firm Chief Knowledge OfficerBy Jean P. O’Grady, Senior Director of Research, Information & Knowledge Services, DLA Piper, Washington, DC/

The Power of 360-degree Feedback Assessments: Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness, By Diane Lietz-Stuart, Talent Management and Development Adminstrator, American Family Insurance, Madison, WI, and Karen Nell Smith, Adjunct Consultant, LawVision Group, LLC, Boston, MA 

“The age of analytics and algorithms is upon us. A new and important role is emerging for information professionals. They will help lawyers ask new questions and gain new insights using analytics. ”

Read my analysis of this trend in the November/December 2017 issue of AALL Spectrum. Click here to read Analytics and Insights: It’s All About Asking the Right Questions. Article is on page 40.

I am an optimist by nature and I have remained skeptical of  dark forecasts which predict the future based on one dominant trend  (AI comes to mind) while ignoring multiple factors that are likely to moderate or change an expected trajectory.  Imagine my surprise and delight to read about a  recent study on the future of work that predicted that both lawyers and librarians are two of the careers  which are expected to experience increased demand through 2030. The Future of Skills” Employment in 2030 was produced as the result of a collaboration by Pearson – the educational publisher, NESTA-  a global innovation foundation and the Oxford Martin School.

The report even highlights the surprising inclusion that  librarians are listed in the high growth professions: Although traditional libraries have evolved ” we’ll still need people: librarians, to help us navigate information both old and new. But like many occupations, the skills profile of a librarian is likely to shift substantially in the years ahead.”

The Question Posed: The paper addresses the following research question “Given the likely drivers of change in future labor markets, which occupations would grow or decline in demand by 2030 and what will their skills profile be?

Key trends influencing US and UK labor markets include: technological change, globalization, demographic change, environmental sustainability, urbanization, increasing inequality and political uncertainty. Human experts and machine intelligence algorithms analyzed the future of employment and skills.  Here are the results:


Jobs in Demand 2030

Frankly I find it surprising that there appears to be so little  overlap between the US and UK lists of top jobs. Some of this I assume can be attributed to the study having used the standard employment categories provided by the UK and US governments. Maybe Personal Appearance Workers (6 US) have an equivalence with “Sports and Fitness Occupations” ( 3UK). But where are the UK Lawyers and Librarians –  Shall we just blame their disappearance  on Richard “The End of Lawyers” Susskind.

21st century skills that will be in demand in the marketplace in the US include interpersonal skills, teaching social perceptivenss, service orientation and persuasion . Higher order cognitive skills  in demand include: complex problem-solving, originality, fluency of ideas and active learning.

Skills in Demand 2030


The report drew six conclusions:

  1. Only one and five workers are in an occupation that will shrink
  2. Only one in 10 workers are in occupations that are likely to grow.
  3. Seven in 10 workers are in  jobs where there is greater uncertainty about the future.
  4. Twenty  First century skills will be in demand, but a more nuanced understanding of which skills will be in  greatest demand is required.
  5. Our research Definitively shows that both knowledge and skills will be required for the future economy.
  6. Occupations and their skill requirements are not set in stone. Occupations can be redesigned to pair unique human skills of productivity gains from technology to boost demand for jobs.

This will not be a slam dunk. The report provides recommendations for educations, policymakers and individuals can take to better prepare for a very  uncertain future.  College degrees may lose some status as other kinds of skills related credentials emerge which can be acquired throughout the course of a career in order to adapt to emerging demands and opportunities. Jobs will not be set in stone and even the job titles that survive are likely to be radically transformed as their are paired with advances in AI.