In a recent post Thomson Reuters to Layoff 3,200 Staff Through 2020, Close Offices and Eliminate Products – Which Legal Products Might Die? I asked readers to provide their insights into the impact of Thomson Reuters layoffs on products and support.

Readers have highlighted several products which they think are in jeopardy due to the recent layoffs at Thomson Reuters. Those products are eBillingHub, Monitor Suite, West KIM, Drafting Assistant, West Legal Ed Center and CaseNotebook. Thanks to the four readers who provided the comments I have included below.

eBillingHub
Caroline Hill, Editor-in-Chief of the Legal IT Insider had a front page article Thomson Reuters reorg leads to eBillingHub office closure.  According to the article the closure of the Pittsburgh office will impact support for eBillingHub customers for about six months. Article covers additional office closures and products impacted.

West KM Monitor Suite and Drafting Assistant
It’s interesting that even as TR continues to promote the notion that it is focusing on software over content, it has allowed installed products like West km to languish. Will Drafting Assistant be next?
I suspect Monitor Suite will be retired. Like West km it was an early entry in its space, litigation analytics, but it has many competitors now and one (Bloomberg) has especially deep pockets. Analytics are now available on the Edge platform and seemingly not using Monitor Suite as a data source. – Anonymous library manager

West Legal Ed Center
I think one product that might be under consideration by TR as product elimination is West LegalEdcenter. I do not think that enough support has been provided to WLEC in recent years. It’s been useful as a basic CLE resource for those of our attorneys who have last minute needs, but the platform and design have not been upgraded to my expectations. I also notice that the list of “partners” providing program has diminished from what it was initially. Background changes were made last year and earlier this year without any notice to firm administrators. In spite of that, the customer support team I work with have always been very helpful – but the unchanged platform and poor search design are indications to me that TR doesn’t see it as a valuable component of their legal product line. Every time a vendor makes staff and product elimination, customer service and content plummets. -anonymous librarian

CaseNotebook
Being in litigation support, my main interaction with them is with their Case Notebook software, which we use for deposition management. I’ve long thought the software has great potential, but was under-developed and missing some common-sense functions. Given the history of WestKM you laid out, I suspect Case Notebook was similarly mismanaged. With Relativity’s introduction of transcript management capabilities and the pre-existing competition, I would be curious if there was any other evidence that Thomson Reuters planned on further cutting back support/development of the product.  anonymous Litigation Support Manager

My Take On Reader’s Observations I am not familiar with Casenotebook or eBillingHub so I can’t provide an insights on  the vulnerability of those two products. I do agree that West Legal Ed Center – seems like a vulnerable product. It is too far removed from the software and innovation tools which Thomson Reuters has identified as the main focus of their business. I also agree that Monitor Suite is likely in long term peril. TR recently rolled out a completely new analytics platform within Westlaw Edge – which doesn’t leverage the Analytics from Monitor Suite – it was built from the ground up and is infused with TR’s most sophisticated AI and algorithms. Seems pretty clear that from here on  every investment dollar for analytics products will be directed into Westlaw Edge. Monitor Suite at best will die a slow death of neglect —  kept on “life-support” as long as any revenue can be squeezed from it.

Please send additional comments on vulnerable Thomson Reuters products to me at:  jogdc1@gmail.com

The American Association of Law Libraries has extended the deadline for members to complete the State of the Profession Survey until December 14,  2018.

AALL Members were emailed the survey on November 8th.

“The ultimate objective of the survey is to deliver a report to identify, clarify, and support the value of your individual and collective roles. The survey aims to understand the impact of significant challenges we have faced while shining a bright light on our unflagging commitment to delivering outstanding services to our communities and advancing the legal information profession as a whole.” Learn more about the survey here.

Separate surveys have been created for academic, government, and private/corporate law libraries. AALL has contracted with Association Research, Inc., (ARI) for this project. Be assured that information you provide to ARI will be kept confidential.

Who Should Answer the Survey?

The survey is intended for all AALL members with expertise in law libraries and equivalent organizations–including those who are unemployed and underemployed. The association also seeks to reach others with experience in these settings who are not AALL members. (All individuals in each library should complete their own survey. Director’s and CKO’s have received a longer survey which deals with organizational information such as budgets and staffing.

If you Didn’t Receive a Survey

To request an invitation to participate, please contact ARI at ari@associationresearch.com
with the following subject line: AALL State of the Profession Survey Request.

Questions?

For questions about the survey’s mechanics, please email ari@associationresearch.com. For other questions, contact Director of Content Strategy Megan Mall.

A Tip for Directors Working on the Survey

The survey is rather long. Directors are encouraged to print out the entire survey in PDF so that they can distribute sections of the survey to staff with expertise to respond to the various issues raised in the survey. See illustration below:

 

Please take the time to help this important AALL initiative by taking the time to complete the survey on behalf of yourself.

The  Dewey B Strategic  Blog-o-zine is an easy access, guide to the evolving legal research marketplace. Get practical guidance on assessing products and vendors. The book is a handy tool to help focus your time and your budgets on the best products for your firm’s practice needs. Enhance your understanding of  technology trends,  product releases, emerging information companies and  product enhancements..

Holiday Sale Prices and Options:

  • Amazon Kindle ebook $29
  • Amazon Print and ebook $43
  • Paypal Print $39 (plus $3 Shipping)

How to Purchase: Use  Amazon and Paypal buttons to the right of this post to place your order.

The Dewey B Strategic Blog-o-zone offers:

  • 34 Product reviews
  • Insights on evaluating AI and analytics products
  • Major trends in legal technology and publishing
  • Recent product releases and enhancements from all the major vendors. Bloomberg Law, Fastcase, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, Wolters Kluwer)
  • Meet the startpups and their products (Casetext, Judicata, Gaveytics, Voxgov)
  • A valuable reference tool for selecting the right resources.

What the legal information industry thought leaders are saying about Dewey B Strategic. 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.

Less than three weeks ago Thomson Reuters announced layoffs that impacted many Thomson Reuters executives and staff who I have known for years. I had at least two conversations with high level executives at Thomson Reuters since that time who assured me that the layoffs were done. I suppose this means there was an unspoken footnote in their declarations – as in… “there would be no more layoffs in 2018?” The Minneapolis Star Tribune posted an article stating that there would be no more  layoffs at the Egan, Mn. Headquarters of the legal business. According to  multiple news source including CNN,  “the news and information company is drastically shrinking its staff, cutting 3,200 jobs and closing 55 offices by 2020. Reuters says it will employ roughly 23,800 people — down from its current workforce of 27,000.” This announcement was made yesterday during an Thomson Reuters  annual investor day in Toronto.

Thomson Reuters offered CNN the same statement they gave me three weeks ago regarding the earlier  layoffs. “Thomson Reuters is routinely looking at ways to run our global business operations more efficiently and effectively. This disciplined approach sometimes includes the need to make personnel, or other, changes which allow us to balance our internal resources with the needs of our customers in a highly competitive environment.”

Thomson Reuters Needs To Manage this Message

It is not immediately clear what this means for the legal market. But two possible implications are:

  • Client support could  decline. Continuous churn in sales and support staff impacts the expertise of the client support teams.
  • Products could shrink but costs will not.  This could take the form of both stealth and overt product changes. It is not just that products could be eliminated but the scope of editorial materials or other content could be reduced  although labeled as the same product. It sometimes takes the keen eye of a regular user to detect content changes.

I urge TR executives to get out in front of these news reports and advise their customers what this means for their suite of legal products and product support. Under the new capital restraints where will they focus their  product development dollars?

What are the vulnerable TR Products? West KM Comes to Mind
Off the top of my head the most vulnerable TR Legal product that comes to mind is WestKM. I am sad to say this. That was a product “ahead of its time”  — it should have owned the KM market.  It was developed before the recession of 2008 but neglected for so long — at one point it was transferred over to the Elite accounting division of TR for reasons that defy comprehension – probably to help some executives personal compensation package. Investment and  technical support from the company  languished so long that WestKM couldn’t compete effectively when law firms began tripping over themselves to find products to help them drive efficiency. Here’s another clue – at least two of the executives associated with the West KM product were “let go” in the prior round of layoffs.
What products do you think are at risk? Email me at jogdc1@gmail.com or post a comment below.

 

 

Yesterday Lex Machina announced the launch of a newly expanded Contracts Litigation module which includes 45,000 new cases which resulted in the awarding of $4 billion in damages. Lex Machina now offers insights into more than 130,000 commercial and non-commercial cases pending in federal district courts since 2009. New cases include individual, class action, and government lawsuits.This release upgrades and replaces the Commercial Litigation module which was released in June of 2017.

The module offers the standard Lex Machina insights into case timing, resolutions, findings, damages, and remedies, as well as insights into on opposing counsel, law firms, parties, judges, venues and other data that can inform litigation strategy or a pitch meeting.

The press release highlights the following insights:

  • Findings go beyond breach of contract and include unjust enrichment, conversion, fraud, tortious interference, defamation, and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • The practice area includes nearly 2,000 cases that resolved at trial and over 6,500 cases that resolved at summary judgment, over 8,000 cases at default judgment, and over 1,400 on consent judgment.
  • A breach of contract claim was evaluated by the court in over 18,500 cases.
  • Using a Franchise Agreement case tag, users can see about 6,500 cases relating to franchise agreement litigation, including both business and individual franchisees.
  • Overall damages for the Contracts litigation module are over $2.2 billion, with over $1 billion in Class Action Settlement Damages.

Lex Machina in the market– Lex Machina is facing increasing competition in the analytics area. Lex Machina has taken a slower topical approach in which they leverage AI, machine learning and human expertise to curate a subset of cases in a specific area of litigation. They currently covers 13 areas of law (Antitrust, bankruptcy, contacts, copyright, Delaware Chancery Court, Employment, ERISA, Insurance, Patent, Products Liability, Securities, Trademark and Trade Secret litigation. They provide the most sophisticated product on the market for the areas they cover. Competitors such as Westlaw Edge, Bloomberg Law and Fastcase DocketAlarm offer data across all federal cases, but they rely on the Pacer’s Nature of Suit (NOS) code which does not adequately describe a large number of federal suits. Although Lex Machina analytics on fewer topics than their competitors, Lex Machina has the advantage of offering the most sophisticated filters and visual displays. However, since the market is changing quickly – they will face increasing pressure to add new modules at a faster clip.

Law360 and Lex Machina (both owned by LexisNexis) have created a new award recognizing lawyers “who are using data and analytics to dream up new ways to meet the challenges of their practice” The  2018 Data Driven Lawyer award recipients are Eric Falkenberry DLA Piper; Scott Forman, Littler Mendelson PC ; Kate Gaudry, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP; Evan Moses, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC and. Kyle Poe, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Josh Becker, the head of Lexis legal analytics and chairman of Lex Machina, describes the data drive lawyer as “ the lawyer of the future. “This is still very early days and these pioneers are critical. They’re evangelists within their firms and they bring data with them each step of the way.”

I became a librarian because I was interested in books not bytes and big data. But I saw the power of data emerge from the most primitive dial-technology — a Texas instruments dumb terminal with an acoustic coupler attached to a telephone handset. Early systems called Dialog and  Orbit could deliver fascinating data which exposed patterns of human activity or industrial insights.

I have been a vocal evangelist of the place data in legal practice for almost 30 years but it is only the past few years that a clear business case and the right tools emerged  to help lawyers gain actionable data insights for both the business and practice of law. Lawyers continued to shun online research in favor of  the slower and less current information in digests and reporters. At some point the use of analytics will move from offering  a competitive advantage to being an ethical imperative.

Learn more about Data Driven Lawyer Initiatives:

Law 360 will be running a series of articles in which the award winners are interviewed. In addition, Lex Machina and Law360 will host a live webcast  with all of the data driven lawyer recipients on Dec. 12.

 

 

Over the past decade as LexisNexis snapped up one innovative product after another, I repeatedly begged Lexis executives to weave these new assets into the LexisAdvance research platform. The good news is that they are moving ahead with integrating Ravel content in Lexis Advance. The bad news is that the spunky and disruptive Ravel brand will recede into the past as it is reborn as  Context within the Lexis Advance platform.

When I first reviewed Ravel Law, I marveled at the boldness of the Founders’ vision. Nic Reed and Daniel Lewis graduated from Stanford Law School and then hooked up with some folks at the Stanford Design School with the goal of reinventing the legal research process. My original post Ravel Law: Legal Research Radically Reimagined included this observation: “For those of us who learned research using taxonomical hierarchies, viewing research results on Ravel is like landing in an alternate universe. Interpreting  Ravel search results requires the learning a “visual language” of a new research landscape.”  The bold vision remains, but  the brand we knew as Ravel is Continue Reading LexisNexis Relaunches Ravel Law as Context: Analytics on Judges and Expert Witnesses With Daubert Scorecard

Bloomberg Law has added attorney analytics to their suite of litigation analytics which has included  analytics for companies, law firms and judges. Product Manager, David Kleiman provided me with a demo and responded to my questions. As law firms  embrace analytics for business intelligence, pitches and litigation strategy it is more important than ever for have a clear understanding of the parameters of all analytics. How complicated that it be – as you will see below – there are lots of issues which impact the results delivered by every analytics product.

What attorneys are covered?

The attorney analytics includes analytics for 100,000 attorneys from  775 law firms. The analytics in Bloomberg  Law  are limited to cases involving  the representation of companies in federal courts from January 1 2007 to the present. Attorney names are extracted from docket sheets. There is a “type ahead” feature when typing a lawyer name a list Continue Reading Bloomberg Law Adds Attorney Litigation Analytics

Today Thomson Reuters issued a press release announcing that more than 1,500 organizations have upgraded from Westlaw to Westlaw Edge. I guess you can’t begrudge Thomson Reuters trying to change the subject.  On Tuesday I wrote about the re-organization that Has led to the layoff of countless seasoned executives, managers and staff across the organization.

I wish today’s press release provided more demographics about the 1,500 customers. It is not clear how that breaks down among government, corporate and law firm customers. Only two ALM 100 firms are named in the press release. There could be other ALM 100 firms which have a policy not to allow the firm’s name to be used in marketing materials.

I  wrote about the significant new features offered in Westlaw Edge when it was released in July of this year. This new platform represents Thomson Reuters largest investment in Artificial Intelligence since 2010.  Westlaw Edge  features include advanced natural language answers,  a completely new analytics product, an innovative new citation feature “Citation Risk Analyzer” and “Statutes Compare.”

New Features The press release also highlights that since the launch of Westlaw Edge in July Thompson Reuters has continued adding new content and functionality. New features Continue Reading Changing the Subject from Layoffs – Thomson Reuters Celebrates 1,500 Westlaw Edge Subscribers – Still Faces Market Resistance and The Challenge of ROI.

If you have any friends at Thomson Reuters Legal – it is time to reach out and reconnect. Over the past few weeks multiple sources have confirmed  to me that executives, managers and staff across TR have been “invited to find new employers.”  Some of the people impacted have been fixtures in the legal publishing and tech industry for Continue Reading Widespread Layoffs at Thomson Reuters Legal – Office Closings to Follow