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American Lawyer Media (or more precisely, Steven Brill the founder of the American Lawyer) pioneered the collection of law firm data in the mid-1980’s with the publication of the first Amlaw 100 list.  For better or for worse, the  ALM rankings have driven decision making in the legal market for almost 40 years. I wrote an historical review of ALM in the last time ALM was sold to an investor consortium the Wasserstein Group in 2014 . I am happy to see that the new owners have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to leveraging ALM’s unique data assets to help law firms navigate a continuously churning legal market. Today they announced a tool that can be used in scenario planning for mergers and even lateral groups.

The new M&A intelligence tool is available to Legal Compass subscribers. The tool enables law firms to do scenario planning on the financial impact of merging with another firm in one of the ALM rankings. In addition you can input data on an un-ranked firm or a group of lateral attorneys. Then in one click you will get a series of tables and charts which illustrate the merged firms finances, profitability, diversity  and revenue rankings. Firms can also compare practice area headcount, global and national office locations showing overlap or opportunity for expansion.

Patrick Fuller,  the Vice President of ALM Legal Intelligence and Steve Kovalan, Director of Research, Legal provided me with a demo and some insights.  There are currently over 250 UK and international law firms which can be analysed using the merger tool. Fuller offered a pithy summary of the products value: “revenue is expensive” and he illustrated the potential cost to a firm of a merger that would ratchet them up the ALM rankings by only a few places.  According to Kovalan and Fuller this product will continue to expand in both content and functionality. I suggested that they add some charts with a 3 or a 5 year revenue projection. Law firms generally take a financial hit in the first year following a merger – it often takes time for the costs and conflicts to shake out (e.g. multiple offices in one city and staffing overlap) and  for clients to transition their work (in the case of lateral groups.)

This week ALM publication Legal Week published their first UK 50 list. According to Fuller, there will soon be a UK 51-100.

ALM Merger Data on Profitability

Here is the press release:

ALM Intelligence Unveils Law Firm Mergers and Acquisitions Modeling Tool

An Upgrade to the Award-Winning Legal Compass Platform

New York, NY – September 19, 2018 — ALM Intelligence’s Legal division has released new mergers and acquisitions (M&A) capabilities. The innovative feature allows Legal Compass subscribers to quickly and easily analyze potential mergers and acquisitions within the legal market.

“Law firms are always playing the ‘what-if’ game, and this tool enables firms and consultants to assess various potential combinations,” said Patrick Fuller, Vice President, Legal, ALM Intelligence. “Additionally, it becomes a core competitive intelligence tool for rivals as part of the assessment of pending law firm mergers.”

The M&A modeling tool in Legal Compass provides users with:

  • The ability to model a merger of law firms on our Am Law 200, Global 100 and UK 50 ranking lists, view their combined financial histories, and project their combined Am Law and Global ranks
  • Insight into the global footprint of the combined firms and the ability to see where overlap would reduce operating budgets and increase domestic and international coverage
  • Information on practice areas – discover which firms would bring strength in which areas
  • Diversity data on both firms, and how the combined firm would stack up on ALM’s Diversity, Gender and LGBT Scorecards

“The new Mergers and Acquisitions tool allows our users to look at the possible combination of two firms and determine whether there is real potential in a union,” said Eric Ryles, Vice President of Customer Solutions, ALM Intelligence. “By combining the financials, headcount data and global footprint of these firms we can see if it makes more sense to proceed to due diligence or to look for another target. This saves the time and effort and the expense of pursuing weak opportunities.”

ALM has long covered the ins and outs of law firm mergers, and one that recently has received significant attention is the rumored link-up between Allen & Overy and O’Melveny & Myers. With ALM Intelligence’s M&A tool, Legal Compass subscribers can evaluate the practice area capabilities, financials and worldwide reach of the combined firm. Users of the tool will instantly see that the merger would rank the combined firm 4th in the Global 100 with nearly $3 billion in gross revenue, and that the firm would have around 3,000 lawyers and a physical presence in approximately 50 cities across the globe.

To find out more about the Legal Compass M&A tool visit: https://www.alm.com/intelligence/solutions-we-provide/business-of-law-solutions/legal-compass/legal-compass-infographic/

About ALM Intelligence

ALM Intelligence, a division of ALM Media LLC, supports legal, consulting, and benefits decision-makers seeking guidance on critical business challenges. Our proprietary market reports and analysis, rating guides, prospecting tools, surveys, and rankings, inform and empower business leaders to meet business challenges with confidence. Please visit www.alm.com/intelligence for more information.

About ALM

ALM, an information and intelligence company, provides customers with critical news, data, analysis, marketing solutions and events to successfully manage the business of business. ALM serves a community of over 6 million business professionals seeking to discover, connect and compete in highly complex industries. Please visit www.alm.com for more information, and visit www.alm.com/events/ to learn about our upcoming events. Please follow us on Twitter at @ALMMedia.

 

I will be doing a presentation with colleague Stacy Pangilinan entitled: Why Are We Paying for That? Reinventing the Budget Process with Project Management and KM Principles.”

 

 

The conference has assembled a roster of well known legal KM experts. who will focus on the intersection of KM with AI, Blockchain, cybersecurity, gamification, analytics, project management and other law firm management issues.

The program will be held at New York Law School in lower Manhattan on October 23 and 24th.

Here is a link to the brochure and registration information.

 

I have lately been puzzling over the fact that LexisNexis has through acquisition and alliance, built a virtual monopoly on legal news (Law360. ALM, Wall Street Journal, MLex, Newsdesk).  Now here’s the irony their main competitors Thomson Reuters Westlaw and BloombergBNA are both  owned by news companies!  Both  companies also  publish legal news. BloombergBNA has a serious newsletter business and TR  has a variety of  newsy publications and alerts – but neither has made a dent in the Lexis dominance of what I would call “water cooler” legal news. I can’t help but wonder if Lexblog’s free news service  aggregating the expertise of the legal community might create be the disruptor. Lexblog was founded in 2004 by Kevin O’Keefe. He recently hired attorney and news veteran Bob Ambrogi as Editor in Chief of Lexblog. I plan to stay tuned. Here is the press release:

 

LexBlog Launches Global Legal News and Commentary Platform

Seattle, Wash.—Sept. 10, 2018—​LexBlog today launched a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive, global news
and commentary network, delivering timely and targeted articles from legal bloggers throughout the
world. Any legal blogger is invited to add a feed to the network, and any reader is free to access the
network, with no subscription or payment required.

Some 19,000 legal bloggers already participate in the network, which features both curated and
real-time posts from lawyers, law professors, law librarians, law students, legal-industry executives, legal
marketers, legal consultants, legal technologists and others, providing news, insights and analysis on
virtually every legal and practice topic.

Powering the network is LexBlog’s custom-built syndication engine that allows it to aggregate blog
content from any source, regardless of whether the blog is hosted by LexBlog on its own blogging
platform or externally on any other blogging platform.

Any legal blog hosted by LexBlog is automatically included, and any other legal blogger can add a blog to
the network, at no cost, by registering the blog’s RSS feed at: www.lexblog.com/join.
“At a time when other legal news sites are reducing coverage and erecting paywalls, we’re providing an
alternative that is free to use, constantly updated, and expansive in coverage,” said Kevin O’Keefe,
LexBlog’s founder and CEO. “Legal bloggers are the citizen journalists of law and our network is bringing
their work to the readers who will most benefit from it.”

The network includes:
● Featured articles curated by LexBlog editors throughout the day.
● Real-time feeds of all articles from member blogs across the world.
● Real-time feeds of targeted articles arranged by legal channels.
● RSS and email subscriptions to channel and blog updates.
● Profiles of each blogger, including the blogs to which they contribute and their recent posts.
● Profiles of the law firms and institutions that publish blogs, including all the blogs they support, all their blog authors, and the recent posts from across all their blogs.

Content published through the network receives additional exposure through publication to the
Fastcase legal research service and through bar association publishing portals.
“The wealth of original writing and reporting from legal blogs is staggering,” said Robert Ambrogi,
LexBlog’s publisher and editor-in-chief. “For legal professionals, there is immeasurable value in having
unlimited access to timely articles targeted to their practices and interests.”
Today’s launch is just the first phase of the new LexBlog.com. Future plans include greater curation of
channel pages, expanded original content and coverage, and special-focus publications. In addition,
LexBlog will license and deploy its syndication and aggregation platform to law firms, bar associations,
law schools and other organizations to power their own custom publishing.

About LexBlog
Founded in 2004 to empower lawyers to increase their visibility and accelerate their business
relationships through blogging, LexBlog today is the hub that brings together many of the best legal
minds on the web. Its platform powers more than 19,000 legal bloggers and over half of the nearly 1,000
blogs published by the 200 largest U.S. firms.

Contact:
Robert Ambrogi

Publisher and editor-in-chief Founder and CEO
bob@lexblog.com kevin@lexblog.com
(978) 317-0972 (206) 340-8204

The first email comment I received regarding yesterday’s blogpost on the  Casetext / National Legal Research Group report was from longtime legal publishing/technology veteran Richard Reiben. Reiben observed that just as the eskimos are reported to have 50 words for snow –  he suggested we need ” 50 words for AI.”  I agree, it may be time for legal tech to develop a more nuanced and precise taxonomy for the host of “smart” technologies and systems which are hidden beneath the AI Cliché. Gartner Group famously defined the “hype cycle” which diagrammed the cycle where technologies fall from “inflated expectations” to the “trough of disillusionment.” A new language of AI might accelerate our rebound to the “plateau of productivity”

The report issued by Casetext and the National Legal Research Group continued to stir controversy. At Lexis request NLRG issued a statement clarifying their involvement in the AI study. Below is the response that Lexis received from an executive at NLRG.

 NLRG Response LexisNexis  sent an inquiry about the NLRG study directly to the NLRG Group and  received  the following response to their inquiry:  “Our participation in the study primarily involved providing attorneys as participants in a study that was initially designed by Casetext.  We did not compile the results or prepare the report on the study—that was done by Casetext.”

Lexis Response Lexis also offered an official response to the study from Jeff Pfeifer, VP of Product Research at LexisNexis:

LexisNexis has reviewed the referenced ‘study’ conducted by National Legal Research Group, Inc. and we have significant concerns with the methodology and sponsored nature of the project.  

First and foremost, the relationship between National Legal Research Group, Inc. and Casetext for the work should have been disclosed. Second, the methods used are far removed from those employed by an independent lab study. In the survey in question, Casetext directly framed the research approach and methodology, including hand-picking the litigation materials the participants were to use.  

In response to an inquiry from LexisNexis, John Buckley, President of National Legal Research Group, responded: “Our participation in the study primarily involved providing attorneys as participants in a study that was initially designed by Casetext.  We did not compile the results or prepare the report on the study—that was done by Casetext.” Nowhere is this relationship disclosed in the report paper nor is the report labeled as work-product of Casetext.  

Third, NLRG participants were also ‘trained’ in the use of Casetext prior to the test. With only a brief introduction to Lexis Advance, it was presumed that all participants already had a basic familiarity with Lexis Advance and all of its AI-enabled search features.

From the limited information presented in the paper, the actual search methods used by study participants do not appear to be in line with user activity on Lexis Advance.  References to ‘Boolean’ search is not representative of results generated by machine learning-infused search on Lexis Advance.  

We are confident that users of Lexis Advance and its advanced search capabilities, Lexis Answers service, Ravel View data visualization and other AI-infused solutions are well-served by our platform.

Casetext Response to Lexis:  I recieved the following comment from Casetext CEO, Jake Heller, regarding the Lexis criticism of the report. “We stand by the study; we appreciate that Lexis wishes the results were otherwise. Attorneys can judge the benefits of CARA A.I. for themselves by signing up for a free trial of Casetext. If Lexis would like to conduct their own study, we will gladly make a free Casetext account available for the duration of the experiment. ”

The Challenge of Measuring Comparative Value On the one hand I hate to vilify Casetext for trying to measure the impact of their CARA product on research efficiency. At least they tried… most vendors never get that far. On the other hand – if you are going to undertake a study – make it transparent and appeal to the experts — not the novices who can be confused by the hype. In early 2017,  Ross commissioned  a  legal research study by Blue Hill Research  Artificial Intelligence in Legal Research which in my opinion was full of laughable inconsistencies and improbable conclusions. The “whopper” that comes to mind is that they used “expert” legal researchers who had never used the  Lexis or Westlaw research systems.  When I saw that the Casetext study focused only on Lexis and lacked comparisons with other research systems, my brain went on high alert. The Casetext co-founders Jake Heller explained that they  focused on one system in order to reduce the cost of the study. But unfortunately the narrow  focus only reduced the report’s credibility. I saw another “red flag” embedded in the last  survey question which described Casetext as an adjunct to a “primary research tool”  (Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, Fastcase.)

In other words Casetext was not actually suggesting that CARA could replace a major legal research system – although someone unfamiliar with the legal research ecosystem – might conclude that from the title and text of the report. There was no need to suggest otherwise—even by omission. CARA offers a unique research solution “brief as query” which offers real efficiencies in specific research scenarios.

 

 

Today Casetext released a study it commissioned which by attorneys at the National Legal Research Group Inc.Study is titled “The Real Impact of Using Artificial Intelligence in Legal Research.” But is that really what the study is measuring? I think not. While some of the conclusions may be valid  – I have a recoil reflex when I smell ‘the fog of hype” which sadly hovers around so many discussions of legal AI.

 

I spoke to  CARA co-founders CEO, Jake Heller and Pablo Arredondo, Chief Legal Research Officer. Throughout the conversation Heller repeatedly referred to  the Casetext CARA product offering as “contextualized research. ”  While I am not surprised that CARA can deliver research efficiencies, I am disappointed that they are promoting a report with such a misleading title. My conclusion is that this research study could benefit from some contextualizing.

AI is Not the Real Basis of Comparison. All the major online research systems from Lexis, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg and Fastcase  use some form of  a proprietary AI  system in generating search results. So the study isn’t comparing AI versus non-AI, it is comparing the outcomes from two completely different approaches to legal research using AI.

The study  is comparing what I would call “search statement” research vs “document based” research. CARA is famous for pioneering a method which they call “document as query “research. In the CARA system the algorithm examines an entire document such as brief or a complaint and extracts and weights key legal, factual, jurisdictional, procedural elements. These results can be refined and focused with additional keywords.

All of the other major research systems currently rely primarily on some form of search query whether it is a natural language question  or a Boolean query. But those results are enhanced with proprietary algorithms, citation systems and increasingly… analytics.

Does Legal Research = Caselaw Research?
One more caveat. Study seems to assume that lawyers only do caselaw research not statutory or regulatory research and that they always have a document in hand outlining the issues. Do lawyers never do research starting from scratch? In those alternate scenarios CARA would not deliver the efficiencies  described in the report.

Now that that’s out-of-the-way, here are the highlights.

Attorneys  using Casetext Cara reported  finishing their research projects on average 24.5% faster than attorneys using Lexis. The study says that the average attorney would save 132 to 210 hours of legal research per year. As I pointed out above, I suspect that savings is based on the assumption that lawyers only do case law research and they ever have to conduct original research from scratch. So the actual hours saved using CARA may be lower when adjustments are made for other types of research.

Attorneys using CARA rated the results as being on average 21% more relevant when compared to the results of using Lexis. This clearly is one of CARA‘s strengths because “their document as query” approach automatically extracts and weights factual issues  such as the types of parties,  the jurisdiction and procedural posture.

45% of the attorneys believe they would’ve missed important or critical presidents if they had only done traditional legal research.

75% of the attorneys preferred their research experience on Casetext over LexisNexis®

Keep the Studies Coming. I do applaud Casetext’s effort to quantify research outcomes in real life. For too long lawyers and  information professionals have selected systems based on price and content rather than demonstrated efficiencies. Professor Susan Nevelow Mart‘s recent studies on search algorithms have no doubt incentivized vendors to conduct controlled studies. I would like to see more studies like the Casetext/NLRG study – but they should avoid the lure of simplistic AI hype and contextualize the outcomes.

The late Senator John McCain

One of the great things about living in a place like Washington, DC is that you get to meet  members of Congress and Department  Agency Heads in the course of an ordinary day. You meet them at parties, you ride with them in elevators, they are your neighbors, they attend your church, you pass them jogging on the Mall or along the C&O Canal and they often  visit law firms. I am happy to have met not only Senator McCain, but also his remarkable 106 year old mother Roberta and his lesser known brother Joe.

Although Senator John McCain (R- Arizona) was a famously lax student, he became an avid reader and favored history and biography. Like McCain I also favor those two genres. Below is  a list of books by and about  the late Senator.

Books By John McCain

  • Hard call: great decisions and the extraordinary people who made them
  • The restless wave: good times just causes great fights and other appreciations
  • Worth fighting for: a memoir
  • Faith of my fathers: a family memoir
  • Character is destiny: inspiring stories we should all remember 
  • Why courage matters: the way to a braver life
  • Last letters home
  • World war two for kids: a history with 21 activities

 Books About  John McCain

  • John McCain and American odyssey by Robert Timberg
  • John McCain: an American hero by John Perritano
  • Six years in the Hanoi Hilton: an extraordinary story of courage in survival in Vietnam by Amy Shively hawk
  • The Nightingale Song By Mark Shields (Recommended by a reader of this blog as one of the best books he ever read.  About “courage and cowardice, honor and betrayal, suffering and death and the human spirit” interweaving stories of John McCain, James Webb, Oliver North, Robert McFarland and John Poindexter.)

Presidential Campaigns

  • John McCain: speeches from the 2008 presidential campaign trail by Forest Rees
  • Mccains promise: aboard the straight talk express with John McCain by David Foster Wallace
  • Game change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin and the race of a lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

“The McCain Papers”  Archive at ASU

In 2012,  the late Sen. John McCain donated his papers to Arizona State University. The archive, known simply as the McCain Collection, is expected to grow dramatically over the next few months. More than 800 boxes of his materials — records, photographs, correspondence — await shipment from his offices in Maryland and Washington, D.C., to ASU Library, where they will be accessible to scholars, historians and the public for generations to come.

Read interview with ASU archivist Renee James  discussing McCain archives here.

Condolences to his families and friends on the passing of a remarkable man.

Next week  the International Legal Technology Association will hold its annual meeting at the Gaylord  Hotel in National Harbor, Maryland outside of Washington, DC. Steve Lastres, Director of KM at Debevoise &  Plimpton and I will be presenting:

A Whirlwind Tour of the Hits and Hyperbole in Legal Research, Workflow, and Other Products, featuring Steven Lastres, Director of KM at Debevoise & Plimpton, and Jean O’Grady, Sr. Director of Research & Knowledge Services at DLA Piper. Session description:

There are a multitude of practice support and collaboration products and apps available with new ones arriving on what can seem like a daily basis. Many of these products tout features and functionality designed to help lawyers and law firm staff work smarter and more efficiently. Filtering out the hype can seem like an insurmountable task. A panel of industry experts will rapid fire through the latest new practice area specific applications. Within two minutes you’ll learn something about one of a minimum of thirty newer and more popular products and leave with data that can be used to help make the decision about which will work for you and, perhaps more importantly, which won’t.

Date and Time: August 22nd, 1:30 -2:30

Also of Interest Deborah Panella . Director of Library and Knowledge Services, Cravath, Swaine & Moore  and  Sharon Lee, Knowledge Management Specialist, Wilson Sonsini have put together a terrific summary of  programs of interest to Library and Knowledge Management professionals at this   link. of interest to Library & KM professionals. In addition to those listed at the link, Katherine Lowery, Baker and Hostetler  will be speaking on the Future of Blockchains at 9am on Thursday, 8/23.

American Lawyer Media just released a new report which highlights the importance of AI in providing firms with the opportunity for market advantage. The report which is entitled Law Firms Need Intelligence to Stay in the game.” provides a general overview of AI in law. The report costs $299 and can be ordered at this link.

The report was authored by Erin Hichman, Senior Analyst at ALM Intelligence. Hichman has a background in IT and consulting and the report provides an overview of artificial intelligence including, definitions, component technologies and applications.

The report highlights the risks of law firm complacency in ignoring AI  as corporate clients both embrace AI themselves and seek out alternative legal research providers which are leveraging AI solutions to provide legal work at a lower cost. It is sobering to be reminded that some firms have not begun to explore AI solutions. While others mostly large law are engaged in developing internal AI solutions. The majority of firms are in the middle exploring commercial products with an AI component.

 

Topics covered in the report include:

  • What Artificial Intelligence Is and What is Means for the Law Firm
  • Building Blocks of Artificial Intelligence: data, processes, talent, culture and technology.
  • Current Examples and Maturity of Law Firms Using Artificial Intelligence
  • Roadblocks and Steps to Take for Using Artificial Intelligence.

 AI Products for Business and Practice of Law. The report provides a useful overview of products and applications. However, In the area of legal research I did find it odd that the author overlooked all of the AI initiatives by the major legal research providers Lexis, Westlaw, Wolters Kluwer and Bloomberg Law —And highlighted only the newer market entrants such as Fastcase, Casetext, Ross and judicata. They did mention Ravel Law which was purchased by LexisNexis but overlooked the  significant new  AI enabled offerings from the major players including,  Lexis Answers , Lexis predictive legislation, WESTLAW Answers, Westlaw Edge, as well as such Wolters Kluwer’s AI offerings including their  predictive legislation and regulation platform  the Federal knowledge Center  and their  M&A clause analytics. Bloomberg Law is using AI in their Point of Law and their SEC ALJ analytics It is never possible to include all vendors but It It is a pretty significant Blind spot to miss the advances in ai in four major players.

The Roadblocks and Challenges. The report provides some interesting insights into the cultural, structural and economic challenges of building artificial intelligence in the law firm. Internal development of AI solutions will provide the most fertile opportunities for market advantage. Plug and play AI solutions can only provide a temporary market advantage since they are available to everyone on the market. Custom solutions offer the promise of transformative change and real market distinction – but the report highlights that this will inherently involve some failures. The one issue I did not see addressed in the report was the challenge of getting law firms to make a long term investment in an unproven technologies. Since law firms face relentless pressure to grow profits per partner – there will have to be a strategic financial commitment at the executive committee level to sustain investment in AI through amarket pullback where profits per partner may dip.

ALM Should Now do A Survey

Now that ALM has laid out the opportunities and obstacles related to AI adoption, I recommend that they follow up with an actual survey of law firms in order to quantify the level of AI adoption across the legal market. The AI adoption spectrum chart  is a tease and it begs to be fleshed out with data. If there is one thing that motifvates law firms – it is the shame of being outdone by their peer firm colleagues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think we all suspected that Thomson Reuters had “something big”  in the works … after all, it has been eight years since their last major launch: WestlawNext. Yesterday Thomson Reuters executives gathered in New York for a press event to announce the launch of a new AI enabled platform Westlaw Edge, a new search engine Westlaw Search Plus,  litigation analytics and an exciting new Keycite features. Over the past decade there has been  no shortage of either legal tech start-ups or AI hyperbole to fill the void while TR maintained a stony silence regarding AI and analytics. Well they did not disappoint. Thomson Reuters brought executive “star power” to the event to provide insights into the market context, the technology and of course the drivers. Presenters included Andy Martens, global head of Product and Editorial ;Mike Dahn, senior vice president, Westlaw Product Management; Jeff Arvidson, director, Product Development and Khalid Al-Kofahi, vice president,  Research.

Westlaw Edge is a new version of Westlaw which Dahn described as enabling lawyers to move through routine work much faster and helping even experienced practitioners avoid mistakes on complex matters while offering attorneys new insights they’ve never had access to before. This product represents the fruits of Thomson Reuters largest investment in AI since 2010.

It was developed by attorneys and technologists at the Thomson Reuters Center for Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing in Toronto.  The new platform and features leverage the deep taxonomies, and editorial enhancements developed by Thomson Reuters as well as the Outline of American Law which was developed by the  predecessor West Publishing  Company over 100 years ago.

At a press event today, Martens reviewed the new functionality in the context of the volatile legal market place Dahn repeatedly assured the audience that TR was not launching a “robot lawyer.” He described the launch a new desktop enabled with AI and analytics which would streamline a lawyers’ workflow and drive efficiency. Arvidson explained the analytics and Kofahi provided insights into the AI and machine learning technologies behind the new solutions.

Here are the key features which Thomson Reuters will be showcasing this coming week at the American Association of Law Libraries Conference in Baltimore.

Westlaw Edge Launch Page

Key cite overruling risk   West is introducing a new orange citation warning symbol. Up graded Keycite will offer a new, first of it’s kind “risk analysis” feature for case law which is no longer good but not explicitly overruled. Traditional citators are limited to warning lawyers about  negative case law history where there are explicit citing relationships. In other words lawyers can inadvertently repeat  the mistake of other lawyers lawyers and judges in citing to bad precedent. Machine learning was employed to analyze millions of cases to identify these  “ bad law” cases which are invisible because they have no direct negative history.

 

Westlaw Edge Risk Analytics in Keycite

Westlaw Search Plus. This is a more sophisticated search engine which surpasses Westlaw Next. It uses AI to help lawyers surface answers to questions faster. Machine learning, natural language processing, citation networks, the Thomson Reuters taxonomy of law, the key number system  and the West archive of twenty-seven million headnotes work together to optimize search results. It expands the “Westlaw Answers” feature to provide near instantaneous answers to thousands of new questions. By contrast, Westlaw Answers in Westlaw Next only provides answers for a limited number of issues: Judicially defined terms, Statues of limitation and legal elements.  There is a type ahead  feature which will allow lawyers to automatically populate a question which has been previously asked and answered. But lawyers can ask completely new questions as well.

Integrated litigation analytics. Includes data for almost 8,000,000 federal cases going back as far as 1990 but with full federal coverage starting in the year 2000. State court analytics is more limited but coverage can be determined using a US map on the Westlaw Edge platform.

Westlaw Edge Analtyics

Like it’s competitors West is offering analytics insights into judges, law firms, motions, districts as well as expert challenge analytics which can be used for pitch strategy, litiigaton strategy and venue selection.

  • Motion types will provide data on 13 Main motion types and those motion types are further subcategorized. For example, motion analytics distinguish motions granted with and without prejudice can be distinguished.  Arvidson estimated that there are 30 or 40 motion types in total. These motion types are available for all federal courts and selected state court such as New York and Cook County Illinois.Data can be displayed in the chart or a table.
  • Data can be examined by role and analyzed or compared by plaintiff or defendant.
  • Judges data will provide insights into both appeals of this judge’s decisions and appeals to a specific judge.
  • Westlaw Answers for analytics! One very unique feature is that a lawyer can use  a free text Westlaw Answers type query with the analytics. So you can type in a question about a specific judges motion grant rate and the system will automatically retrieve the analytics.This is the tightest integration between analytics and case law which I have seen, because West search plus functionality is woven into the analytics product.
  • Westlaw Answers for Analytics
  • State court analytics for the most part is limited to enabling a lawyer to determine what kind of cases have been before a judge  and what kind of experience do law firms and attorneys have in various courts or before various judges. Whenever possible they have mapped the federal and OS codes nature of suit codes so that the same terminology will work on federal and state cases.

One issue which Thomson Reuters has not yet resolved, is identifying analytics  for cases on issues such as commercial law for which there is no nature of suit code. According to Dahn they will be actively addressing that issue.

Statutes compare

West is also not the first to offer the redlining of statutes, but with this launch they are likely offering the most comprehensive redlining feature of any of its competitors. Lawyers can redline and compare different versions of federal and state codes. A code section can be analyzed year over year or 10 years apart. Sections which of been added or deleted will be graphically displayed. Wolters Kluwer has offered similar redlining for regulatory content such as tax and securities but as far as I can recall they are not offering state law redlining

Statutes Compare

Enhanced User Experience Features

  • Lawyers will no longer have to start scrolling through a case to find the right text. The new search will look within documents to bring lawyer to the responsive text. They will no longer have to tab through every keyword in the document.
  • Westlaw Search Plus will not retrieve case law that has a negative history on the issue you are searching.
  • Integrated litigation analytics
  • Westlaw answers for analytics.
  • The West helpline will augment their reference attorney team with “insights attorneys “who have special expertise on the analytics product.
  • Restore prior filters. Sometimes you just go to far. In Westlaw next when this happens and you want to go back… You can’t you have to start over. Now in the click of a button you can restore your prior search.
  • There will be more information in the results list. For example you can read more of the synopsis of a case instead of just the keywords.
  • Saved searches.  Laywers can now save searches to be run later without having to save them as Westclips which run automatically.
  • Documents will have a table of contents so a researcher will always know where they  are within the document. This will obviously prevent lawyers from Stumbling into a dissent when they think they are reading the main opinion.

A Few More FAQs
There will be a Westlaw Edge iPhone app.

It will be rolled out to law professors on November 1st and to law students on January 1, 2019.

 Is this a game changer?

It is somewhat ironic that although Westlaw was actually the first legal publisher to have a legal analytics product, they are the last to integrate analytics into their legal research platform.

The original TR analytics product Monitor Suite launched about 14 years ago, at a time which it was inconceivable that legal analytics would emerge as a core legal research competency for lawyers. The Monitor Suite was designed for research specialists such as Librarians and Business intelligence staff. The new integrated analytics platform was not built on Monitor Suite– it is a completely new product built from the ground up.  They recoded that data and added  machine learning.

So…did Thomson Reuters wait to long to launch an analytics product for lawyers? Can they catch up to Lexis which got a head start with the with purchase of two of the leading analytics platforms Ravel and Lex Machina.   Bloomberg Law a relative newcomer to the legal research  market launched their Litigation Analytics in October 2016. Even Fastcase acquired the analytics product Docket Alarm while we were all waiting to see when TR would launch an analytics product for lawyers.

Lex Machina still has the most sophisticated dashboard in the market, but they do not offer data for all federal courts on all issues. They have been rolling out new modules at a quickening pace.

Westlaw has a simpler dashboard than Lex Machina but this may work to their advantage.—it may be less intimidating to lawyers who suffer from numerophobia. Nonetheless they offer a robust variety of filters, features and displays which may allow lawyers to “ease in” to interacting with data. The natural language “ Westlaw answers” query feature even dispenses with a lawyer having to select courts or filters.

There is a lot to digest in the new Westlaw Edge product and I can’t possibly do it justice in a single post. I think TR took a big gamble waiting this long to enter the analytics market  and to turbo-charge their search engine with a suite of AI tools… but I am certain that all of these new features will cause firms to take a long hard look at Westlaw Edge. There are some exciting new features such as the “natural language query for analytics “ which are way ahead of the competition – at least for today. The one thing that is certain is that customers do benefit when vendors are competing this hard as they do in this to leapfrog over each other to offer the next “game changing solution.” Congratulations to Thomson Reuters leadership and the 200 plus programmers, scientists and attorneys on the launch of Westlaw Edge.

How do you get it?

Westlaw Next will continue to be available for subscribers who choose not to upgrade. Westlaw Edge is a complete replacement for Westlaw Next  so accounts that upgrade will simply  move to Westlaw Edge and will not find themselves navigating between to platforms in order to get all the content they need. According to the press release  several ALM 100 firms have already signed on: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Shearman  & Sterling and Lock Lord.

 

Here is the press release.

Today I learned that Joe Breda who had been the Executive Vice President, Product has replaced Scott Mozarsky as the President of Bloomberg Law.  Mozarsky has been President since November 2016, replacing David Perla.

The other big news from Bloomberg Law  is the new features and products which are being released  in advance of the American Association  of Law Libraries Conference which starts this Saturday in Baltimore.

New features including interactive practice tools, practical guidance resources and new customizable real times news.

Practical Guidance I have repeatedly noted that the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA- now part of Bloomberg Law) offered practical guidance in their Tax Management Portfolios and Corporate Practice portfolios decades before Practical Law emerged from the UK Practice Support Lawyer market.  Bloomberg law has been quietly building out and expanding their practice guidance resources. Bloomberg Law now has 30 Practical Guidance suites including 3,000 practice tools, checklists, timelines and annotated forms covering more than 200 topics including GDPR, health care, cybersecurity, corporate and commercial transactions, compliance, labor and employment. There is a new launch page which offers access to step by step guidance on specific workflows and  which promise to guide a lawyer from the beginning to the end of a  specific process such as “an  initial coin offering.”

 

According to Breda these  resources offer broader and deeper practice guidance, noting that “We have organized our practical guidance suites to be more task-centered, guided by feedback from our customers.” As efficiency and  consistency have become core client expectations, Breda Continue Reading Bloomberg Law: New Leadership. New Products: SEC Administrative Analytics and Practical Guidance  and “Hot Topic” News