Thomson Reuters  is no slouch when it comes to monitoring, but monitoring is not an area where they were regarded as cutting edge. Westlaw has developed a number of monitoring products over the years, Westclip for legal and news updates, Keycite Alert and West docket alerts. All reliable and unexciting tools that seemed a response to competition rather than the result of a burst of inspiration. TR’s recent moves suggest that the company is  now ready to put its “brain trust” and it’s money behind a serious current awareness strategy..The new alliance with CQ is but one component of a larger plan. The CQ content will be part of a new “Practitioner Insights “offering on WestlawNext.

Taking a Slice of the CI Pie. CI attempts to respond to  the nagging need of every lawyer to know “what Subscribe to PPMIS blog and newsletter for anesthesia billing and servicesjust happened, what might happen next and what does it mean for my client.”  There has been a dramatic upswing in the field of publishers and products competing to dominate the law firm CI market. The lawyer as rainmaker has created an inexhaustible need to gain actionable legal and business intelligence ahead of  both their clients and competitors.   TR already as a wide range of  legal and business content, they have shown a growing appetite for new content and new alliances.  CQ alliance follows closely upon TR announcement of an alliance with Wolters Kluwer to produce legal newsletters and the acquisition of Practical Law Company, primarily a “know how” publisher, but it also produces a steady stream of updates on practice issues for subscribers..

Current Awareness Drive in WestlawNext

Practitioner Insights TR will be offering new current awareness practice centers to Westlaw Next subscribers. These centers will contain rolling  news throughout the day. The content will combine breaking legal and business news from Reuters Legal news and Wolters Kluwer Daily news summaries with original, attorney-authored analysis of the latest legal news, and articles written by Westlaw attorney editors. Initial offerings will include Antitrust, Employment, Health, and Intellectual Property, as well as Bankruptcy and Securities.These practice center alerts will update on the WestlawNext platform but can also be set up as email alerts.

CQ Roll Call Washington Briefings
These briefings will be also be part of the Practitioner Insights offering.- The alliance with CQ will focus initially on  3 practice areas securities, banking and energy. CQ Roll Call Washington Securities Briefing, Washington Banking Briefing and Washington Energy Briefing will appear in Practitioner Insights pages on WestlawNext  later in the first quarter.

The CQ Roll Call  products were developed for the WestlawNext users but will leverage CQ Roll Call reporters and editorial staff who have a long and deep history reporting and analysis of Congressional  and Federal agency activities.

CQ Roll Call is itself the result of a series of mergers of legislative content publishers. The Economist Group purchased Roll Call in 1992 and  Roll Call’s chief competitor Congressional Quarterly in July 1999. A month before that purchase CQ had also purchased their main online  competitor Legiislate  from the Washington Post.

The Alert Center TR is also preparing to launch an major new ;Alert Center on Westlaw Next. This new alert center will integrate a wider range of content from a variety of Westlaw and TR content sets for to provide breaking news alerts on legal, business, client and industry news. It will allow the delivery of alters in a wide range of formats including, email, XML,RSS and HTML. These alerts can be delivered within the firm or sent out to clients. It appears to be more directly competing with the LexisNexis Publisher product. This alerting center will allow lawyers to control their alerts, but will also have an a firmwide administrative center where alerts can be managed at the practice group and firm level.

 The Great Legal Publishing Industry Content Grab. TR’s harvesting of new content sources may be part of a larger  “current awareness” strategy but the broader market trends also suggest that it is a general competitive strategy.for all the “big 3”  legal publishers. Dominance in the legal publishing industry appears to hinge as much on grabbing exclusive content as on enhancing platform functionality. In December there were reports that Bloomberg may be negotiations to purchase the Financial Times Bloomberg  acquired the Bureau of National Affairs in 2011. Within the last two years Lexis Nexis  purchased Law360 and Knowledge Mosaic and entered into a exclusive alliance with American Lawyer Media. It is also rumored that they have extended its exclusive relationship with Dow Jones/Factiva for several more years.

Here is a link to the Thomson Reuters  press release.