Thomson Reuters recently released  the long awaited Westlaw Analytics tool that
will ultimately   now available to any subscriber law
firm of  30+ attorneys.  In several weeks they will
be releasing a new eLibrary platform which enables  subscribers to create and control
“non-billable zones.” One product should enable firms to improve cost recovery
and the other will help firms abandon or limit cost recovery for any  WestlawNext content they designate. This
“odd couple” of developments 
are in fact complimentary and both are 
powerful tools for helping firms align 
with “the new normal.” One provides “big data” insights
into  utilization of a major cost center,
the other  provides a platform for
expanding unfettered access to  custom
digital libraries… while also accelerating the migration of firms away from hardcopy
replace the Quickview reporting product. Westlaw Analytics

Drumroll Please! Introducing Westlaw Analytics  The Release of  Westlaw Analytics merits a drumroll if not
fireworks. Westlaw Analytics is light years beyond the old workhorse Quickview
which  could  generate a 
file of billable and non-billable usage by client, by use, by date. and
the retail, discounted or custom defined rates. 
But Quickview  was short on
actionable details or customizable and actionable insights. Non only is Westlaw
Analytics more flexible and customizable than Quickview, but it provides
powerful graphical views of the firms research activities. 

The Top 6 Things That Just Got Easier 

the ” most dreaded call from a partner” asking  “How did an associate rack up that
bill?”  Westlaw Analytics will finally
enable a Library Director  to answer that
question. WA allows you to identify the user, content accessed, search queries,
documents printed  time spent and provide
a meaningful explanation.


Billing Investigation

2. PROACTIVELY MANAGE USE – You can  now set up triggers which will alert you when
costs by user or client exceed a custom defined threshold. 

Trend Analysis
3. TRAINING Identify the 
associates who need training before they ruin their careers by  accidentally racking up indefensible changes.
Conduct an intervention on a bad researcher so they don’t become truly terrible

offices and practice group are the heaviest users. Where is the heaviest use of
excluded content?. Identify offices or practices that are underutilizing the
system. Now you can easily run  reports
showing the trends by office and practice group.

5. ALERT THE STAKEHOLDERS – Billing partners or practice
group managers can receive alerts advising them of the cost of  research 
to date on a client or for a practice group. 

of new features that can be used to customize the collection of data about
lawyers and clients before any research is conducted. You can designated
certain number as nob-chargeable, you can associate lawyers with practice
groups. You can control the info lawyers have to give in order to log into


 There is One
  Currently, research session costs
are  computed in either retail rates or
custom defined rates. Firms that use variable or fixed discounts to compute the
client costs will have to wait for that functionality. However  in the meantime they can  take the retail cost and compute the discount
on your own.

 According to Kris Gunderson ,Director, Business Operations
& Integration. “We have had great feedback from our beta users, and I am
very pleased with the foundation that is built and the possibilities this
provides in the future, particularly as we continue to integrate our reporting
experience with  accounting  systems such as Elite.”  

Even with the  limitation outlined above, this product is light years beyond the old Quickview platform and offers a “big data” view of a sprawling universe of client charges,  price points and user  behaviour. Everyone who has to manage and explain Westlaw spending is
about to look a lot smarter. Embrace the “big data!”

Welcome to the Non-Billable Zone

 One of the most positive developments to follow  the introduction of  ”Flat fee billing” in the 1990’s  was the creation of  CUIs “custom user interfaces.” The first CUI
was the simple “find and print” 
function. CUI’s were often IP authenticated to allow lawyers to have
unlimited access to certain kinds of content without charging a client. An IP authenticated “Find
and print”  CUI  function allows a user to retrieve any
document using  any citation recognized
by Westlaw (cases, statutes, regs, law reviews, etc) . Over the years, customer
defined CUIs were developed for a variety of subsets of data, digital
treatises, dockets, SEC filings. Different law firms had different philosophies
regarding the type of content should be provided without a “chargeback” to
a client or what kind of CUI would serve their needs.


IT’S A SUNK COST — USE IT! While many firms have signed
flat fee contracts, they often fail to embrace the logical extension of the
contract– it’s a sunk cost and a fixed cost  so the more you use it the higher your ROI. Flat fee contacts provide an opportunity to create benefits for
clients and the firm. Yet firms have often failed to develop a clear strategy to maximize the benefit of these contracts. They continue encouraging lawyers to avoid online research and to use it only after less effiicient strategies have failed.Since a lawyers time is not free there is a cost for encouraging inefficiency that is often overlooked.

Years ago after signing a “flat fee”
contract at an  Amlaw 100 firm, colleague  Ron Friedmann and I conducted a study to
determine which was cheaper: printing cases from Westlaw or using
paralegals to pull the reporters and
copy the cases? The study determined that printing cases from Westlaw  was hands down a cost saver for both the
client and the firm. Exploiting the flat fee contract can result
in the reduction of spending on treatises, codes and reporters. Eliminating
print also which results in reduction of the cost of space and staff time for
processing materials  ( check in, cataloging ,circulating, shelving).

 Embracing the Future In Historical context, the original West Publishing Company
(now owned by Thomson Reuters)  fumbled
their entry into the digital world by trying to protect print revenue. The
original Westlaw  included  only the headnotes describing the points of
law and not the full text of the opinions. You had to go to the print reporter
to read the case. This ambivalence allowed Lexis then owned by industrial giant
Mead Paper Company  to clobber West the
reigning king of legal publishing. It is clear that Thomson Reuters sees the
changing  landscape in the legal market and is making no pretense of protecting print. They are moving from content to process and are
clearly encouraging subscribers to migrate from print to digital by
facilitating the creation of custom eLibraries. Promoting enhanced functionality in eLibraries may also signal a step back from more investment in the Proview eBook platform.

Enter eLibraries Next Month Westlaw Will be giving the administrators of  every WestlawNext account the ability to
create and manage their own “non-billable” zones. And the tools are easy to
use! Here’s what the eLibrary widgets will offer: 
The law firm will control the creation,  editing and management of  the eLibrary experience.

They require no significant technical investment

Users get the enhanced experience provided by
WestlawNext, including Global Search, Foldering, Highlighting and Notes

Access can be linked to firm intranet or portal
environment as with traditional eLibraries.

New functionality allows users to toggle
directly to eLibrary pages within any Westlaw session.

Usage of eLibraries can be tied back to
individual users to enhance analytics.

UI coloring and messaging clearly signal when
they are entering or leaving an eLibrary or non-billable zone. No surprises!

Firms make their own decision on using  client/matter to associate with usage.

Admins may share pages with entire firm or
subsets of users (such as practice groups).

Firms can create an unlimited discreet pages.

Pages may include key functions or tools, such
as KeyCite or Find.

 What does this mean for WL? What does this mean for

A year ago TR announced that they were  no longer in the content business. Then then they acquired the Practical Law Company workflow platform. They kicked off this year with the announcement that they had appointed the first
female President of TR Legal, Susan Taylor Martin. A recent  Law Technology News interview  contains this quote from Martin commenting on the disrupted legal market: “There’s
tremendous opportunity, but to see that, you’ve got to give up an attachment to
something that’s been very good to you in the past,” That something may just be
the print publications.