Shake Out in Low Cost
Legal Research

this week, Loislaw subscribers began receiving letters  from Wolters Kluwer advising them that their
caselaw research system has been sold to Fastcase. Loislaw will sunset on
November 30, 2015. Loislaw subscribers will be transitioned to the Fastcase
platform at a price which is equal to or lower than their current cost. In
addition, Loislaw subscribers will continue to have access to over 140 Aspen
treatises covering a wide range of practice areas including corporate law,
intellectual property, family law, real estate, technology.

Loislaw subscribers and Loislaw competitors were surprised by the announcement. I am wondering
if this signals some larger trends in the market.

Wolters Kluwer
Refocusing on the Complex Regulatory Market

Sauer , Executive Director Strategic Communications Legal & Regulatory
Solutions U.S. at  Wolters Kluwer offered
this comment on the sale of Loislaw. 
“  In the continued evolution of
Law & Business, we feel the time is right to further focus our investments
in areas  providing the highly valued  expert interpretations,
insight, guidance, and software solutions that will enable customers to enhance
their decision quality, drive their workflows, and inform confident outcomes.”

never quite got the Wolters Kluwer acquisition of Loislaw. Loislaw was never
really integrated into their core digital product lines. Wolters Kluwer has
always offered sophisticated, high quality content for complex regulatory
practices such as tax, securities and antitrust. However they have struggled to
find the optimal digital platform. Over the years they have moved their  practice libraries from  looseleaf print, to cd-rom, to online
databases,  and then to the much maligned
Intelliconnect platform. In 2012 they  turned a corner with the release of the
RBSource platform which included digital version of the Securities Act Handbook
enhanced with workflow tools. Then in 2013 they began offering web enabled
topical newsletters and earlier this year they launched the long awaited
Cheetah platform to replace Intelliconnect. Cheetah  which offers many new features is also  flexible, intuitive and device agnostic.  In other words, Wolters Kluwer has a
level  of security in their new digital
platform. Maybe Loislaw was a backup platform kept in reserve  as an alternate technology platform if
Cheetah failed to satisfy the market. Since there is no risk of the regulatory environment becoming less complex, Wolters Kluwer’s decision to  focus on products which leverage their core strenghs and back away from the commoditized caselaw market makes sense.

Is Fastcase Shaping
Up to Be the Real Alternative to Lexis
and Westlaw?

 “low cost” research systems offer basic
primary law research. All include federal caselaw and  others offer some coverage of state caselaw and statutes..
Fastcase has distinguished itself from the “lower cost” pack by launching with a powerful
search engine,  unique visualization features and interactive timelines. They
have not only continued to add  new
research features such as the “bad law bot,” but they are bulking up their
platform through both strategic alliances and acquisitions. In 2014 Fastcase
began offering access to HeinOnline law review articles. Then they purchased
the Toplaw drafting software Reed Elsevier. This week they  purchased Loislaw.
They don’t need the caselaw from Loislaw, so were the Aspen treatises the real selling point?
Fastcase states that their license for the Aspen treatises will apply only to
legacy Loislaw subscribers. No one has ruled out the possibility of a future
expansion of the Aspen titles to all Fastcase subscribers. The addition of both
HeinOnline and 140 major legal treatises from Aspen  takes Fastcase out of the lower tier market
and puts it in the unique market position. I believe they stand alone in offering caselaw enhanced with innovative technology, mobile apps, a growing library of analytical materials and drafting
tools at a fixed low price point. 

 Ed Walters CEO of Fastcase  describes Fastcase  as being “in it for the long haul. There is
less and less of a reason to pay a premium for caselaw research everyday. We
offer some of the best research tools supporting some of the best research

Breaking Away—The Future
Belongs to the Innovators

has 800,000 subscribers and has not raised their prices since their launch.  Yet they continue to built out a product which
is growing more and like   Lexis and Westlaw and looking  less like its competitors in the “low cost” market. Lexis and Westlaw exploded their content
and their pricing relentlessly in the decades before the 2007 crash. Annual
prices escalated at a time when online research costs were easily passed on to
clients. Although cost recovery for online research has plummeted, neither
Westlaw nor Lexis has retreated from annual price escalations. Bloomberg
Law  entered the market at time when law
firms were hungry for a lower cost alternative, but they entered the market at
a price point close to Lexis and Westlaw. BloombergBNA definitely offers
quality and innovation, but I believe they overshot the mark on pricing, I believe that pricing has been the major factor slowing the adoption of BloombergBNA by law firms. Is Fastcase slowy growing  into  a unique market tier  that BloombergBNA  could have occupied?

Fastcase Is Not
Completely Alone

interesting start-up which has moved beyond caselaw is Ravel Law. Daniel Lewis,
President of Ravel provided his take on the research market. ” Lawyers are increasingly on a level playing field when it
comes to access to case law. Tools can no longer be primarily defined by what
content they provide. Now we’re entering an era of asymmetric analytics, in
which lawyers who leverage new tools to sift through vast amounts of
information will have a distinct competitive advantage.  Ravel is not focused on selling access to case
law,  we’re focused on providing Judge
Analytics and our other interfaces and analytics that help lawyers quickly find
new, unique value from case law.”


Letter to Loislaw Subscribers:

Dear Loislaw Customer

We are reaching out to inform
you that Wolters Kluwer Law & Business will sunset its Loislaw product
effective November 30, 2015.  Wolters Kluwer Law & Business has valued
greatly the opportunity to serve you, and supporting your continued success is
important to us.  To help ensure your primary research needs can continue
to be met, we are collaborating with Fastcase so they can offer comparable
subscription plans on the Fastcase platform, including Loislaw treatise
libraries, at the same or lower prices as your current Loislaw subscription.

Information about your

Wolters Kluwer will maintain
Loislaw through November 30, 2015, at which time Fastcase will own and operate
the Loislaw brand. Please continue to contact Wolters Kluwer with any questions
or support needs through this period. During this time, Wolters Kluwer will send
further communication regarding the end of your existing Loislaw
contract.  If you have any questions, please call 877-471-5632 or email


During this transition,
Fastcase will offer special Loislaw subscriptions, offering nationwide legal
research, as well as the Loislaw treatise libraries under special license with
Wolters Kluwer, all on the Fastcase legal research service.  Fastcase has
created grandfathered pricing plans that allow you to continue your current
Loislaw library subscriptions, including Loislaw treatise libraries, at the
same subscription prices.  “Loislaw on Fastcase” combines the
comprehensive Loislaw treatise libraries you know and love, with great Fastcase
features like the Interactive Timeline data visualization tool,
industry-leading mobile apps, Bad Law Bot, and integrations with HeinOnline and


Other Wolters Kluwer

Your other Wolters Kluwer product
subscriptions will not be affected. You can continue to count on Wolters Kluwer
to provide you with products and solutions that leverage the expert
interpretations, insight and guidance that you value and for which we are known
and respected.


Loislaw and Fastcase have
worked collaboratively to provide a solution that affords the opportunity to
meet your needs, and we are working to support a smooth transition for
customers who wish take advantage of the Loislaw treatise libraries on the
Fastcase platform. You will receive more information from Wolters Kluwer and
Fastcase in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, to find out more about how
to make the transition to Loislaw libraries on Fastcase, please visit

 We believe this collaboration
is the right one for our customers, with Fastcase continuing to invest in and
enhance its platform to support those research needs formerly fulfilled through



Ed Walters

President and
CEO, Fastcase

Wolters Kluwer Law &