It does seem as if there was an unusual number of “iconic achievers” passing on — whether you liked them or not — Justice Scalia, Fidel Castro, Nancy Regan, Mohammed Ali… all left their mark. I was particularly saddened by the deaths of … a favorite author- Pat Conroy; a favorite singer/composer – Leonard Cohen; a favorite actor – Alan Rickman; and shocked by the sudden passing of the mother-daughter “odd couple” Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. I digress…
Here are the issues that have bubbled to the top as I have reflected on the legal publishing industry and the issues impacting legal information professionals in 2016.
In My Humble Opinion…..
The Most Over-hyped Legal News Headline: “Robot Lawyers.” oh pul-ese! I routinely talk to legal start-ups and it has become abundantly clear that they could generate months of hyperbolic news copy if they were marketing nail clippers for lawyers…all they have to do is add the word “robot” to their marketing materials.
The Most under-hyped Feature Award – “Westlaw Answers” is really quite cool and yet not only did TR fail produce a “robot lawyer” press release, they have barely told their customers that it exits. It is buried on a Recent Enhancements page.
The Oops Award – In April Thomson Reuters alerted Westlaw subscribers to “non material” caselaw errors in over 500 cases, caused by a software glitch.
The It’s About Time Award – Goes to the US Congress for finally appointing a female to be the Librarian of Congress: Carla Hayden. Extra points because the is an actual MLS credentialed librarian, who had worked in public libraries before being appointed to lead the world’s greatest library.
The One More Jewel in the Crown Award – Goes to Lexis for continuing its acquisition strategy by adding yet another high quality product — Intelligize to it’s portfolio of premium content.
The “I Saw Brexit Coming Award” is shared by Wolters Kluwer for publishing the first Brexit treatise and MLex for the first Brexit Newsletter.
The “Whoopee Cushion” Award – Is shared by law firms which outsourced knowledge strategy and the consultants who sold them this lame “library solution.” Process can be outsourced, but effective strategic planning for knowledge services requires a seat at the management table. Shame on the consultant-purveyors of this short-sighted, self-serving strategy and shame on those law firms who bought it.
Don’t Mess with Librarians Award – I can’t help but think that he was just having a bad day. But David Perla’s “Gatekeeper” post on the Above the Law website launched a tweet storm of outrage. The post appeared to be an attack on the key decision makers in law firm knowledge strategy and procurement. Maybe there is no connection but….shortly after the post blew up the blogosphere, Scott Mozarsky replaced Perla as President of Bloomberg Legal Division.
Show Them the Money Award – AALL releases a Digital White Paper “Defining ROI: Law Library Best Practices” offering practical tools for measuring and defining the ROI of law libraries written by leading information professionals. (Disclosure – I was an editor of this publication)
The Internet Legal Research Reality Check Award– Sarah Glassmeyer for her thorough examination of the risks, quality and content limitations of state legal materials on the open web in her 50 State “census.”
Knowing When to Move On Award – goes to American Lawyer Media which I hope will take my advice to have published it’s last Annual Law Library Survey in 2016 and replace it in 2017 with a forward looking survey focused on Law Firm Knowledge Services and Strategy.
We are Still Not For Sale Award – Goes to Hein Online for remaining an independent company which produces high value, reasonably priced resources for the legal community.
The Half a Loaf is Better Than No Loaf Award goes to AALL President Keith Ann Stiverson and the AALL Board for salvaging the “rebranding initiative” when the members rejected the “Association for Legal Information” name change. The Board quickly moved to adopt an updated logo: AALL/Your Legal Knowledge Network.
If any of you want to submit your own awards the for outstanding/outrageous highlights and lowlights of 2016 I will add them to the list – with or without attribution.
Reader Contributed Awards:
about the OMG, Sock-It-To-You Award to Bloomberg Law for penalizing
firms with modest Bloomberg Law seat license numbers, doubling costs for
librarian access, and pumping up the cost of their legacy-to-practice
center -Brenna Louzin