In a prior post I reported survey results on products to be purchased in 2020 and 2021… which included a fairly broad spectrum of products. Major vendors Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg and Wolters Kluwer were evenly represented at the top of the list. There were dozens of additional products identified by one or two responders. Today I am reporting on responses to the survey results on cancellations which presents a dramatic contrast. One product stood alone as the most likely to be cancelled. That product is Lex
Machina. Two responders mentioned a specific reason – they had acquired Westlaw Edge which includes analytics. Lex Machina although started as a pro bono project at Stamford was a pioneering product which introduced many lawyers and librarians to the notion of litigation analytics. It was the first litigation analytics product that I covered in a blogpost back in 2014.
Westlaw Edge Vs. Lex Machina –Is Pretty good is good enough? This prompts me to digress on the issue of quality vs quantity in analytics. Westlaw and Lexis have pursued different strategies in developing litigation analytics products. Lex Machina is the most sophisticated legal analytics product on the market today. LexisNexis is taking a careful and long term approach to adding state court analytics. They are analyzing and rebuilding a custom version of Lex Machina for each new court system. The goal is to maintain a consistent look and feel across the Lex Machina platform while offering as many of the standard Lex Machina metrics and features as are available in the federal product. Litigation analytics has become an increasingly competitive market space. Competition to dominate state analytics is a race of “space shot” intensity. Litigation analytics offer the promise of insights on judges, courts and law firms in a variety of contexts including gaining competitive advantage in pitches, developing a litigation strategy and managing client expectations.
Westlaw took what might be called a “quick and dirty” approach to analytics but they do cover all 50 states. Westlaw Edge offers a comparatively limited number of metrics and reports. These comparative shortcomings do not appear to be a deal breaker for an increasing number of firms. However when a new generation of lawyers arrives from law school with a more sophisticated understanding of analytics they may start to raise concerns about the “insights gap” between the two products. And of course, analytics products are not static so both products will continue to evolve.
Is Lexis part of problem? Lexis itself may be undermining Lex Machina’s market position.
- Market confusion. Lexis may be generating some “marketplace confusion” by offering analytics within Lexis + while still promoting Lex Machina as a stand alone product. Lexis+ which launched in 2020 is the most advanced Lexis research platform. Lexis + includes analytics from the Lexis Context Product (formerly Ravel Law). Everyone is on a tear to eliminate as much redundancy in their budgets as possible.
- Is Product Tying Having an Impact? Lexis strategy of tying their various products to the Lexis research platform may also be creating an incentive for cancelling Lex Machina. Lexis has been aggressively expanding the suite of products which can not be purchased as a stand alone product. Products which are reportedly subject to “tying” include Law360, Intelligize and even Matthew Bender print treatises. Why take the chance of having another product that limits the firms ability to purchase only the products they need and want?
- High Cost vs Lower Cost Competitors. Westlaw Edge isn’t the only competitor. Lex Machina is also facing some strong competition from a number of smaller players who are all offering analytics at a much lower cost. Docket Navigator is a strong competitor in Lex Machina’s historic IP sweet spot. Gavelytcs, Trellis, Docket Alarm/Judicata and Unicourt are all offering state court analytics at a much lower cost that either Lexis or Westlaw.
Corporate Products to be cancelled. There are lots of redundant capabilities in corporate products so it is no surprise to see belt tightening in this area. Products on the cutting block include: Boardex ,Bureau van Dijk, Factset, Mergermarket and Venture Capital Journal.
KM and Workflow related products considered for cancellation include both new and old market players including TR Drafting Assistant, West KM, Blue Jay Legal, Practical Law and Lexis Casemap
IP products There was a pretty long list of IP products that firms reported in their purchasing plans. Only two responders mentioned one IP product each as candidates for cancellation: Clarivate and Total patent.
General research products Casetext, Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg, Wolters Kluwer were all noted as receiving budget scrutiny.
Competitive Intelligence/News products Manzama, Law360 are also on the cutting block.
Other Cancellation Candidates include Refinitive Loan connector and Trellis.
Print was an obvious cancellation candidate noted by several responders.
Correction: Original post stated that Westlaw Edge does not include analytics for damages. Damages were added to Westlaw Edge in November 2020.