In less than six months, two of the remaining independent and reasonably priced legal research providers Fastcase and Casetext have been acquired or are in the process of being acquired.

Fastcase, which itself had acquired the analytics platform Docket Alarm has been absorbed into vLex, an interesting and innovative European start-up, which has been making some inroads into the US legal market over the past decade. Since its launch in 1999, Fastcase had acquired the largest subscriber base in the US legal market.  The combined vLex /Fastcase company will also have the world’s largest law firm subscriber base and resources containing more than one billion legal documents from more than 100 countries.

Casetext, which brought its own Silicon Valley brand of visionary innovation to legal research is in the process of being acquired by Thomson Reuters for the spectacular sum of $650 million.

Mergers are not new to the legal/publishing technology space. Since law librarians have been navigating these mergers for decades, I was inspired to survey, collect and analyze the insights of my librarian and knowledge management colleagues.

From the survey responses, I have extracted both data and anecdotes which can provide some insights and cautionary warnings for both company executives and customers.

The Survey

I gave information professionals the opportunity to provide feedback on legal information mergers in a survey which was open from July 11th to July 18th. Eighty-six law librarians/knowledge professionals responded to an open-ended question asking them to name mergers with successful outcomes. Although the majority were in private firms (84%), there were also responses from academic (10%) and government law librarians (6%).

Librarians have long memories, and I was delighted to be reminded of dozens of deals. Over 40 company and product acquisitions both large and small covering the past 30 years were noted by the respondents. However, the most recent digital resource acquisitions dominated the survey responses. Read the full post on Legal TechHub.