Legal Publishing Industry

Legal Tech Mergers continue despite the uncertain economy. The recent acquisitions of Fastcase and Casetext inspired me to “take the temperature” of legal information marketplace. Thomson Reuters acquisition of Casetext for the breathtaking $650M was completed on August 17, 2023

The Survey I gave information professionals the opportunity to provide feedback on legal information mergers

Early in my career, one of the hallmarks of customer service excellence was the prevalence of periodic “business reviews.”  Business reviews are formal meetings that function as a “checkup” on vendor and contract performance. For several decades these reviews were offered by most large vendors throughout the course of a contract to assess past performance

There is no question that the most exciting place at AALL is the Exhibit Hall. Connect with old friends, schmooze with vendors, learn about exciting new features and products. 2022 is the first live, post pandemic AALL conference. I am anticipating that a highly energized crowd will be streaming through the exhibit hall. I

In the 4 decades since its launch, Westlaw created the “gold standard” of research support with a cadre of reference attorneys who were available any time a lawyer was working – that is, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thomson Reuters executives are apparently ready to “pass the baton” to one of their competitors. Tonight for the first time in almost four decades, attorneys who call the Westlaw Reference Attorney helpline after 8 PM CST will presumably be greeted with a recording telling them to call back tomorrow.

On December 10th, Law Library Directors and Knowledge Managers around the country received this startling announcement: “Currently, Reference Attorneys provide 24/7 research support to subscribers of Westlaw Edge, Westlaw Classic, Practical Law, CLEAR, and over 30 other Thomson Reuters products.  Beginning January 3, 2022, the Reference Attorney Service will move to a core business hours model and will be available Monday through Friday, 7am -8 pm Central for both chats and calls.”

Spectacularly Out of Step with Reality. Let’s think about this – the rest of the world has shifted away from “core business hours” and Thomson Reuters has devised a 1980’s style customer support model.  How many recent trends are screaming contrary indicators: the growth of global law firms, the demand for work-life balance and flexible schedules, pervasive mobility, not to mention a little thing called COVID-19 which has up-ended the time-space continuum of work. What do time zones even mean in a connected post-pandemic world?

On December 19th I interviewed Jonathan Meyer, Director, Reference Attorneys at Thomson Reuters. I spent more than 30 minutes on the phone with Meyer trying to understand why there was no alternative to ending 24X7 support. After all, every law firm which entered into a long term Westlaw contract entered that agreement with the expectation that users of the premium priced product would continue
Continue Reading Thomson Reuters Signals to Lawyers “You’re On Your Own” – Ends Evening and Weekend Customer Support Today

Respond to the  2020-21 What’s Hot and What’s Not Survey here. Although the world was shut down by the pandemic, our friends in legal tech continued their pursuit of innovation and market share.  Most of us had a sense of whiplash and disbelief when the world came to a virtual halt in March 2020. Law librarians who had built digital libraries over the years offered their attorneys a fairly seamless transition to their work from home desktop. Within weeks most legal publishers had developed a special COVID offering. These ranged from free alerts, to primary sources and workflow toolkits. Despite all of these efforts law librarians and knowledge managers faced a gap in COVID coverage. Almost overnight a “gray literature” emerged which major legal publishers were not
Continue Reading What’s Hot and What’s Not? Welcome to the Dewey B Strategic 2020-2021 Hits and Misses Survey

I recent months I have repeatedly highlighted the renewed energy and competition in the legal news space. I never anticipated that LexisNexis would be joining their competitors in launching a new legal news publication. After all, LexisNexis controls the majority of the US legal news content (Law360, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and a non-exclusive license for American Lawyer Media content.) And yet today  LexisNexis is launching a new publication Law360 Pulse which will focus on the “business of law” and target readers in large and mid-sized firms as well as in house counsel.

Law360 Pulse is described in the press release as a “business of Law news service” including “ “the  award-winning journalism and research of Law360 with powerful data and analytics from Lexis+ to deliver unparalleled business of law coverage, timely insights and industry intelligence that help law firms and legal departments succeed.”

The service will offer 24/7 breaking news, business of law feature articles, surveys, rankings and reports on law firm practices and trends. The first report, titled Physical Space in a Pandemic: How Law Firms are Adapting, was issued today alongside a broader series on
Continue Reading LexisNexis Launching Law360 Pulse–To Focus on the Business of Law