Legal Publishing Industry

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

We were all blindsided as 2020 unfolded, yet the momentum of technological change and innovation assured a steady stream of new products. I have identified five trends, which I have divided into three categories: unforeseeable, continuing and surprising.

The trends I believe are worth noting — Unforeseeable: COVID-19 impacts; Predicable: state court analytics and innovative workflow tools; Surprising: legal news re-emerges as a competitive focus among major legal publishers and tech marketplaces emerge.

Unforeseeable: COVID-Related Trends

COVID alone triggered four subtrends:

  • The emergence of local law and ephemeral publications. Major legal vendors were no more prepared to track county level health department issuances and Governors’ executive orders than the average law firm. To make things worse these “documents” were issued in a myriad of social media formats, texts, tweets, Facebook pages … . What’s a law firm to do?
  • Librarians and KM professionals stepped into the vacuum and established protocols for locating and harnessing the untidy universe of COVID-19 ephemera.
  • Law firms became publishers of original COVID-19 resources (leveraging the local documents harnessed by librarians).
  • Legal publishers turned out an unprecedented number of free legal resources covering COVID-19 issues. I covered this trend in an earlier ATL post.

Continuing Trends: State Court Analytics And Workflow Tools

Workflow Tools

Continue Reading 5 (Unforeseeable, Predicable, And Surprising) Legal Tech Trends In 2020

Fastcase  acquisition of Judicata  will bring a new era of innovation and advanced legal reasoning technologies such as, citation analysis, legal analytics and brief analysis to Fastcase 8 and Docket Alarm.

Several years ago I wrote a post  about Judicata, a small California start up which described its mission as “as mapping the legal genome.”   They used their analytics and  citation analysis tool to grade law firm briefs. How that for chutzpah?. Judicata knows how to stretch the legal research and analysis envelope.

Fastcase today announced the acquisition of Judicata technology assets “with the mission of extending Judicata’s California research and analytics tools nationwide in the Fastcase platform.”

Judicata founder, Itai Guriari  worked at Jones Day then at Google working on Google Scholar before founding Judicata in 2012 with Adam Han and Blake Masters. The team spent the last decade building out “industry-leading research analytics and workflow tools for California law.” Chief technology officer Ben Pedrick  and the Judicata team will join Fastcase to scale those solutions nationwide. Gurari  will be VP of Research and Development and lead  Fastcase labs.

I asked Fastcase CEO Ed Walters to provide some insights into the strategy behind this acquisition.  “Judicata has
Continue Reading Fastcase Acquires the Judicata “Legal Genome” – Watch Out For Fastcase 8!

Today Feit Consulting is releasing a new report on the state of market for major legal  vendors: Thomson Reuters. LexisNexis, Bloomberg Law and Wolters Kluwer. I hesitate to even refer to the market as the legal research market because that completely ignores the dramatic integration of workflow, drafting, brief analysis and analytics into the 21st century progeny of the foundational case law research systems.The 2020 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey  was conducted between June and August 2020 and is targeted at law firms with 50+ attorneys. There were 104 responses: 26%(<100 attorneys), 56% (100-499 attorneys) and 20% >500 attorneys.The  The report provides context by comparing results to the 2018 survey results. These results will be include in an upcoming book Optimizing Legal Information Pricing which will be published this fall.

The one criticism I have of the report is that the report collects data on the importance of various products by vendor. Westlaw Edge is listed but not the prior Westlaw platform – which many respondents appear to still have. Since the time when the study was conducted Lexis has announced it’s new platform Lexis+ which will surely be a platform analysed in the next version of the study.Although Westlaw enjoys the greatest market share they are declining in customer satisfaction. Bloomberg Law and Wolters Kluwer are stand outs in improving customer satisfaction with 35% and 15%  improvements respectively.
 This is a must read for librarians, knowledge managers and C-Suite executives in law firms. Under the chart there is a link where you can click through and see customer comments.The report examines the following issues:


Continue Reading Read It and Weep: Feit Report – Which Major Legal Research Vendor is Plummeting in the Market?