Wednesday, August 26, 2015

PLLIP Summit Keynote: Aric Press "Bullish" on Big Law

Aric Press gives PLLIP Summit Keynote (c. O'Grady)
The 2015 Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Summit  was held on July 18th in conjunction with the annual AALL meeting in Philadelphia. This year’s Summit  kicked off  with a keynote from Aric Press. Press is the former Editor-in-Chief of American Lawyer and currently a law firm consultant with Bernero & Press. His keynote was entitled “Clients, Culture and the Future.” After several years of grim forecasts for the legal profession, Press was rather “bullish” on the legal profession. He believes that clients are not entirely comfortable with the range of new legal service providers and don't understand AFAs. Big Law firms have a chance to "win" the future if they adopt "winning" strategies.

Embracing Disruption

Although many aspects of the legal profession have been evolving in the past 20 years,  law firms have not been "disrupted." Press acknowledged that the role of law librarians has been more dramatically transformed by technology than even the work of lawyers. He suggested that if a 19th Century lawyer were to walk in to one of our firms, the work and the tools of the 21st century information professional would be completely unrecognizable. Press saluted many information professionals for embracing both technology and change in an environment of extremely constricted budgets. Lawyers are still drafting documents but law librarians are performing completely new functions. 
He believes that the future is bright for the business and practice of law. Even though the era of surging growth is over,  the legal more it is worth $255 billion. Press outlined a series of questions and issues which information professionals and other legal administrators need to understand in order to help their firms successfully navigate the next decade.

Four  questions  that drive the legal marketplace: 

1. Do we know what our clients need?

2. Do we have the right mix of talent and services to meet those needs?

3. Do our clients know what we do?

4. Do we know why our clients hire us and why they don’t?

These are not only important questions for law firms but also for  information professionals and other law firm administrators. Press believes that firms which can answer “yes” to  those four questions could win the coming decade.

Four secular changes:

1.Legal spending by corporate America fell with the great recession and hasn't returned

2.The AmLaw 200 firms increased share of domestic spending 247% in 2010 and have held it

3. The Nature of partnership has changed

4. The big firm market has segmented. By size ( headcount and gross revenue), by reach and by financial success.

Some demographic factoids:

·         Since 2008 the 6 verein firms employ over 9,000 lawyer

·         The biggest Amlaw 200 firm is 7 times larger than the smallest

·         The biggest Amlaw 200 firm has 25 times the revenue of the smallest

·         10 firms account for 2/3s of the non-US lawyer headcount.

·         Since the great recession 85 firms grew, 85 firms shrank and 1 firm remained flat.

·         Equity partner are a smaller share of law firm headcount in 2013 than in 2004.

Challenges facing law firms include: 

·         The legal market is growing more complex.

·         Clients have not increased spending in inflation adjusted dollars

·         Clients have more choices and are more discerning.

·         The partner talent pool is anxious aging and not necessarily loyal. 

The 3 sources of competitive advantage

·         Best in class  services and products

·         Offering the most efficient and/or  highest value work

·         A motivated, agile workforce that focuses relentlessly on the clients.

The trends and issues outlined by Press apply to both the broad legal market but also to the internal market within legal organizations. The list of challenges facing law firms and sources of competitive advantage are good starting points for the development of a strategic plan for law firms, practice groups and administrative departments.

Aric Press can be reached

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

AALL Wants Your Votes and Ideas for the 2016 Annual Conference: Deadline is Monday August 17th

Last call for ideas for the 2016 American Association of Law Libraries Conference. AALL Members have until Monday August  17th to participate.

A Simpler Crowdsourced Process
If you have ever submitted an idea in the past -- it was a fairly complicated process requiring you the identify all aspects of the program including speakers in advance. The new "crowdsourced" platform called  Ideascale,  allows any AALL member to contribute ideas "anonymously" or with attribution. All that is required is a working title for the program and a few sentences describing what should be covered.

Or Just  Vote On Other People's Ideas. If you have no ideas  to contribute you can still vote on other ideas which have been submitted. I suggest you start with the most recently submitted ideas. Also look at ideas that are sorted by "campaigns" or topics.

The  Campaigns or Topics include:
  • Business of law
  • Research
  • Leadership, Administration and Career Training
  • Education and training
  • Marketing, Communications and Advocacy
  • Data & Content Management
The time is now, the process has never been easier. Register  here to participate now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The ABA Journal Is Seeking Nominations For the 2015 Blawg 100: Nominate Your Favorite Legal Blogs!

The ABA Journal is seeking nominations for the 2015 "Blawg 100" which recognizes the best legal blogs. If you would like to nominate Dewey B Strategic or any other favorite law related blogs, fill out the form at this link. "Friend-of-the-blawg" briefs are due no later than 11:59  pm CST on August 16th.

About Blawg 100 Amici From the ABA Editor:

There is no specific criteria that a blogger can meet to be guaranteed a spot on the Blawg 100. And we think our list would suffer if there were. A blog’s whole can be greater than the sum of its parts, and a blog that never fails to post that daily update, has a beautiful design and an unwavering topical focus can very often have less of an impact than another blog that is less consistent on all fronts.

That said, please keep these criteria in mind when submitting Blawg 100 amici:
• We’re primarily interested in blogs in which the author is recognizable as someone working in a legal field or studying law in the vast majority of his or her posts.
• The blog should offer insights into the practice of law and be of interest to legal professionals or law students.
• The majority of the blog’s content should be unique to the blog and not cross-posted or cut and pasted from other publications.
• We are not interested in blogs that more or less exist to promote the author’s products and services.

LexisNexis Locks Up Another Legal News Gem With The Acquisition of the MLex Regulatory Newsletter

Today LexisNexis announced  its agreement to acquire MLex, a provider of international legal analysis and commentary on regulatory risk. MLex which started in Europe has become a an important resource for antitrust lawyers in the US.
The press release describes MLex as "an innovative media organization that has a track record of uncovering regulatory risk before it breaks in other news outlets. MLex focuses on providing insight, analysis, and commentary into key developments in regulatory risk. They employ an investigative approach combined with in-depth, forensic coverage of cases via an unrivaled team of experienced and expert reporters, qualified lawyers and industry experts in more than a dozen bureaus around the world, including Brussels, Washington DC, Sao Paolo, Hong Kong and San Francisco."

Lexis The Aggregator.  Lexis has a "thing" for news. With the launch of Nexis in 1980 they offered the first "full text" database of national newspapers.  In the past few years Lexis has shown a special interest in acquiring high quality legal news products which had developed a loyal readership. They acquired Knowledge Mosaic, a US regulatory news source and the suite of  Law360 newsletters. Law360 now publishes almost 50 topical and jurisdictional newsletters which cover a wide range of legal topics and the legal market. In addition, Lexis has an exclusive license for the American Lawyer Media archive of legal newspapers, as well as the current and archival news from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Last October Lexis acquired the Moreover news aggregation platform which Lexis relaunched as the Newsdesk platform in April of this year.  Lexis keeps strengthening it's hold on the  legal markets' insatiable hunger for  competitive intelligence resources to feed both business development and client advisory.

MLex will remain a stand alone product which will be strengthened by it's new access to the core LexisNexis legal and editorial content.

The legal market just needs to wonder what other legal news sources Lexis might have in it's acquisition pipeline. Will the next  specialty legal newsletter you read soon be a Lexis product?

Here is a link to  the Press Release.


Friday, July 17, 2015

ProView Professional: Thomson Reuters Promises eBooks Which "Break the Book Paradigm"

It is no secret that I am not fond of ebook technology. Back in 2011 I described my concerns in a post eBooks: Why are Publishers Pouring Digital Content into 19th Century Wineskins? My personal reading includes novels, biographies  and histories in eBook format, but law books are different. I read monographs that are intended for sequential reading. Law books are evolving works which
require an iterative series of interactions by the researcher and continuous updating by the publisher. Many key  legal resources are massive multi-volume treatises with interconnecting parts which were broken into units called "volumes" due to the practical constraints of print publishing. A "volume" has no meaning in a digital world.  "Therein lies the rub." So it was rather brave of Thomson Reuters to ask me to look at their new ProView platform. But they began the conversation by alluding to my "Wineskins" post and assured me that they had addressed several of my major concerns. According to Scott Nelson, Head of Print and Advanced Media at Thomson Reuters, the new strategy is focused on "breaking the book paradigm" in order to make eBooks more powerful resources for lawyers. There are currently over 1,000 titles available in ProView Professional. All US legal titles will be added.

According to Thomson Reuters, ProView is "alive and well"  and they have been investing in creating the fundamental building blocks for a new eBook strategy. The.ProView Professional Reader was built to work on all standard computer and tablet platforms and to work when lawyers are offline. In addition, this will be TR's global eBook platform, which will be used in all legal and professional publishing units in all countries around the globe.

Until now, eBook solutions have been focused on providing access to individual lawyers. The initial release of ProView didn't address the logistic al challenges which law firm librarians face in managing eBook access to hundreds and maybe thousands of lawyers. Last week Thomson Reuters announced two new library solutions. They also introduced new features and some of them are quite significant. Some of them may even get me to change my mind about eBooks for lawyers.

The New ProView Professional Platform
ProView Professional Features:
  • Powerful and fast search capability.
  • Titles can be sorted by jurisdiction.
  • Navigate the table of contents
  • Print, email or create PDF documents from Proview
  • Multiple editions of the same title can be selected or searched.
ProView IP Access for Large Libraries - Breaking the Volume Paradigm

ProView Internet Protocol access offers enterprise wide access to all lawyers in an organization. This approach addresses my fundamental concern about early eBook platforms.

Search across all volumes and all titles!!!! Until now eBook platforms have only allowed searching of individual volumes. This feature alone would cause me to take a serious look at an eBook solution.

Personalization - Individual users will be able to use all of the personalization features including highlighting, adding notes and bookmarking. These notes will transfer to future editions.

Offline Access - Lawyers will be able to download volumes in advance when they know they will need to work offline.

Automatic Updating - Content will automatically be updated for lawyers accessing books using a browser. Lawyers who have downloaded a book will be prompted to download the update.

 Easier to find books- The platform presents the library as a stack of cards available for an individual account.The default display is alphabetical order. Titles can be sorted by jurisdiction.

Dynamic Search Results - One of the features I especially like is the keyword searching. The platform shows the progress of a  searche  and dynamically displays and re-ranks results moving the most relevant titles to the top of the results list. See screenshot below

Keyword searching across multipe titles
Add Notes and Highlights
ProView LMS ( Library Management Systems)

I totally agree that there is value in listing all of the eBooks a firm subscribes to in the firms catalog. However I would do the same thing with the IP authenticated books and allow lawyers to link from the catalog into the titles from the catalog.

Thomson Reuters indicated that there are still libraries that want to manage eBooks in the old "analog" fashion... lending one volume at a time, having circulation periods, placing holds. I am personally baffled by this. I believe that lawyers have a strong preference for "one click" solutions. Nonetheless I applaud the fact the Thomson Reuters is working with a major library management system provider.

ThomsonReuters also announced that they will be integrating ProView with the EOS library management system from Sirsi Dynex. According to the press release "The integrated library solution provides a unified search that enables users to see ProView eBook and physical titles together in the same catalog. Users also can see real-time availability. Library managers can quickly and easily sync thousands of titles across their library, and automatically download the latest ProView title information."

eLibraries vs eBooks
The success or failure of the eBook solution may in fact hinge on pricing more than technology. Thomson Reuters Proview Professional appears  to have overcome many of the technical obstacles of the first ProView platform.  Law firm budgets remain tight. Lawyers have not embraced eBooks as quickly as they embraced online databases. Many firms have implemented eTreatise libraries or "non-billable treatise zones" within their Westlaw contracts. Will the new personalization and mobility features in ProView Professional be sufficiently compelling to change lawyer behavior and to justify the additional cost to add an eBook version of the same content? Is Thomson Reuters bulking up the eBook platform because law firms have become focused on cutting their real estate costs ... and their physical libraries. I previously suggested that eBooks may be the "eight track tape of the 21st Century" but the ProView Professional Platform has come a long way. With the ProView LMS and IP solutions, Thomson Reuters has made it a lot easier for large law firms to manage eBook collections... but the every Library Director still needs to wonder..."If they buy the platform, will the lawyers  "buy into" an eBook solution?"

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2015 Fastcase 50 Award Winners Announced: Trailblazers Include Law Librarians, Access to Justice Pioneers, Legal Education Innovators, Legal Research Entrepreneurs and Bloggers

This morning Fastcase released their 5th list of entrepreneurs, innovators and trailblazers:

Katheen Martin - who is currently the Circuit Court Librarian, Montgomery County Maryland and
President of the Maryland Law Library Association. Kate is beloved by the private law librarian community because  when she was a Library Director at Morgan Lewis and PLL Chair in 2010 she came up with the idea of creating the PLL Summit.
Kate Martin
The Summit was designed to encourage a creative response to the "the great legal market meltdown" which began in 2007. The PLL Summit has become an important annual event and at which private Law Librarians gather to learn about the most innovative approaches to delivering information and knowledge services in the evolving law firm environment. This year's Summit which is July 18th is held conjunction with the AALL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. It will focus on "The Innovation Imperative." Since moving to the Montgomery County Circuit Court, Kate has continued to innovate by focusing on the role law librarians can play in Access to Justice. Last year she organized the first Access to Justice Summit Conference for Law Librarians. She continues to offer "Everday Law" workshops to help ordinary citizens who can't afford lawyers to understand the legal issues impacting their lives such as online privacy or housing issues.

Another Access to Justice Pioneer is Sheldon Krantz, a retired DLA Piper partner who came up with the idea of the DC Affordable Law Firm.Starting this fall, he will serve as the Executive Director to the newly created D.C. Affordable Law Firm, a joint endeavor between the Georgetown University Law Center, Arent Fox, and DLA Piper, to address the needs of the under served in the DC area. He literally wrote the book on how to reinvent law: "The Legal Profession: What is Wrong and How to Fix It."

David Mao - Deputy Director of the Library of Congress and formerly Law Librarian of Congress. Also formerly a private firm librarian at Covington & Burling. Could a real Librarian, and a Law Librarian at that be appointed as the  first holder of an M.L.S degree to be appointed as "Librarian of Congress?"  Just in time  to have a real library professional ---  as the greatest library on earth designs it digital future It's about time!

Great Blogger:
3 Geeks blogger Ryan McClead, Legal Technology Innovation Architect, Norton Rose Fulbright.

Legal Education Innovators:

Dean Andrew Perlman Dean, Suffolk Law School; Director, Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation; Director, Legal Technology and Innovation Concentration.

 Oliver Goodenough,Director, Center for Legal Innovation and Professor of Law, Vermont Law School; Faculty fellow, The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University

Research Product Innovators:
Gavid McGrane, CEO and Founder of Pacer Pro: Joe Mornin, Founder of Bestlaw ,
Pablo Arredondo Vice President of Legal Research, Casetext

Congratulations to all. And thanks to Fastcase for creating a platform which highlights excellence and innovation in the legal profession.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Thomson Reuters Practice Innovations: Legal Information Professionals and the Transformation of Law Firms: Intelligent Organizations, KM Metrics, Emerging Skill Sets, Training Attorneys, Digital Libraries and Law Firm Recruiting

The July Issue of Practice Innovations is out and just in time for the American Association of Law Libraries Conference, the issue is focused on legal information and knowledge professionals. Since law firms are knowledge intensive organizations, legal information professionals can play a critical role creating new workflows, driving productivity and innovation across law firm functions. Here are links to the articles in the July issue:

Building Workflows for the Intelligent Organization By Jean O’Grady, Director of Research Services, DLA Piper, Washington, DC

Developing the Right Skill Set for Legal Information Professionals of the Future: The State of Library School Education,  By Holly Riccio, Director of Library Innovation and Library Manager, O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, San Francisco, CA

Research Strategies: Training Attorneys to be Cost Effective Using Free or Fixed Rate Resources By Elaine M. Egan Head of Research & Information Services – Americas, Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York, NY; Linda-Jean Schneider, Electronic Resources Manager,Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Philadelphia, PA 

From Books to Bytes: The Transformation of Legal Research in Law Firms, By Jean O’Grady, Director of Research Services, DLA Piper,Washington, DC 

Law Firm Recruiting: Support the Recruiting Process By Ronda Fisch, Director of Research & Library Systems, Reed Smith LLP, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Measure Better to Manage Better By V. Mary Abraham, Above and Beyond KM, New York, NY