Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dewey B Strategic Named to 2015 ABA Blawg 100

For the fourth year in a row,   Editors of the ABA Journal have chosen Dewey B Strategic as one of the top  100 best blogs for a legal audience. See a complete list of the Blawg 100 here.  Every year since in 2007,  the ABA Journal staffers have assembled a list of their 100 favorite legal blogs for the December issue. 
According to a release from the ABA Journal: “For us, at the ABA Journal, this isn’t just another award. We view our annual list as service to our readers, pointing them to a collection of some of the very best legal writing and commentary on the Web. Yes, we hope those selected are proud of it. But we also hope that our readers will recognize the list itself as another portal to some very vivid, informative and entertaining conversations about issues we all care about.”

About the ABA Journal:

The ABA Journal is the flagship magazine of the American Bar Association, and it is read by half of the nation’s 1.1 million lawyers every month. It covers the trends, people and finances of the legal profession from Wall Street to Main Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. ABAJournal.com features breaking legal news updated as it happens by staff reporters throughout every business day, a directory of more than 4,000 lawyer blogs, and the full contents of the magazine.

About the ABA:

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law

Monday, November 23, 2015

From Rumor to Reality: Insatiable LexisNexis Devours Legal Analytics Pioneer Lex Machina

For more than a week, credible but unconfirmed rumors have been flying through the legal information community that LexisNexis was going to acquire legal analytics startup Lex Machina.. This morning I received the press release confirming the acquisition.
Needless to say, I will follow up later with  more musings on this latest legal merger.

For now I will just say this is certainly a brilliant move for LexisNexis:  "Well done LexisNexis."

Here it is:

LexisNexis Acquires Premier Legal Analytics® Provider Lex Machina

 Legal professionals will benefit from new, next-generation solutions that drive more informed decisions to craft winning case strategy and close business

November 23, 2015 — NEW YORK - LexisNexis® Legal & Professional today announced that it has acquired privately held Lex Machina, Inc., creator of award-winning Legal Analytics®, a next-generation technology platform that transforms how law firms and companies excel in the business and practice of law. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Lex Machina, based in Silicon Valley, delivers a Software as a Service platform that helps lawyers predict the behaviors and outcomes of different legal strategies by mining, tagging, categorizing and enhancing millions of Federal court dockets and documents. The technology allows lawyers to make strategic, data-driven decisions and develop winning litigation strategies using competitive intelligence on opposing parties and counsel, track records and key decisions by presiding judges, as well as reveal trends by case outcomes.

 “Data and analytics are integral to the future of the practice of law and the addition of Lex Machina solidifies the LexisNexis position as a leader in providing analytic decision tools for legal professionals,” said Sean Fitzpatrick managing director of North American Research Solutions at LexisNexis. “We are excited to welcome a company at the forefront of innovation, and we plan to leverage our extensive resources to bring the benefits of Legal Analytics to lawyers everywhere.”

The combination of the LexisNexis technology and content with the unique capabilities of Lex Machina creates a scalable infrastructure to build next generation Legal Analytics solutions across a wide variety of practice areas. Further, integrating analytic capabilities into existing LexisNexis solutions, such as Lexis Advance®, will bring new decision-insights to lawyers.

 In particular, the collection of court dockets and documents from LexisNexis CourtLink® provides a deep and comprehensive resource for Lex Machina technology that will deliver an unprecedented view of lawyer and law firm performance, legal market trends and judicial tendencies that are needed to make critical decisions about a case. The acquisition also serves as a catalyst to enhance existing LexisNexis analytical decision tools such as LexisNexis® MedMal Navigator® and LexisNexis® Verdict & Settlement Analyzer.

 The Lex Machina Legal Analytics platform has become a “must have” technology for 45 of the Top 100 IP law firms, as well as multi-national companies such as eBay, Google, IBM, AstraZeneca and Nike. Through the acquisition, Lex Machina gains access to the considerable resources of LexisNexis, including an extensive base of content, a state-of-the-art global technology platform and a top-flight sales organization that covers all segments of the legal marketplace.

 “We're proud to have brought transparency to IP litigation with Legal Analytics. The only thing inhibiting our entry into other areas of the law is access to content,” said Josh Becker, CEO of Lex Machina. “By joining the LexisNexis family, we will accelerate the introduction of Legal Analytics to more practice areas and enhance insights for our customers with the advanced technology of the Lexis Advance platform.”

 Because LexisNexis recognizes the importance of the leadership and culture at Lex Machina to the creation of innovative Legal Analytics solutions, it will operate as a stand-alone entity within the North American Research Solutions group within LexisNexis Legal & Professional.

The acquisition of Lex Machina is part of the ongoing LexisNexis commitment to offer modern, next-generation legal research solutions that harness the power of Big Data through natural language processing and machine learning to help legal professionals work more efficiently, make more informed decisions and drive success for their clients, practice and business.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Has the Librarian-ship Sailed? The American Association of Law Libraries Board Votes to Rebrand As the Association for Legal Information

“The future is already here, it just isn’t evenly distributed.” William Gibson, author and futurist.
The uneven “distribution of the future” is fueling an intense debate within the American Association of Law Libraries. Last week the  organization announced that the Executive Committee had voted unanimously to change the name of the organization to the Association for Legal Information.
The recommendation came after the organization retained a consulting firm and spent  months engaged in analysis. The members  of AALL will get a final up or down vote in early 2016.  
AALL membership which includes members from academic, law firm and government organizations represents  a mix of institutions which are in varying stages of disruption and transformation. Law firm members are out on the “bleeding edge” managing virtual teams, assessing issues such as outsourcing, offshoring, project management, big data and lean Six Sigma. They are living in a world of change. The future isn't quite so present in all member institutions. Some members insist that change can be postponed. Others insist change is overdue!
I “got” what the name Association for Legal Information was about when I considered a peer organization-- ILTA The International Legal Technology Association. It is a thriving diverse community  which offers an annual meeting which is routinely attended by  Executive Directors, CMOs, CFOs, General Counsel.  It is a spectacular professional platform for technologist presenters to shine before their firm's leaders who are in attendance. ILTA is an organization which has basically claimed dominion over legal technology and to be the voice of the legal technology community.  So why shouldn’t law librarians, knowledge managers. legal researchers and  information strategists claim dominion over the larger universe of legal content?  Association for Legal Information works for me.   

Here are some of  the issues which demonstrate the compelling need to modernize, enlarge and redefine The American Association of Law Libraries: 

Does A Name Or a Title Open Doors or Close Doors? Do the words “library” and “librarian” open doors or close doors? These may be completely neutral and even positive terms in academic and government organizations. In law firms these are career limiting terms. Libraries are viewed a business units which exist for the benefit of the associates --not  feeding the strategic information needs of the firm’s leadership, business and practice units. Although librarians have created the infrastructure for legal and business intelligence in law firms over the past 20 years, they remain largely outside the C Level planning. Although librarians may be the most highly credentialed administrative professionals in firms -- their peers in IT, HR and Marketing have leapfrogged over them into the CSuite. As of 2013 only 17 -- less than 1% of the 1,020 Clevel positions in large  law firms are occupied of Chiefs of Library or KM.
In 10 Years, Half of AALL Members Will Work in Institutions Without Libraries  According to the 2014 ALM Library Survey, 68% of ALM firms expect to eliminate their print collections in the next 5 to 8 years. Firms without libraries are likely to  question the relevance of staff memberships in a library organization. If AALL doesn’t pivot dramatically toward the future, private firm members will migrate towards  an organization such as ILTA which is ready to claim dominion over all aspects of  legal information.
Increasing Opportunities For Members. I am convinced that there is an untapped world of opportunity in smaller firms who have no need for a librarian but who have an enormous need for information professionals to curate news, to manage digital  resources, build portals, or to institute a km project. If these lawyers and administrators had to go looking for a professional to handle these non-bibliographic projects -- are they likely to go to AALL or an organization called the Association for Legal Information?  And if Association for Legal Information doesn’t exist,  these law firms  will recruit through  ILTA not AALL since they don’t have a library!!!!

 Moving From Content To Process As legal information products incorporate more tools for analytics, drafting and workflow, information professionals also need to learn new non-bibliographic skills to support this transition and to train lawyers to integrate these new resources in their workflow.

Diversity of Membership Will Enhance Opportunity and Creativity Opening membership to a wider group of members from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines will accelerate creativity and enhance the kinds of collaborative learning available to members. It will enhance the our ability to participate more effectively in creating new information infrastructures and workflows to support the practice of law. Yes we want to preserve the past but our members should play an important role in building the future.

Collaboration Is the Future of Everything. Technologies cause convergence. The bright line between administrative departments in law firms will fade. We need to be prepared to  lead teams including a variety of professionals with differing skillsets—the skillsets defining traditional librarianship are morphing and merging with skills from other disciplines.

Attracting Innovative Graduates Into the Profession. Graduate Schools of Library Science are transforming themselves into Schools of Information. Will the best and the brightest these grads seek out a “library association” or “The Association for Legal Information” as the best community for professional advancement?

It’s Time! AALL was founded in 1906 (14 years before women had the right to vote!) The name has served us well for 110 years but in a legal  world embracing AI, curation and  big data analytics  it is time for a change that points to the future not the past. 

Fear and Disbelief? We are Not Alone-- The Legal Profession Faces a Transformed Future

 Earlier this week there was an article in the Legal TimesWe’re not even at the fear stage”--Richard Susskind on a very different  future for the legal profession”  Susskind predicts a dramatic change in the work performed by lawyers. He sees the legal profession as evolving through 3 stages. 1) Denial – they don’t really need to change the way they work, 2) Sourcing legal work differently – focus on setting up low cost centers; 3) Disruptive legal technologies. “  will dramatically change the work performed by lawyers. By 2025 lawyers will be described as legal process analysts, legal project managers, legal knowledge engineers. When asked if lawyers were afraid of these changes Susskind answered : “ The major emotion I find – and it’s probably a rationalization—is disbelief rather than fear. We are not even at the fear stage.”

Thursday, November 12, 2015

ALM LexisNexis Alliance Deepens: Big Changes Ahead for AmLaw 100 and AmLaw 200 Firms

Starting in 2016 LexisNexis will manage all  ALM  print and digital news contracts and  provide customer support for the 200  largest law firms in the US. This means that the firm's LexisNexis Account Manager will now be responsible for negotiating ALM contracts. The accounts that are being transitioned on January 1 will be the accounts that are managed by LN for the period of the contract—5 years.

This is not the first time that Lexis has become the sole source for a  third party publishers content. Back in  2005 LexisNexis entered into an agreement with Dow Jones which gave Lexis exclusive control over the legal market customers. Law firms can no longer purchase corporate contracts for the Wall Street Journal or Factiva fron Dow Jones. That agreenent applies to all law firms. The ALM - Lexis agreement only applies to AmLaw200 firms - which I assume will present special challenges since law firms periodically rotate on and off the AmLaw200 list.

The Benefits
The letter to subscribers highlights how the new arrangement will benefit AmLaw 200 subscribers: : One account, one password, one invoice."

  • Single sign on. One password will provide access to Lexis and ALM.
  • ALM charges will now appear as a line item on the firm's Lexis bill.

In a phone call today, Molly Miller, ALM's CMO and Chief Content Officer indicated that large firm customers will benefit from the new arrangement because Lexis has a much larger sales and support staff than ALM, which has only 5 support staff for the large firm market.

What about changes to the AmLaw200 List?

 If firms fall out of the AmLaw 200, they won’t fall out of the group of accounts. IF new firms enter the AmLaw200, they won’t be added.

What ALM Content Will Not Be Managed by Lexis?
As far as I can tell, ALM Legal Intelligence Products and Law Journal Press publications will not be managed by the Lexis reps and ALM staff will continue to manage these subscriptions.

Will this impact access to ALM content on Lexis?

If the ALM archive is excluded from a firms existing contract, there will be no impact. ALM content will be charged at premium rates. The problem I see with this situation is that the archive also includes current ALM stories --- which can be searched for free on the ALM platform under the firms ALM contract.

How Does ALM Benefit From This Arrangement?

ALM's Miller outlined the benefits as follows: Since we have 5 reps and LexisNexis has 50, not only will our top accounts get a higher level of service, we will be able to provide 10x coverage to drive site licenses—we’ll have more newsletters going out, more traffic to our sites, more app downloads etc. In terms of a better customer experience, we will be able to address the #1 complaint from top accounts—the archive—since we are building the capability for AmLaw200 to pass directly through to the pre-6 month content.


Here is the letter which ALM sent to AmLaw 200 firm subscribers:

November 9, 2015

Dear                ,
I am writing to tell you about some exciting developments in the way that ALM will be working with you and your firm starting January 1, 2016. We have extended our agreement with LexisNexis to provide exclusive access to ALM content—but we have taken it a step further. Starting next year, you will have one point of contact for your LexisNexis and ALM content—your LexisNexis account manager.
We know how important it is to simplify your management of the many offerings you provide your firm—and we are excited to share how this partnership supports that very important goal.
One major benefit is the ability to provide a single sign-on so that your partners and associates will only have to enter one ID and password to access both LN and ALM content. This integration will streamline the entire news to research experience providing direct-access to our archives and improved interlinking between information platforms.

And there is more. Because of this deeper integration, your ALM billing will be included in your LN invoice—no more additional invoices to track. We know from our many conversations how important this is to you.
One account manager, one password, one invoice. We hope that this makes your life easier and that you are in an even better position to support your firm and their daily consumption of news and information from ALM.
We will be sure to provide updates in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’d like to set up time to answer any questions you have about these changes. Please email me at jsilveira@alm.com to schedule a call. Also, your LexisNexis Client Manager will be in touch with you shortly to prepare for the January 1 transition.

Jessica Silveira
Director, Sales Circulation and Subscription
120 Broadway
New York, NY 10271

Monday, November 9, 2015

LexisNexis Extends Its Dominance of Legal News Market: Deeper Strategic Relationship with American Lawyer Media Announced

Today LexisNexis and American Lawyer Media  announced  a new agreement which deepens their strategic relationship while ensuring the continued availability of archived ALM legal news  on the LexisNexis platform. ALM owns the "grand-daddy" of modern legal news reporting  The American Lawyer as well as other well known national titles such as Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal, Legaltech News and regional titles including New York Law Journal, Texas Lawyer and The Recorder.

The Press release provides this quote from Lenny Izzo, President of Legal Media at ALM. " We know that our customers start their day with a scan of ALM legal headlines delivered to their inboxes--- for LexisNexis customers this will be a seamless experience to engage with news and instantly link to case law, briefs, and analysis the minute they see a news article relevant to an active case."

Integration with Lexis Newsdesk

The agreement will facilitate more deirect integration of the ALM content through LexisNexis. The release specifically mentioned its impact on the delivery of ALM content through LexisNexis Newsdesk. Last year LexisNexis purchased the Morevoer platform which offers a sophisticated aggregation and curation platform for customized news delivery. THe new agreement will streamline the delivery of ALM content through Newsdesk to provide more efficient access to the 3000 news stories generated by ALM brands each month.

Business to New Business
The press relase also describes  the enhancement of lawyer marketing opportunities. This is described as  an
"ALM custom event series providing LexisNexis customers exclusive access to turnkey solutions that bring together law firms and their clietns to discuss emerging practice and business challenges informed by ALM industry research and analysis.

Lexis Advance Integraion
New integration points include live links to Lexis Advance for cases cited in ALM publications and a new "single-sign-on" that will provide access to both LexisNexis and ALM content.

Maintaining the Legal News Edge
This is not great news for law firms which have  entered  "sole source" contracts with LexisNexis competitors. As Lexis keeps feasting on the acquisition of legal news content, they strengthen their market position as legal research( originally the heart an soul of LexisNexis)  becomes commoditized.In recent years LexisNexis has strengthened their position the legal news through a series of strategic alliances (Wall Street Journal, New York Times and ALM) and acquisitions ( Law 360, MLex and Moreover)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ravel and Harvard "Free the Law": You've Read the News, Now Watch The Movie: Spine-tingling Scenes of Libra-cide

Today the New York Times reported that Harvard Law School announced that they were collaborating with Ravel Law to digitize over 44,000 volumes of US caselaw including state court reports predating the US Constitution. Their goal is to "Free the Law" and make all of the existing federal and state caselaw available and searchable to anyone for free. Ravel is an innovative tech
ouch! I can barely look... (c) Books Kraft
start-up which applies a unique search algorithm to caselaw research and delivers results in stunning visual displays. A companion product "Judges Analytics" provides "precedential analysis" of judges opinions which can help a lawyer understand which cases and language are support a "winning" argument.

Harvard has posted a fascinating and "spine tingling" (book lovers be warned) video  documenting the process on Youtube The video also includes interviews with Daniel Lewis Founder of Ravel Law and Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law Library Director and Law Professor.

I spoke with Daniel Lewis today regarding the project and several things surprised me.
  • This enterprise has not received any special funding from any foundations.
  • They will be scanning 44,000 volumes of caselaw and are currently 20% completed.
  • Librarians are adding metadata to the volumes as they are scanned.
    Ravel Founders Daniel Lewis and Nik Reed
  • The cases will be full text searchable but each case will also have a link to an image of the original document.
  • The complete archive of California cases will be complete in November.
  • New York cases will be added by the end of this year.
  • The remaining states will be added on a rolling basis with an expected completion date of 2017.
  • When I asked how this project differed from  the caselaw available on Google Scholar, Daniel pointed out that Google only covers cases back to 1950 and it makes no representation of completeness. The Ravel Harvard project is aiming for comprehensiveness and historical completeness.
  • Given the size and age of Harvard's collection, I wouldn't be surprised if the  project uncovers cases which are not currently included in any commercial database and which may be completely new to legal scholars.
  • They hope that states will accelerate and collaborate with them in increasing the availability of state primary source materials. In order to create an incentive for states, Ravel will give states complete access to the state's historical  archive if the state makes its caselaw available in digital format.
  • The Ravel database will be free to the public. Commercial subscribers will get the Harvard materials as they are loaded and will continue to have access to advanced functionality such as Judges Analytics.
  • They will not make the database available to commercial publishers for eight years.

What about statutes? While there are no current plans to tackle statutes, Lewis hopes that the Free the law project will inspire state to start making their caselaw available in searchable digital formats. Once the caselaw project is completed, Lewis hopes that states will also add their statutes. Lewis would love to tackle loading  archives of state statutes.

Congratulations to Ravel and Harvard Law -- awe-some project.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Practice Innovations: Predictive Analytics,Global Research Teams, Project Management, Pricing Professionals, Metrics

The October issue of Thomson Reuters of Practice Innovations is out.This issue focuses on emerging issues and transformative trends in law firms. I am particularly happy to highlight an article by John Hokkanen on predictive analytics, I first met John at a Lawyers Technology Roundtable meeting in the early 1990s. After practicing law John became at early Knowledge Management leader and evangelist at Alton & Bird and Latham & Watkins in the 1990's, He has now turned his focus to predictive analytics in financial services and his article urges law firm leaders to recognize the financial and competitive opportunities which predictive analytics offer in specific areas of law firm administration and practice.

By John Hokkanen, Risk Programmer/Analyst Contractor at First Hawaiian Bank, Honolulu, HI

By Scott Bailey, Global Research Services Director (US LLP), Washington, DC; Philip Duffy, Deputy Global Research Services Director (UK LLP), Manchester, England; Kelly Underwood, Senior Researcher (AU LLP) Perth, Australia

 By Carla Landry, Senior Consultant, LawVision Group LLC, Washington, DC

 By Don Philmlee, Legal Technology Consultant, Washington, DC

 By Lisa Gianakos, Director of Knowledge Management, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Washington, DC

By V. Mary Abraham, Above and Beyond KM, New York, NY