Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bloomberg Law Named AALL Product of the Year for 2012

Bloomberg Law was just named AALL Product of the Year for 2012.
In an interesting competitive juxtaposition, it follows the 2011 Product of the Year award to ThomsonReuter's for WestlawNext.  After years of development and some misfires, in 2011 Bloomberg Law launched a new platform which against all the odds put it into a competitive position to disrupt the marketplace long dominated by LexisNexis and Westlaw. At the end of the day this fierce competition builds better products for lawyers and helps them better serve their clients.

Congratulations to Bloomberg Law!

Bloomberg CEO, Larry Thompson is quoted below saying that "the law library community the heart and soul of what we do."

The AALL New Product Award recognizes new commercial information products that enhance or improve existing law library services or procedures or innovative products which improve access to legal information, the legal research process, or procedures for technical processing of library materials. The 2012 New Product Award will be formally presented at the Association's annual meeting in Boston.


Below is the press release from Bloomberg:

Bloomberg Law has revolutionized the legal research industry by providing a system that integrates comprehensive legal content, company and market information and proprietary news all in one place. Bloomberg Law's all-inclusive, transparent and predictable pricing means that every user has the same unrestricted, unlimited access to all the content in its databases. In July 2011, Bloomberg Law launched the latest evolution of its web platform, making the system even faster and easier to use.


It is an honor for Bloomberg Law to be recognized by the AALL as the best new product of the year,  said Larry Thompson, Bloomberg Law CEO. The law librarian community is at the heart and soul of what we do. We are committed to continually improving and expanding our product to support their efforts to deliver the best research services and manage costs.

Bloomberg Law's enhanced platform, introduced in July, provides a redesigned interface for even more intuitive navigation, enriched search capabilities for faster information retrieval, new practice centers offering practice specific resources and enhanced collaboration and workflow features that build on Bloomberg Law's innovative workspace tools.

About Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law is the real-time legal research system that integrates innovative search technology, comprehensive legal content, company and market information, and proprietary news all in one place. This collaborative workspace also includes a suite of new tools for more effective legal analysis and more productive client development. For more information, visit BloombergLaw.com.

About AALL

The American Association of Law Libraries was founded in 1906 to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the legal and public communities, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information. Today, with over 5,000 members, the Association represents law librarians and related professionals who are affiliated with a wide range of institutions: law firms; law schools; corporate legal departments; courts; and local, state and federal government agencies.

About Bloomberg

Bloomberg, the global business and financial information and news leader, gives influential decision makers a critical edge by connecting them to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. The company's strength  delivering data, news and analytics through innovative technology, quickly and accurately is at the core of the Bloomberg Professional service, which provides real time financial information to more than 310,000 subscribers globally. Bloomberg's enterprise solutions build on the company"s core strength, leveraging technology to allow customers to access, integrate, distribute and manage data and information across organizations more efficiently and effectively. Through Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg Government, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Bloomberg BNA, the company provides data, news and analytics to decision makers in industries beyond finance. And Bloomberg News, delivered through the Bloomberg Professional service, television, radio, mobile, the Internet and two magazines, Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Markets, covers the world with more than 2,300 news and multimedia professionals at 146 bureaus in 72 countries. Headquartered in New York, Bloomberg employs more than 15,000 people in 192 locations around the world.

CONTACT:


Jill Goodkind
+1 212-617-3669
jgoodkind@bloomberg.net





Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reading Between the FAQ's of the Lexis-Law360 Deal

I think I can hear librarians throughout the US breathing a collective sigh of relief:

Today began with the announcement of the acquisition of the Portfolio Media Law360 newsletters by LexisNexis and was followed by reassuring phone calls and communications from Law 360  to its customers.

The Lexis acquisition of Law360 is being described as a strategic acquisition, not a financial one. I assume this means that competitive advantages and not  revenue was the motivation for the deal. Law360 account representatives were reaching out to their customers today to assure them that there would be no immediate changes to Law360.


 The co-founders of Law360, Marius Maland and Magnus Hoglund remain in charge as Co-CEOs.
 The good news (at least for the short term)

• Law360 will remain an independent company
• There will be no staff changes
• Law360 will "own" the relationship with its existing customers
• Law360 subscriptions will not require a subscription to Lexis
• No changes in the look and feel of Law360

I  was also referred to a FAQ from Lexis - Law360  that  addresses various questions about the impact of the acquisition. After reading it closely I noted the tentative nature of most of the answers. There were repeated assurances that there would be no immediate impact, but what about longer term?

A closer reading of the Law360-Lexis Acquisition FAQ  discloses 3 separate references to "existing customers" implying that things may be different for future customers.

The Following Questions and Answers do invite some comment.

Q Would this acquisition make Law360 content exclusive to LexisNexis?

A. Law360 will continue to operate as a stand-alone company. However, as owner of Law360, LexisNexis will be the exclusive provider of Law360 content.

COMMENT: Not clear how they are defining "exclusive provider" or when this will have an impact.

Q. If I’m not currently a LexisNexis subscriber, will I still be able to keep and renew my Law360 subscription?

A. All existing agreements will remain in force.

COMMENT:  The answer only refers to existing agreements and not renewals. So check your contact to see if you have an automatic renewal. If you do not, you may be in for a surprise as renewal time. No direct answer regarding non-Lexis subscribers.

Q. Will LexisNexis honor existing Law360 contracts and obligations?

A. Yes. As a stand-alone entity, Law360 will continue to contract, fulfill, bill, and support its customers directly, and all existing agreements will remain in force.

COMMENT: Silence on the issue of renewals.

Q. Will I be able to log into Law360 through LexisNexis?

A. In the short term, you will continue to access Law360 as you do today. Over time, you will see linkages between Law360 and other LexisNexis products.

COMMENT: Not clear what this will mean. Linkages could mean anything from providing a sprinkling of links to complete absorption of Law360 into LexisNexis.I am glad the Lexis appears to be taking a retrained approach at least for the short term and is not absorbing Law360 completely or putting it behind a Lexis paywall.

The Good News for Law360

Law360 had begun to add cases and dockets to their newsletters. Clearly LexisNexis and Courlink are decades ahead of Law360 in mining and managing the flood of opinions, orders and dockets the flow from the courts. So Law360 will not have to invest in developing this type of enhancement. The Q&A suggests that they will be leveraging Lexis content and this could have a dramatic impact on the expansion and reshaping of Law360 content.
 
So What About ThomsonReuters?

Now that LexixNexis has ALM publications and Law360 and Bloomberg has BNA, one has to wonder what West has up it’s sleeve. Is it possible they will take a pass and let the two competitors dominate the legal news market? I think not. An AmLawDaily story today suggested that West is already developing a legal news product ThomsonReuters News & Insight which features content from Westlaw. This is such a low profile initiative, I never heard of it. But I discovered at the website, that Allison Frankel, veteran legal news writer and editor is writing for West. It is unlikely that a writer such asMs. Frankel would  make such a move if there were no compelling  market strategy to entice her.

Is This a Play for Marketing Market Share?

The FAQ refers to integration of Law360 with other LexisNexis products, I suspect they are not just talking about research content. Since ALM and Law360 products  both focus not only on caselaw, but  on law firm rankings, practice areas  and high profile lawyers, I can’t help but wonder it there isn’t a strategy involving marketing and business development products such as Interaction and Redwood Analytics in the future.

Related Posts: A Lexis-Law360 Deal? the Race for Content Continues.
Lexis Announces Acquisition of Law360








Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lexis Announces Acquisition of Law360

You heard it here first. A press release confirms that Lexis has acquired Portfolio Media the publisher of the Law360 Newsletters. The press release provides no details on how this acquisition will impact either Law360 subscribers or current subscribers to LexisNexis. I analysed several scenarios in my recent post  A Lexis -Law360 Deal: The Race for Content Continues.

The text of the press release is reprinted below:

March 20, 2012 — NEW YORK, March 20, 2012 – LexisNexis (www.lexisnexis.com) today announced that it has acquired Portfolio Media, the parent company of Law360® (www.Law360.com), an online provider of speedy and trusted legal news and analysis for business lawyers, primarily in the United States.


“Breaking legal news and analysis are critical for legal professionals as they drive success for their businesses and clients,” said Bob Romeo, CEO of Research and Litigation Solutions at LexisNexis. “Law360 is a key element of our growth strategy because it adds legal news and analysis, a crucial part of an attorney’s workflow and a key entry point to legal research.”

Law360 publishes breaking news and analysis with a particular focus on high-stakes litigation across more than 30 practice areas. This content is distributed through online daily newsletters that are read by well over 100,000 law firm and business professionals ranging from litigators, corporate counsel and transactional attorneys to law librarians and legal administrators.

"We are excited to have our premier legal news and analysis offering join the LexisNexis® family. We see it as a great opportunity to extend our reach, expand our portfolio of content, and create new and innovative ways to deliver it to customers,” said Marius Meland, co-CEO and co-founder of Law360. Headquartered in New York City, Law360 was founded in 2004 by Meland and co-CEO Magnus Hoglund. They will continue to run the company as a stand-alone business, while leveraging the content and analytical resources and distribution of LexisNexis.

Law360 distinguishes itself through the unique combination of speedy delivery of more than 130 original legal news stories daily, the journalistic standards of its experienced editorial team, and its content generation platform that tracks in real-time dockets and regulatory filings - enabling reporters to break major developments in litigation, deal making and legislation before anyone else.

The acquisition of Law360 is part of the continuing LexisNexis commitment to provide critical legal and business content to help customers increase productivity and achieve better outcomes for their organizations and clients.

More information about Law360 is available at: http://www.law360.com/about



Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Lexis - Law360 Deal? The Race for Content Continues.


It was only a matter of time. We all know that Lexis and Westlaw watch the emerging legal content providers closely. The rumor of the week is that some sort of alliance is brewing between LexisNexis and legal newsletter publisher Law360. It has also been rumored that both Lexis and Westlaw lost out to Bloomberg in the bidding for the acquisition of the Bureau of National Affairs another legal newsletter publisher last year. Would this be part of the same strategy or is it about something else?

Law360 is a relative newcomer to the legal publishing market. A story on the Talking Business website Why Law360 Is Succeeding and Making Money From Covering the Business of Law reports that the company was founded in 2006  by Magnus Hoglund and Marius Meland in a Starbucks cafe. The first newsletter focused on securities law developments and was followed by a bankruptcy law newsletter. Six years later they have spawned over 30 new topical and regional newsletters that focus on litigation and business law issues as well as the legal industry itself. Hoglund was also quoted as saying that they were growing at about 40% a year as of 2011. While not a direct competitor to BNA, which has the largest roster of reporters on Capitol Hill and deeper regulatory and legislative expertise, both publishers cover litigation trends and other legal developments. Law360 is decidedly more focused on personalities in the law....  a sort of TMZ approach and regularly includes interviews with leading lawyers as well and competitive law firm rankings.

Acquisition or Alliance? It is unclear whether this rumored deal would take the form of an acquisition (like Matthew Bender) or an exclusive license (like the recent American Lawyer Media deal)

Characteristics of Bloomberg BNA Deal – What Bloomberg does is as important as what Blaw does not do!

Subscribers to Bloomberg Law are reporting that Blaw has been true to its word and all BNA content is being added to their Blaw licenses (including BNA content not previously subscribed to.) Much to their credit, Bloomberg allowing law firms to subscribe directly to BNA’s electronic newsletters and libraries without requiring them to subscribe to Blaw. This strengthens Bloomberg’s stated goal to provide law firms with a new approach to procurement of legal information and to be a disruptive force in the marketplace. Even a free trial password has access to all BNA content. BNA content remains available on competitor services Lexis and Westlaw but one has to assume that this will end when BNA’s agreements with these two companies come up for renewal.

Characteristics of the LexisNexis American Lawyer Media Alliance

In mid 2011 Lexis entered into agreement with American Lawyer Media to become the exclusive source for the complete American Lawyer Media archive. This archive includes the granddaddy of law firm and legal industry news sources, “The American Lawyer” which was founded by lawyer Stephen Brill in 1978, as well as a collection of regional legal newspapers. As a result of this deal, ALM content was pulled from Westlaw in 2011 but when added to Lexis, was treated as “excluded content.” Lexis subscribers had the choice of signing a separate contract to add unlimited access to ALM content or to pay a premium cost for accessing on a pay-as-you-go basis. Law firms can still subscribe directly to ALM publications for current news, but these subscriptions include only a 6 month "rolling archive."

Will this be another “Poison Pill?”

Blogger Greg Lambert, posted a comment to the I'm So Confused post  on his 3 Geeks and a Law blog and described the Lexis - ALM deal as a “poison pill” because it was essentially designed to discourage law firms from dropping Lexis and going to a sole research provider option with Westlaw or Bloomberg. If Lexis purchases Law360 the big question is whether they will take a page from Blaw and allow law firms to subscribe to Law360 without a Lexis contract. Even if the  rumored deal involved an exclusive license rather than an outright purchase, we may see a approach similar to the ALM deal where Lexis allows firms to subscribe directly to Law360 newsletters but requires a Lexis contract to access the Law360 archive. Since Law360 is primarily a current awareness service which reports on developments that are also reported in multiple legal sources, the loss of access to an historical Law360 archive will have minimal impact on researchers who have no access to Lexis.
So would such an alliance in whatever form be about content or perception?

Everyone likes Law360 newsletters in their current form. In fact, I think the native Law360 format is more unique than its content. They have developed a nice format including navigable lists of all law firms and the companies mentioned in each issue. But would some of the Law360 appeal be lost if delivered in a standard Lexis clip? One also has to wonder if the content so unique that it will not be largely redundant of the ALM practice and jurisdictional content? Law360 is mostly a current awareness service, so is there a compelling reason to pay a premium to maintain access to its archive? Are the news stories so unique that access to a permanent archive is required? I think the answer is “no” on both counts.

So I am inclined to think the rumored alliance would be more about perception than content. Lexis is bulking up on “exclusive” content in an attempt to slow its loss of market share and perhaps even reverse that trend.

But What  Strategy Do Law Firms Need?

The law firms which legal publishers sell to, have faced a market reset and are examining, streamlining and repricing their core business models The fierce competition between Lexis and Westlaw has been further complicated by the entrance of Bloomberg into the legal market. All three are competing for a shrinking law firm budget pool. Exclusive content alone will be tough sell to justify the hefty cost of two let alone three premium service providers when those costs can no longer be passed on to clients. If Lexis and Westlaw want to stay in the game, they may need to hit the reset button on their pricing and content strategies as well.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Closing the Book on The Encyclopaedia Britannica: Humorist AJ Jacobs "Sits Shiva" (on a stack of Encyclopaedia)

EB First Edition from Wikipedia Commons
A story in the New York Times today, Britannica is Reduced to a Click" reported that The Encyclopaedia Britannicaone of the "grand dames" of the library reference shelf was going  completely digital. After 244 years the publisher would stop printing the 129 pound, 32 volume set. The print  EB was a victim of both technology and Wikipedia, the  "crowd sourced" upstart which boasts 4 million English language articles.

The EB was no doubt, my trusted ally in completing dozens of long forgotten homework projects,  but it was also the source of my first encounter with the fallibility of reference books. In the mid 1960's I went to a friend's house to witness the unpacking of the family's personal set of Encyclopaedia Britannica. I selected the volume containing the only topic about which I considered myself a true expert... "The Beatles."  I found the right page and to my horror confronted a reference to the "Fab Four" as The Beetles! This no doubt explains my continuing professional recommendation that researchers perform fact checking, by consulting  multiple sources.


My second thought was about A.J. Jacobs the author of the Know it All --- a book about  his personal adventures reading all 44 million words in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. AJ  was the guest speaker at  the 2011 PLL lunch and  made the audience of private law librarians roar with laughter at the deep vein of serendipitous discoveries he mined from the 4 pound tomes.  I wondered how AJ would have approached reading the digital EB in a "pre-iPad " world. I imagined AJ.... strolling into an IRT subway car with a laptop computer strapped to himself  like an accordion or pushing a desktop computer in a shopping cart while strolling down Broadway. So I checked in with AJ tonight and he reported that he was "sitting shiva"... on a stack of  encyclopedia. He has  also posted a  response  to the demise of Encyclopedia Britannica in print on the NY Times "Room for Debate" web page. Enjoy!