Thursday, November 29, 2012

Know Your Client: Bloomberg Law Launches Business Development Center

Today, Bloomberg Law is announcing the release of a new suite of  tools for lawyers which are focused on the unrelenting demand for lawyers to improve their knowledge of their clients and their clients industries.  Several months ago newly appointed CEO Greg McCaffery indicated that he anticipated that BLaw would be expanding their offerings to tools which focus on "business of law" and he appears to be making good on this product.

The Business Center synthesizes the full range of Bloomberg Law's people and company profiles, market data, law firm insights and business intelligence, and news for partners and general counsel. Other features include Dockets and Breaking Complaints, litigation news and analysis and Bloomberg Brief newsletters.

Special Features:
  • Client Monitor
  •  Rumors & Leads Monitor
  • Company Screener
  • Customized Watchlists
Here is the press release:

New York, November 29, 2012 – Bloomberg Law, the legal research system from the world leader in data and information services, today introduced the Business Development Center, a powerful suite of tools that draws on Bloomberg's renowned news and financial data, integrated with legal resources, to provide lawyers with targeted information to help them better understand and engage their clients.

Bloomberg Law's Business Development Center features a collection of integrated business, legal and financial tools and customizable news monitors, including proprietary features from the world-famous Bloomberg Professional service, presented in a sophisticated, fast and easy-to-use way. All Bloomberg Law users have access to the Business Development Center as part of their subscription.

"We developed the Business Development Center in response to a need from lawyers," said Greg McCaffery, Bloomberg Law CEO. "Partners are under pressure not only to generate new business but also to retain and expand the work from their existing clients. They seek ways to stay informed and knowledgeable about their clients’ issues and the competitive landscape without having to sort through Internet searches or visit multiple platforms. Bloomberg Law solves that problem for busy lawyers by providing a set of high-value business development resources all in one place."

"In the world of high-stakes litigation, strategic information comes quickly from any and all directions. Bloomberg Law adds great value by synthesizing that information and putting it at my fingertips in a format I want to use," said Charles "Bucky" Zimmerman, a founding partner of Zimmerman Reed and a nationally recognized leader in complex and class action litigation. "The Business Development Center is a feature that helps me readily see all of the pieces – from what courts, agencies and people are doing in a given area to background on companies and industries."

The Business Development Center provides a centralized location for Bloomberg Law's significant business development resources and includes powerful new tools, such as:

• Business & Client Monitor. Drawing on Bloomberg's world-class business news as well as thousands of other news sources, attorneys can monitor clients and follow topics to get the information they need as soon as an event occurs. Alerts keep lawyers up-to-date so they can better communicate and network with current and prospective clients.

• Rumors & Leads Monitor. Attorneys can track the latest executive hires and attorney moves along with breaking news that affects their clients and their practice, such as IPO and M&A rumors, credit downgrade leads and market-moving stories. Attorneys can follow a particular company or create a customized Watchlist so they will be the “first to know” when an opportunity to win business arises.

• Company Screener. The Company Screener taps into Bloomberg's financial information to enable users to search for and help evaluate companies across a wealth of data points. Attorneys can use sophisticated tools to understand which companies are financially healthy, how a company compares to its competitors, companies that may be at potential risk of bankruptcy, and much more, so that they can meet the client prepared to discuss the issues that affect them.

In addition, the Business Development Center synthesizes the full range of Bloomberg Law's people and company profiles, market data, law firm insights and business intelligence, and news for partners and general counsel. Other features include Dockets and Breaking Complaints, litigation news and analysis and Bloomberg Brief newsletters.

About Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law is the real-time legal research system that integrates innovative search technology, primary and secondary 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 business development. The innovative service provides the information legal practitioners need, tailored to the way they work.

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.

Related Posts: New BLaw CEO McCaffery Headed Toward the Business of Law
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dewey B Strategic Chosen as One of the ABA Journal's Blawg 100


Press Release: Washington DC, November 26, 2012 - Editors of the ABA Journal announced today they have selected Dewey B Strategic as one of the top 100 best blogs for a legal audience.

Congratulations to all the  honorees  and a special nod to colleagues: Greg Lambert, 3 Geeks and a Law, Jordan Furlong, Law21, and Kevin O'Keefe, Real Lawyers have Blogs.

Register and Vote Here. Now that the editors have made their picks, the ABA Journal is asking readers to weigh in and vote on their favorites in each of the 6th Annual Blawg 100's 15 categories. . Voting ends at close of business on Dec. 21, 2012.

In addition, the magazine has introduced the inaugural Blawg 100 Hall of Fame, featuring 10 of the very best law blogs, known for crafting high-quality, engaging posts day in and day out.

"Each year, our choices become tougher. Blogging has become such a staple of professional communication that keeping up with our own directory of more than 3,500 blogs by lawyers, judges, law professors or even law students is more formidable than it's ever been," said ABA Journal Editor and Publisher Allen Pusey. "Some of them have become such permanent, even required, fixtures in our everyday reading that we're introducing the ABA Journal Blawg 100 Hall of Fame to recognize those blogs and bloggers that have set the standards for this vast, vibrant network for legal news and commentary."

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 3,500 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 26, 2012

My Secret Weapon: A Thanksgiving Reflection on Law Librarians

by Phil Rosenthal,  Guest Blogger

I’d like to think I was brilliant. More likely I was just lucky. When I started as a first-year associate at Covington & Burling more than sixteen years ago, I was very fortunate to discover the library, and to discover that it was the secret to survival as a junior associate at a large law firm. Early on I learned that the best way to begin a complex new project was to ask a librarian for guidance. Did I do this because of some previously untapped wisdom? Or was because the library was just a few steps from my office? Either way, I was very fortunate.

The Associate's Dilemma. The library encounter I remember most vividly occurred when I was asked to analyze the legislative history of the Price Anderson Act. This raised many questions. What the heck was the Price Anderson Act? (It turns out it provides a framework for handling liability during nuclear incidents at reactors and even during a nuclear war, if there is anyone left to quibble over such things.) What is a legislative history and what do you do with it? What are its various components? Do some of these components have more weight than others? I’m sure you will all be shocked to know that I was not taught these things in law school. I could have spent days going in circles hunting down each element of the legislative history, if I had even been able to imagine what to look for.

So instead I asked a librarian, Covington & Burling’s great legislative history librarian at the time, Charlotte White. Happily, she had assembled a complete legislative history and was able to hand it to me on a silver platter. Next, she painstakingly took me through each element of the history and meticulously explained to me what it was, how to read it, and its likely significance. A hopeless project became one that was manageable in a few hours. I have no idea how I would have completed it otherwise.

Know Thy Librarian, I was lucky in another way. I practiced during an era when law firm libraries were large and properly funded. Indeed, the library at Covington & Burling was directed by none other than Roberta Shaffer, the Associate Librarian of Congress and former Law Librarian of Congress. The library occupied part of two floors. How different today: every square inch, every linear foot measured, and the measurements part of a dozen ROI formulae.

Indispensable. But if librarians were helpful two decades ago, they are indispensable today. When I left practice in 1999, the world created about 2 exabytes (2 billion gigabytes) of data per year. This is a lot of data, to be sure. By 2011, however, annual data production rose a thousand fold, to about 1.8 zettabytes (1.8 trillion gigabytes) of data. It is estimated that the amount of data in the world is growing well over 50% each year, so if it is hard to find the needle in the haystack today, it will get no easier as the haystack explodes right before our eyes. Lawyers need librarians to find that proverbial needle efficiently.

But isn’t everything on the Internet? I challenge anyone to find the legislative history of the Price Anderson Act with a Google search. Even if the content is on the Internet, a recent study shows there is about a 38% chance that the link to that data will no longer work within five years. Moreover, how can a lawyer tell if the online data is reliable? The only thing worse for a lawyer than not finding what was needed is thinking you have an authoritative source only to find out that what was filed in a brief or reported to the client is wrong. Lawyers can make their best guesses about whether online information is accurate, or they can ask librarians. The bottom line is that as the online world explodes, the reliability of digital data becomes more suspect, and as physical libraries shrink and become less user-friendly, lawyers need somewhere to turn to find and manage the data.

Libraries as Institutional Memory. Parenthetically, perhaps the biggest reason why associates should get to know their librarians has nothing to do with legal information. Libraries often are also the repository for the institutional memory of the firm. Librarians just know how things work around the firm, and they have this odd habit of wanting to help. If you need to know which partner to talk to when you have a problem, how to get a different office, or even how late the cafeteria is open during a holiday, the library is still the place to go.

I sometimes miss the law firm library. Perhaps many of you in law firms which have downsized or de-emphasized the library miss it too. Still, let us be grateful. It was the librarian, using professional skills and personal wisdom, who made the library useful and efficient for lawyers. We can continue to take comfort as long as the librarian’s same skills and wisdom are available to help us move through an otherwise unmanageable information explosion.

About the Author Phil Rosenthal is co-founder and President of Fastcase, the smarter alternative for legal research, serving more than 500,000 attorneys nation-wide. He can be reached at phil@fastcase.com.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Squire Sanders Puts Their Library on "Main Street"


 
The Green Wall

When Squire Sanders relocated from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, to new offices on 19th St NW, they left behind  a traditional wood paneled law firm motif and moved to a decidedly and perhaps radically modern “green” space.

The new offices received a Platinum LEED rating. It features conference tables made of concrete, glass and stone; panels made from recycled buttons and abundant amounts of glass which assure that everyone has a view of the outdoors. When was the last time you visited a law office with a two story “green wall” of live plants?

The Main Street Concept In planning for the new space Scott Bailey, the Director of Research Services, Nancy Kronstadt the Office Administrator and the architect Phil Olson of Alliance Architecture, developed an innovative “Main Street” concept which placed the library on the main traffic axis..

The old library had included a massive reference desk, a card catalog and loads of shelving.
In the new space, Baily was prepared to leverage digital resources and make dramatic cuts in the print collection. He successfully reduced the linear feet of library shelving from 7000 to 2000 linear feet. Instead of being marginalized by the space reduction, the library became the central hub of Main Street. It is located at the intersection of many critical flows. The staff are near the managing partner, the business development personnel, an active international trade group and the lunch room.

Library Without Walls They developed an open environment in which the boundaries of the library are not well defined. One of the most important impacts has been the improved integration with the ebb and flow of the firm which has increased lawyer demand for research services. The staff is more exposed to practice activities. Bailey sums it up this way "Being located within a high traffic area in this open office space has increased the visibility of our services and has remarkably increased our interactivity and workload with all of the practices."




Library Coffee Bar


New projects have organically grown from proximity, awareness and opportunity. Lawyers have matched special needs for non-traditional library projects with the unique skills of the staff.

The library space features a coffee bar which invites traffic and conversation. It has become a social space – where lawyers can browse newspaper headlines and chat.


While the research staff regret the loss of privacy they embrace the heightened visibility.

The Squire Sanders "Main Street Library"  concept demonstrates the importance of collaboration in developing  innovative new models of information service delivery. By pulling down the walls, libraries invite new opportunities to broaden and deepen their involvement in supporting the business and practice of law.










Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Decline of Cost Recovery For Online Legal Research: Two Reports Track Trends


Today the ABA Journal published an article  "Firms Wave Goodbye to Billing for Online Research Costs" which highlights two recent reports on law firm cost recovery for services such as Lexis and Westlaw. While the article is informative,  I take exception to the author's comment that "firms haven't historically passed along (online research) discounts to clients." If there was a time when that was the norm – it is now ancient history.  At least in firms sophisticated enough to have a full time Library Director to inform their cost recovery policy... there is a significant effort invested in developing a methodology for giving clients a discount aligned with the firm's flat fee contract.

Clearly the emergence of flat fee contracts in the early 1990's created challenges for firms in establishing an appropriate discount that would allow them to pass on the benefit of the flat fee to clients, but the majority of AmLaw 100 firms do make that effort! And contrary to a popular misconception, this doesn't violate the ABA Code of Professional Responsibility, as long as the client is informed of how they will be charged. This is usually done in the retainer letter or an annual letter regarding firm cost recovery policies.

Bloomberg Law published "Law Firm Cost Recovery Research". The report examines past,  current and expected cost recovery practices used by law firms. The survey targeted large, medium and small law firms. Since Bloomberg Law has been positioned as a non-metered system that lawyers should use, as needed, instead of worrying about cost recovery, they have a special interest in riding the tide as it ebbs away from online cost recovery.

 Key findings:

·         Law firms are recovering less of the research costs than they were 2 years ago.

·         The downward trend in the amount of research costs being recovered is most dramatic at medium and small law firms, despite the fact that those same law firms are more likely to provide training on such policies than large law firms

·         The cost of legal research and client expectation/demand are the main drivers of cost recovery policies, regardless of law firm size. For more than half of the law firms, competitive advantage was cited as a significant factor as well.

·       Online legal research costs are recovered significantly more often than other kinds of research costs.

·      Most law firms have more than one person responsible for setting and managing their cost recovery policies. That group typically includes, a partner, practice group/ department chair and senior administrator. Librarian
·      Just under 60% of aw firms review their cost recovery policies annually. 
·    Document retrieval charges are the most frequently recovered costs. It is has a 68% recovery rate.  I assume that this is because these costs are relatively low  compared to online research and easy to document.
·    Large medium and small firms recover about the same level of online research (50%). Large firms are more likely to recover printing, scanning and photocopying than medium and small firms.

The Mattern Report
Mattern & Associates is a legal consulting firm that conducts an annual law firm cost recovery survey. It has a broader scope than the Bloomberg survey and covers traditional and emerging cost recovery areas. No one should be surprised that the survey reflects the continuing demand from clients for accountability, cost containment or cost reduction in all firm activities. This has impacted soft costs which includes online research. Here are some key trends:

· Increased pushback and refusal to pay for certain items by clients

· Downward pressure on rates and net realization

· Continued preference by clients to reimburse firms for hard costs

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Practice Innovations:" InSourcing, Outsourcing, Leveraging Alumni, Pitching in the Playoffs, Total Library Service Management, Professional Development and Project Management



The latest edition of Practice Innovations from Thomson Reuters was just released and it includes an interesting array of articles of interest to law firm executives in a wide ranges of areas including, strategic sourcing, business development, alumni relations, knowledge and library management, professional development and project management. Below you can link directly to articles of interest.

The Ins and Outs of Sourcing by Lisa Gianakos, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP

Understanding the Value of Your Alumni by Sharnon Melt Abrahams, Foley and Lardner LLP; Sarah Finesberg-Lombardi, Select-Mind, Inc.;  Jennifer Young, Foley and Lardner, LLP

Prepping Your Team for the Playoffs by Patrick Fuller, LawVision Group and Linda Will, Thompson & Knight, LLP

Total Library Service Management: A Framework for Success by Lynn Oser, IMS, LLC

Professional Development: on the Rebound? by  Joyce Greene

Project Management with an Organizational Psychology Approach by Elaine Egan, Shearman & Sterling, LLP

For More information on Practice Innovations:

The Practice Innovations Editorial Board
About Practice Innovations
Past Issues

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Digital Resource Management in A Mobile World: Onelog Mobile There's An App for That!

This week, Apple approved the Onelog mobile APP which is  now is available via the Apple APP Store.

Onelog Mobile App

In the past decade we witnessed the acceleration of law libraries morphing from print to digital collections. In response librarians needed usage data to determine the ROI for high ticket digital resources. They needed a tool to improve cost recovery by requiring client number validation before sign-on. Several products  emerged to address that need: Lookup Precision, Research Monitor and Onelog.  With the proliferation of tablets, Ipads and Smartphones, and increased  lawyer mobility, librarians knew they were losing the ability to track an increasing share of digital resources use. This week Onelog became the first vendor to close that gap with the introduction of two products: Onelog Mobile for PC and Onelog Mobile for iPhone/iPad.

The Onelog product which was first released in 2004 addresses several management problems. It records usage of electronic resources, it manages and saves individual passwords,  It can  require a lawyer to provide a client number for designated products, and facilitates that process by allowing them to look up a client number when it is not known.  Over the years they have improved both the interface and the reporting capabilities of the Onelog product, but this week's announcement breaks new ground in addressing the latest challenges of digital resource management in a mobile world.

Today's lawyer performs  research wherever an Internet connection is available and he or she performs it on a range of different devices.  Onelog has now developed a solution which allows a lawyers' passwords to travel with him or her. According to James Wright,  Onelog Product Director, "Our focus has been to make the introduction of Onelog Mobile as simple as possible.  So, to use Onelog Mobile on your iPhone or iPad simply register while at the office, download the App and enter your registration details, then use it. IT Departments needn’t do a thing.  We are very proud of our Onelog Cloud Service that makes this possible."

Onelog Mobile – Two Solutions in One


Off-Network Access, Password Provision and Usage Analytics for PC’s & Smart Devices

Onelog Mobile for PC will enable Onelog to provide single sign-on access to content, even if your network is down or user bypasses Citrix when remote. This advancement can be a valuable tool for your disaster recovery efforts. Furthermore, Onelog Mobile for PC will monitor usage (even when off the network) and automatically sync user passwords & usage.

Onelog Mobile for iPhone / iPad has been designed to offer a solution that is fully automated,  this requires zero involvement by IT. Onelog will securely login users, insert validated numbers, require comments (when appropriate) and monitor usage. Onelog Cloud Sync, another technological advancement for seamless and secure integration will encrypt all data and report usage when devices never connect to the network.  A lawyer can use his or her personal iPad, download the Onelog Library Portal APP, navigate to resources and report usage via the fully automated and secure Onelog Cloud Sync.