Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thomson Reuters Enters Exclusive Alliance with Congressional Quarterly In Current Awareness Push


Thomson Reuters  is no slouch when it comes to monitoring, but monitoring is not an area where they were regarded as cutting edge. Westlaw has developed a number of monitoring products over the years, Westclip for legal and news updates, Keycite Alert and West docket alerts. All reliable and unexciting tools that seemed a response to competition rather than the result of a burst of inspiration. TR's recent moves suggest that the company is  now ready to put its "brain trust" and it's money behind a serious current awareness strategy..The new alliance with CQ is but one component of a larger plan. The CQ content will be part of a new "Practitioner Insights "offering on WestlawNext.

Taking a Slice of the CI Pie. CI attempts to respond to  the nagging need of every lawyer to know "what Subscribe to PPMIS blog and newsletter for anesthesia billing and servicesjust happened, what might happen next and what does it mean for my client."  There has been a dramatic upswing in the field of publishers and products competing to dominate the law firm CI market. The lawyer as rainmaker has created an inexhaustible need to gain actionable legal and business intelligence ahead of  both their clients and competitors.   TR already as a wide range of  legal and business content, they have shown a growing appetite for new content and new alliances.  CQ alliance follows closely upon TR announcement of an alliance with Wolters Kluwer to produce legal newsletters and the acquisition of Practical Law Company, primarily a "know how" publisher, but it also produces a steady stream of updates on practice issues for subscribers..

Current Awareness Drive in WestlawNext

Practitioner Insights TR will be offering new current awareness practice centers to Westlaw Next subscribers. These centers will contain rolling  news throughout the day. The content will combine breaking legal and business news from Reuters Legal news and Wolters Kluwer Daily news summaries with original, attorney-authored analysis of the latest legal news, and articles written by Westlaw attorney editors. Initial offerings will include Antitrust, Employment, Health, and Intellectual Property, as well as Bankruptcy and Securities.These practice center alerts will update on the WestlawNext platform but can also be set up as email alerts.

CQ Roll Call Washington Briefings
These briefings will be also be part of the Practitioner Insights offering.- The alliance with CQ will focus initially on  3 practice areas securities, banking and energy. CQ Roll Call Washington Securities Briefing, Washington Banking Briefing and Washington Energy Briefing will appear in Practitioner Insights pages on WestlawNext  later in the first quarter.

The CQ Roll Call  products were developed for the WestlawNext users but will leverage CQ Roll Call reporters and editorial staff who have a long and deep history reporting and analysis of Congressional  and Federal agency activities.

CQ Roll Call is itself the result of a series of mergers of legislative content publishers. The Economist Group purchased Roll Call in 1992 and  Roll Call's chief competitor Congressional Quarterly in July 1999. A month before that purchase CQ had also purchased their main online  competitor Legiislate  from the Washington Post.

The Alert Center TR is also preparing to launch an major new ;Alert Center on Westlaw Next. This new alert center will integrate a wider range of content from a variety of Westlaw and TR content sets for to provide breaking news alerts on legal, business, client and industry news. It will allow the delivery of alters in a wide range of formats including, email, XML,RSS and HTML. These alerts can be delivered within the firm or sent out to clients. It appears to be more directly competing with the LexisNexis Publisher product. This alerting center will allow lawyers to control their alerts, but will also have an a firmwide administrative center where alerts can be managed at the practice group and firm level.


 The Great Legal Publishing Industry Content Grab. TR's harvesting of new content sources may be part of a larger  "current awareness" strategy but the broader market trends also suggest that it is a general competitive strategy.for all the "big 3"  legal publishers. Dominance in the legal publishing industry appears to hinge as much on grabbing exclusive content as on enhancing platform functionality. In December there were reports that Bloomberg may be negotiations to purchase the Financial Times Bloomberg  acquired the Bureau of National Affairs in 2011. Within the last two years Lexis Nexis  purchased Law360 and Knowledge Mosaic and entered into a exclusive alliance with American Lawyer Media. It is also rumored that they have extended its exclusive relationship with Dow Jones/Factiva for several more years.

Here is a link to the Thomson Reuters  press release.










Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gamify This! Celebrate National Puzzle Day With a New Legal Research Genius Crossword Challenge

While the legal digerati are gathering in New York for Legal Tech, you can sharpen your pencil and contemplate the esoterica of legal research.

Clarification: Q. 8 Down should read: Star of this "legal" TV drama greeted law librarians at the Westlaw AALL party in 1987."

Questions?: email: jogdc@verizon.net


 TO ENTER CONTEST Email your answers or scan your completed puzzle to jogdc@verizon.net. The first person or team  to send the correct answers will be named the second Dewey B Strategic Research Genius. Answers will be posted after a winning submission is received.



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thomson Reuters Legal Announces New Strategic Direction: Content no Longer King, Shift to Client Centric Platforms

Yesterday  Thomson Reuters held a pre-Legal Tech "summit" for legal journalists and bloggers. At the meeting they previewed several  new products but the "jaw dropper" for me was the announcement  of a dramatic change in strategic priorities.The products were impressive, but the bold change in identity and trajectory  are integral to anticipating how the company and their products will evolve going forward. I  can't possibly do justice in a single post to the complexity of the products, but I provide a brief summary below.

The New Direction Mike Suschsland, President of the Thomson Reuters Legal opened with the announcement that TR Legal was evolving from a content company to a software company focused on providing integrated platforms supporting total workflow, collaboration and mobility. Westlaw content will remain a key component of their offerings. In the past all of the Legal products have been built around Westlaw content. Going forward, the new platforms will be client and matter centric.

The drivers of this change are obvious.

Financials The financial models and market assumptions that made Westlaw highly profitable have changed. Legal content is increasingly commoditized and the disruptions in the legal market have undermined the traditional pricing and cost recovery model for online legal research.

Changing Practice of Law. TR studied the practice experience of lawyers and determined that while TR could provide lots of products, they were not well integrated and they didn't optimize the efficiency of a lawyer's workflow.

Technology. The cloud combined with ubiquitous mobility presents new opportunities to support the needs of lawyers practicing  as in-house counsel, in government as well as large and small law firms. Interoperability is a key feature. TR products will integrate with standard workflow products such as email and document processing and all mobile devices. Bob Schhukar, Global Head of Mobile Technology articulated the focus on improving the mobile user experience. They want to create experiences that make lawyers smile. Kris Nimsger, Managing Director Litigation Solutions, discussed how TR was positioned to compete in the legal space for cloud services and develop new cloud based products.

The Products 

Here is a brief summary of the products that were introduced. More details to follow in future posts.

Concourse

Eric Laughlin, Managing, Director Corporate Counsel, provided a demo of a new product for In House counsel, called Concourse that provides an integrated desktop that weaves standard software applications such as email and document processors with  both existing TR products such as WestlawNext, CaseNotebook and completely new TR products that will provide a complete desktop for all of an in house counsel's responsibilities. It will support collaboration with internal colleagues as well as outside counsel.

Thomson Reuters Elite, Current Awareness Products

Allison Guidette, Managing Director Law Law Firms, introduced a new approach to business development products which leverage, Elite business analytics, TR news as well as new monitoring and news delivery platforms. They will be releasing a new legal current awareness product in February, a new suite a Practitioner Insights newsletters what will reside on WestLawNext practice pages or can be delivered by Push." My Business Development Mobile." will deliver customer focused  data from the finance and risk products to lawyers mobile devices.

Firm Central

Karl Florida, Managing Director, Small Law Firms and Consumer introduced a tightly integrated desktop for small law firms which addresses virtually every aspect of law firm management and practice into a single interface. It includes contacts, calendars,  email, time and billing, drafting, research and matter management. It is cloud hosted, mobile and built for collaboration.
.
The White Space In Between

I was a bit disappointed to see that there was not yet, and I emphasize "yet," a big solution for large law firms. I assume that such a platform is being developed somewhere in the "white space" between Concourse and Firm Central. After all if in-house counsel, migrate en masse to Concourse, large law will have to demand access to the Concourse collaboration tools. Not a bad strategy  to  have large law chase the products that TR has already embedded in the client's desktop. Assuming that "concourse" does "take off."







Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bloomberg Law Releases Tax Practice Center: Should CCH and RIA be Worried?

This morning Bloomberg Law will be releasing one of its more significant new practice centers., a Tax Practice Center. With this release Bloomberg is leveraging some of the  "crown jewels" which it acquired in the purchase of the Bureau of National Affairs.

 Greg McCaffery, Bloomberg Law CEO is quoted in the release: “This is a critical time for tax attorneys as the tax implications of new legislation are great, and we could see in 2013 the first overhaul of the tax code since 1986.The Tax Practice Center on Bloomberg Law provides tax professionals with an enhanced suite of research tools and relevant information to help them address these challenges, and ultimately provide their clients with well-informed solutions to even the most complex tax issues.”

Tax Lawyers Are Different

When I became a large firm librarian 30 years ago, I learned that Tax lawyers were the most intense users of their specialized research resources. Tax lawyers often assumed the role of "Library Partner" in order to assure that their  practice information needs were protected. It will be an interesting test to see if Bloomberg Law can erode any loyalty to the well entrenched CCH  (Wolters Kluwer) or RIA  (ThomsonReuters) tax products.

One particularly interesting feature is the linking of tax content to Bloomberg's corporate and Dealmaker information. Given the current  push in improve lawyers workflow to drive efficiencies, the linking of business and tax resources in one platform, could prove to be a very unique and compelling value proposition.

The No "Pay Wall" Advantage

While Lexis and Westlaw both have developed online  tax practice centers, they have had the disadvantage of being behind the "pay wall." The "pay wall" has always been unworkable for lawyers who literally work inside their codes and regulations all day long.

Bloomberg Law is similar to CCH and RIA in offering a full array of tax practice materials in an unlimited search desktop platform. The  Bloomberg Law Tax Practice Center integrates in-depth analysis, commentary, practice tools, news, case law and other primary sources. The "big hook" may be the presence of the well entrenched BNA resources, The Daily Tax Report and the Tax Management Portfolios which have been key adjuncts for even devoted users of CCH or RIA tax products.

The Good News: No January Budget Surprise

I know, you just finished your 2013 budget. If you are currently a Bloomberg Law subscriber, the good news is that you are not now faced with a :January budget surprise. Bloomberg Law subscribers automatically get access to all new content added to Bloomberg Law at no additional cost.

The Press Release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


January 15, 2013

CONTACT

Jill Goodkind

+1 212-617-3669

jgoodkind@bloomberg.net

BLOOMBERG LAW INTRODUCES TAX PRACTICE CENTER

The Latest Addition to the Innovative Research System Provides

Unparalleled Resources to Tax Practitioners

New York, January 15, 2013 – Bloomberg Law, the legal and business intelligence research system from the world leader in data and information services, today announced the launch of its Tax Practice Center. The Tax Practice Center integrates in-depth analysis, commentary, practice tools, news, case law and other primary sources, to give attorneys a comprehensive, nuanced understanding of the critical issues in tax law.

The Tax Practice Center delivers the tools and resources busy tax practitioners need to stay informed, navigate the latest changes to the tax code and communicate implications to their corporate and individual clients. Designed to streamline the research process for tax practitioners, the Tax Practice Center features unlimited access to an integrated suite of primary law and trusted secondary sources, such as Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Tax Report® and an extensive library of transaction and topic-specific Portfolios, which contain practical guidance written by leading practitioners and academics. All Bloomberg Law users now have access to the Tax Practice Center as part of their subscription.

“This is a critical time for tax attorneys as the tax implications of new legislation are great, and we could see in 2013 the first overhaul of the tax code since 1986,” said Greg McCaffery, Bloomberg Law CEO. “The Tax Practice Center on Bloomberg Law provides tax professionals with an enhanced suite of research tools and relevant information to help them address these challenges, and ultimately provide their clients with well-informed solutions to even the most complex tax issues.”

The Tax Practice Center features an enhanced Internal Revenue Code (featuring Bloomberg BNA editors’ notes), relevant practice tools and working papers; and integrates news, analysis, other primary sources and business information to give practitioners a fuller context for strategic scenario analysis. Also, as part of the Tax Practice Center, subscribers can quickly and easily access other uniquely positioned content sets, such as dockets, analysis and treatises, including Practising Law Institute (PLI) treatises.

Key functional features of the Tax Practice Center include the ability to research related primary and secondary sources with ease to save practitioners research time. Secondary sources from BNA, including Portfolios and other analysis, are clearly linked to primary resources including Internal Revenue Code, Public Laws and Treasury Regulations. Moreover, practitioners can find important documents using citation and Portfolio numbers with easy “Go To” search functionality. DealMaker Document Search offers model tax agreements and clauses, and practitioners have access to tax forms from the IRS.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Knowledge Mosiac: What Did LexisNexis Buy and Why DId They Buy It? What Will They Do With It? The Race for Content Continues

My first reaction to the LexisNexis purchase of Knowledge Mosaic was. "but why?" Doesn't Lexis already have much of the same content as KM in their own mega system, so why buy redundant content? My second reaction was a chill running down my spine as I recalled  the last time a mega vendor purchased a small securities research product ...it got really ugly. The Westlaw purchase of LivEdgar GSI was voted the second worst legal publishing merger by readers of this blog.. ( I personally voted for it as the absolute worst merger).

Ghosts of GSI/LivEdgar. In July 2005 Westlaw purchased Global Securities Information  which had developed the much beloved LivEdgar securities research product. GSI  had roots back to the pre-online days when 10Ks were retrieved by human hands conducting research in SEC reading room. in Washington, DC.  GSI had an extraordinary staff of expert researchers who delivered extraordinary client service . The staff had developed the trust of their clients in handling complex, "bet the farm" research projects to be delivered on short deadlines. Somehow WL overlooked the experience and "good will "resident in the GSI staff and within a short time the staff was gutted and the product began a long exile into the wilderness of lost products, lurching through a series of  name changes and reverses in strategic direction.

What did Lexis Buy And Why Did They Buy it?

Were they buying content, customers, technology or vision? Would they heed the hard lessons of the Westlaw/GSI deal? I spoke with Lexis executives, Karin Lieber, VP Sales, Strategic Accounts and Jeff Wallace who was appointed VP/GM Knowledge Mosaic to seek the answers to these questions. Wallace  had previously headed up the LexisNexis File and Serve product  before it was divested by Lexis.

According to Lieber and Wallace, the Knowledge Mosaic staff are considered key assets in the acquisition. They expect the KM employees to stay. Even Peter Schwartz, former President of Knowledge Mosaic will remain active in providing strategic advice on future developments, although he will not be involved in day to day operations. Schwartz's role is still evolving. And yes they hope that Peter will continue writing his very unique customer communications.

Lieber acknowledged that Lexis does indeed have much of the same content, as Knowledge Mosaic, but they were looking well beyond the content assets.   Lexis was interested in acquiring the  KM expertise and the processes for tagging and mark up of regulatory materials which they recognize as uniquely tailored to securities research. The KM staff has a unique knowledge of the needs of securities researchers.Lieber also pointed out that KM had expanded well beyond SEC materials and that KM had unique approaches to collecting a wide array of federal agency materials. They had in fact amassed a collection of special agency documents which were not widely available.

Is this part of a grand Lexis strategy ? How do the recent alliances and acquisitions hang together?

Lexis had entered into an exclusive alliance with American Lawyer Media in 2011. ALM  publishers newsletters, treatises and industry analysis. This was followed by the purchase of  newsletter publisher Portfolio Media with the suite of  Law360   newsletters in early 2012.  Was the purchase of KM part of larger "current awareness" strategy? Lieber acknowledged the similarities to the Law360 deal in which they also focused on the acquisition of people processes and content. In both cases the goal is to allow the unique cultures at Law360 and KM to remain independent and thrive. Lieber also acknowledged that since Lexis was a pioneer in developing technologies and platforms for legal content "push" and current awareness it is not a coincidence that they have recognized the value of leading edge news sources.  Lexis pioneered the first legal "push" product known as "eclipse"  in 1984 and "Tracer" in 1995 and "Publisher" in 2000.

What's to come?

Pricing There are  no immediate plans to change the pricing but Lieber acknowledged that as they focus on increasing functionality this will increase the value, which will in turn  impact price.

Stand Alone Knowledge Mosaic will remain an independent offering for the foreseeable future.

Content Development Acknowledging the deep subject matter expertise of the the KM staff, Wallace expects that these experts will provide guidance in developing new functionality for existing and future products. They are  in the process of developing a litigation focused product.

Integration. They anticipate that they will find ways to integrate KM with  LexisNexis Practice Advisor Solutions for securities and M&A. A key concern is that any integration with Lexis products should not diminish the functionality of KM.

Mums the Word They acknowledged that they had more ideas incubating which they were not prepared to discuss. However they  insisted that customer needs would guide their priorities.

Market Implications

After talking withe the LexisNexis executives I saw a greater similarity between the LexisNexis /Knowledge Mosaic deal  with the recently announced acquisition of PLC by Thomson Reuters.  Knowledge Mosaic has the potential for tying into a drafting solution such as Lexis Nexis  Practice Advisor and more directly compete with PLC as it gets integrated into TR's drafting tools.
While content remains king, it is becoming clear that the ability to deliver both content and process improvement is will drive the next wave of product solutions.

Related posts:
The Race for Content Continues: Thomson Reuters Acquires Practical Law Company;
Lexis Announces Acquisition of Law360;
The Worst Legal Publishing Merger: Can the Virtuous Circle Be Unbroken?

Monday, January 7, 2013

An Encounter With an ecoATM: It's Not Easy Being Green

I was fascinated when I read about the ecoATM several months ago. Brilliant idea --  recycling cell phones which are past their prime. But drat! the nearest ecoATM was over 2000 miles away in San Diego. What's not to like, clean out a junk drawer, hug the planet, walk away with some cash.  I loved the concept and when another news story ran on Saturday morning I checked again and found there was an ecoATM kiosk at the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington.. The exact place I had promised to take  my teenage daughter and friends... but first I headed to the junk drawer and found 7 dead cell phones.
 
The ecoATM  greeted me with a cute little animated robot and  a promise of "instant" cash. Not so fast!

As someone who spends my life trying to provide lawyers with "one click" solutions, I was shocked at how very "click filled" the experience was. I knew this wouldn't be as easy as pulling cash from a bank ATM, but this was like a Rube Goldberg version of Redbox. In addition to an abundance of clicking there are other unexpected elements as well. You have to scan a driver's license, you have to provide a thumb print, you have to remove your glasses while an electric eye validates that you are the person on the drivers license. After an initial scan of the cell phone the machine delivers a QR Code label for you to paste on the phone. Then you are directed where to dispose of the label backing so you don't litter. After identifying the model of the device, the machine delivers up the right jack wire, it swallows up the cell phone and the robot dances across the screen while the machine does more testing. And then about 20 minutes and a dozen clicks into the process you are told what your device is worth.... drum roll please... in my case $1!
 
So my first trial of the ecoATM cost me about 30 minutes of time and paid me an ROI of about 2 cents a minute.

In truth unless you have a recent model of an IPhone or Android - this is not about making money... you are just being green. And if you are thinking of hauling in a vintage 90s mobile phone with a carrying case, forget it, it won't fit in the slot.
 
 You do have an option at the end of the process to donate the money to a charity, but if you have really old cell phones, is it really worth the time investment even to make a donation?
   
 Note to ecoATM  Please just add a donation slot for the seriously time deprived and impatient souls like myself. I had 6 more cell phones in my bag, but I didn't want to invest the approximately 3 hours it would take to "process" them at the kiosk. Plus by the time I finished the first one, a line had formed behind me. I would have been happy to toss the remaining six in a donations bin.
 
See a  Video Demo Below:
 
Disclosure: screen above is not showing the first step in the process. You are many clicks in by the time you are attaching the wire. But it gives you an idea of how the machine works.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Race For Content Continues: Thomson Reuters Acquires Practical Law Company

Today Thomson Reuters and Lexis Nexis released almost simultaneous announcements that they were acquiring specialty legal information companies.

TR announced the acquisition of  PLC Practical Law Company and Lexis Nexis announced the acquisition of Knowledge Mosaic. Today's post will focus on the TR/PLC deal.

TR and PLC

PLC is a private company based in the UK which provides know-how and workflow tools. The acquisition of  PLC will have to undergo anti-trust review in both the US and the UK. While the press release promises nothing less than the transformation of legal workflow, TR executives offered no specific plans for integration with existing TR products. This vagueness may be due to the requirements of the  pre-merger waiting period or maybe  they don't want to tip their hand to their competitors. Additional details are contained in this FAQ.

No Immediate Changes

The PLC US business will remain an independent product in the portfolio of Allison Guidette, Managing Director, Large Law Firm Segment at Thomson Reuters. According to Guidette, TR recognizes the value of PLC's high quality editorial staff. Both TR and PLC pride themselves on their employment of attorney editors. PLC was a beneficiary of the recent recession which drove highly qualified Amlaw 100 lawyers into the job market. At PLC these lawyers have had a chance to build the kind of guidance tools which they wished they had had when they were in private practice.

What this will bring to PLC?

While PLC has a unique offering of drafting tools, sample clauses, "what's market" data and checklists, it has been regarded as being a little thin in providing "authority". Commentaries often lack citations to underlying authority. Presumably the TR alliance will enhance their access to the most current citations and updating tools so that they can more easily enhance their editorial analytics.

How Will TR  Leverage PLC?

Although the press release promised that "together we can create and integrated solution that changes the way lawyers practice," the TR executives I spoke with were not able to  provide more details on which TR  products or functions might be integrated with PLC. According to Guidette, TR plans to take some time to study the process improvement and workflow needs of lawyers in specific practices before deciding how PLC will be integrated with existing TR  products.

My Two Cents

When I first heard about the acquisition of PLC, I immediately saw opportunities in aligning PLC with the Westlaw Business and  Dealproof (now called Transactional Drafting  Assistant). The West KM product, also used in drafting which is in need of  a reboot and then there is WestlawNext which is continually growing in content and enhancements. I don't believe for a minute that PLC will be a stand alone product for long. The acquisition makes little sense if PLC is to be an island within an ocean of TR content and resources. TR like its competitors  wants to own every facet of a lawyer's desktop that they can. But owning the desktop will require deep integration of many current and future products.

Strategic Implications

Globalizing. PLC is deeply entrenched in the UK and beyond. So PLC may be a wedge which TR may use to gain ground on desktops outside the US. We can also not ignore that this comes on the heels of TR's recent alliance with Netherlands based Wolters Kluwer. WK is another publisher who owns serious "desktop real estate" in Europe.

No Cost Recovery. There are also the interesting implications of TR acquiring a product for which there is no market for cost recovery. As clients and law firms have soured  on cost recovery for online research, the acquisition of PLC is an implicit recognition of the fundamental change in the legal information marketplace. As one revenue stream dries up another vein must be tapped.

It seems like a smart deal for both sides of the table.  But as always I hope that it will be a three way win, which has a payoff for law firm and in-house counsel customers as well.

Tomorrow: LexisNexis Acquisition of Knowledge Mosaic. (OK - I lied - the Lexis-KM post will appear some time this week. My apologies.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Review: The Most Popular Dewey B Strategic Posts

In case you missed any of these. Here are the most popular posts of 2012:

Is Lexis the Next Acquisition for Bloomberg?   January 12, 2012

Life After Leverage: New Staffing Trends in Law Firms January 23, 2012

Welcome to Bloomberg Law: No Deals No Discounts No Apology February 12, 2012

"No Soup For You!" Are Legal Publishers Using A Seinfeld Episode as a Business Strategy?  February 15, 2012

Welcome to More on Bloomberg Law: BNA Debuts on the BLaw Platform April 3, 2012

Dewey Leboeuf and The Due Diligence Imperative. Let The Job Seekers Beware...Prestige is not enough.   May 8, 2012

Shake Up at Dow Jones! Can a Shake Up in Law Firm Access to the Wall Street Journal and Factiva Be Far Behind? June 20,1012

Law Libraries Transformed: Crowded Collaboration and Social Solitude (The Apple Store vs The Commons) July 18, 2012

Next Generation Legal Search Engines: WestlawNext, Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law: The Good, The Bad and The Baffling.  July 27, 2012

The Million Dollar Reference Desk: Are Librarians Selling Themselves Short? Ask Pearl!  October 10, 2012

My Secret Weapon: A Thanksgiving Reflection on Law Librarians November 27, 2012

My personal all time favorite:

Librarian as Hero: The Bard, The Bribe, The Bookseller, the "Cuban Cutie" and the Mystery of the Durham First Folio July 13, 2011