Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Bloomberg Law App Delivers Personalized Feeds and Access to Saved Documents

                  
Bloomberg BNA has released a new app for iPhones and Android phones designed to provide Bloomberg Law subscribers with timely, personalized content. The app is available to Bloomberg Law subscribers at no additional charge from the App Store and Google Play.


Unlike other legal apps, this Blaw app doesn’t attempt to support the legal research process. It is designed to do a few things really well. And these few things are of particular interest to a commuting lawyer or a lawyer with a few minutes in between meetings. Read a news feed on a client, scan the latest corporate rumors, check out a company profile for an upcoming meeting. Look up  bio of a judge a attorney and executive. Scan the BNA Newsletter headlines and read stories of interest.  According to  Joe Breda, Executive Vice President, Product, at Bloomberg BNA“ This new app brings not only an added mobility to their service, but was designed to specifically deliver actionable, personalized content, seamlessly from the app to desktop and back again."  The "value add" of this app is the promise of bringing productivity to “down time” by overcoming frustration points such as  lost  network connections or time in a reception area.

 One of the features which I think is particularly useful is the automatic synching between a lawyer’s document queue in Bloomberg Law and the app. Any document that a lawyer has added to their reading queue when using BLaw will automatically synch to the app and will be available for review even when a phone is in “airplane mode” or loses its network connection

The new Bloomberg Law app allows users to:

·         View news and analysis targeted to their interests

·         Follow news, litigation, and market performance of clients, prospects, and other companies on their Watchlist

·         Read BNA Law Reports and get email notifications

·         Receive the latest Bloomberg Law alerts for legal and news searches

·         Access legal documents and news articles within their reading Queue – online or offline – and maximize workflow efficiency with documents seamlessly synched between desktop and mobile app

·         Easily track dockets, opinions or bills in their interest areas

·         Share legal documents and news with other Bloomberg Law subscribers
 

Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg BNA’s flagship legal and business intelligence, news, and research platform, is designed for leading legal professionals who are focused on delivering superior client service. By integrating news, company and financial data with exceptional analysis, primary and secondary legal research, and business development tools, Bloomberg Law delivers an advantage to legal professionals handling the most complex legal matters.

 

About Bloomberg BNA

Bloomberg BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, is a leading source of legal, regulatory, and business information for professionals. Its network of more than 2,500 reporters, correspondents, and leading practitioners delivers expert analysis, news, practice tools, and guidance - the information that matters most to professionals. Bloomberg BNA's authoritative coverage spans a full range of legal practice areas, including tax & accounting, labor & employment, intellectual property, banking & securities, employee benefits, health care, privacy & data security, human resources, and environment, health & safety.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Practice Innovations: BYOD, Gamification, Mobility, Decentralized IT in Law Firms

 The latest issue of Thomson Reuters Practice Innovations focuses on  a range of IT related issues.



Bring your own (BYO) Everything: How BYO is Transforming Technology in the Workplace
By Don Philmlee ,Legal Technology Consultant, Washington, DC

Internal Lawyer Mobility-Thoughts on Reducing Risk and Adding Value
By Elaine M.Egan, Manager of Information Center, Sheaman & Sterling LLP, New York, NY and
William P. Scarbrough, Chief Operating Officer, Bodman PLC, Detroit, MI

 By Conrad J. Jacoby. Cofounder, Seventh Smural and Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Decentralized IT Management: We’re All In “IT” Together
 By Lynn Watson, Director, Information Resource Technologies, Hogan Lovells US LLP., Washington, DC

Using Social Networks as a Catalyst for Building Relationships

 By John Corey President and founding Partner, Greentarget, Chicago, IL


Gamification In Law Firms? Game On!
By Ronda Fisch. Director of Research & Library Systems, Reed Smith LLP. Pittsburgh, PA: Robert Klan, KM Senior Web Coordinator, Reed Smith LLP, Pittsburgh, PA;And Johann Widjaja, Practice Innovation Analyst, Reed Smith LLP, Philadelphia, PA





Monday, February 24, 2014

The Wisdom of Colleagues: Results from the Start/Stop Survey: Paper is Out Apple Devices Are In.

 I am tempted to declare  2014 as the year of the dumpster and the iPhone.

The most overwhelming trend articulated by respondents to my January 3rd poll is the embrace of all things “Apple:” iPhones, iPads, minis, Macs. Theme number 2:  Paper is out. Respondents are ditching all manner of paper resources, reporters, transfer binders, archives, paper invoices, loose-leaf services, back issues of journals, books, files, CFRs, archival copies.
 
 
The two trends may be related. As light weight portable, personalized smart devices proliferate in law firms, and as publishers have responded with apps and platforms for streaming updates, it is becoming easier to abandon reliance on print. The one technology which was conspicuous by its absence is eBooks.
 
 
On the process and performance side, professionals are moving closer to the stakeholders, working in practice groups and for clients. New projects are "value added" initiatives to help lawyers work smarter or retain new business. Efficiency initiatives include centralization, reducing administrative work, and streamlining workflows.
 
 
The responses on the introduction and cancellation of various products highlights the ongoing engagement of information professionals in the analysis of ROI for existing products  and the continuous assessment of new products to meet emerging practice needs. In the "new normal" of law firms economics - there is  a "zero sum" budget process --- an old product must go for a new product to get in.
The responses below are derived from an informal online poll I conducted from January 3 through January 15th 2014.
New Initiatives: 

·        Competitive Intelligence Moved to Library

·        Establishing “roaming librarian program” using iPads

·        Participating in RFPs

·        News aggregations platform

·        Embedding research staff in practice groups

·        Working directly with clients

·        Creating a wiki or a blog

·        Knowledge management initiative

·        Moving document storage to the cloud

·        Implementing research workflow tool

·        Creating workflow for digital license renewal tracking and ROI

·        Centralized billing

·        Barcoding the collection

·        Creating practice guides for practice group pages

·        Add web discovery to OPAC

·        Saving all research in a filesite folder 

New Products 

Software 

·        MS Lync

·        iPass

·        Asana – Project management software 

Research Products

·        Intelligize

·        TLO

·        BloombergBNA

·        RBSource

·        WeslawNext

·        Knowledge Mosaic

·        Manzama

·        PLC (now called Practical Law PL)

·        Asana – Project management software
Free resources

·        Feedly

·        Lawfirmsearchengine.com

STOPPING 

The End of Print

Respondents are ditching all manner of paper resources, reporters, transfer binders, archives, invoice files,loose-leaf services, back issues of journals, books, files, CFRs. To the extent the people are retaining print they are engaged in streamlining processes relating to the handling of print. 
Processes Stopped

·        Binding law reviews

·        Original cataloging

·        Stamping books with library name

·        Recovering for online research

·        Delegating invoice processing to a clerk

·        Don’t automatically give both Lexis and WL passwords to attorneys

·        Distributing deskbooks

·        Routing print periodicals

Technology Abandoned

·        Blackberries
Products Cancelled

·        Move to sole provider cancelling either Westlaw or Lexis

·        Intelligize

·        Loislaw

·        Intelliconnect

·        Westlaw Business 

Thanks to everyone who responded to the survey!

Friday, February 14, 2014

PLL Summit V: Explores "The Voice of the Client" -- Top Ten Reasons to Attend

The PLL Summit is still going strong. It  has grown from an experiment born of the financial crisis  and the "new normal" in law firms which was hammering law firms into  a "must attend" program for private firm librarians and information professionals who want to stay on the "cutting edge" of issues impacting their firms. The Summit is held in conjunction with the AALL Annual Meeting in San Antonio Tx on July 14, 2014.

This year's Summit is Co-Charied by Marcia Burris, Sr. Manager, Library Services at Ogletree Deakins and Cheryl Niemeier, Director of Library Services at Bose & McKinney.

This year's topic “The Voice of the Client”  will explore  ways librarians can help their firms deliver legal services more efficiently and add value through client-facing initiatives. As in the past, Summit V will include moring sessions which provide  "high level strategic perspective" including a panel of in house counsel. The afternoon will offer a selection of more practical topics inviting attendee participation.

Cheryl Neimeier Posted the Top Ten Reasons For attending the Summit:
10. Escape the office for several days and spend time in popular San Antonio, Texas

9. Attend the destined-to-be amazing Bloomberg BNA Welcome Reception on Friday evening

8. Funds an issue? No worries – grants are available to attend the Summit! Stay tuned to the Summit blog for more information

7. Networking, networking, networking!

6. Opportunity to attend two out of three interactive and sure to be practical afternoon programs

5. Learn more about the importance of research competencies

4. Explore practical means of adding value to and what your role can be in the firms client facing initiatives

3. Delve into the concept of EQ (Emotional Quotient) as it relates to our interactions with our client base

2. Hear from an amazing lineup of well-known and influential keynote, panel, and session speakers

And the number 1 reason….

You will leave energized and armed with key takeaways on how to help your firms deliver legal services more efficiently and add value through client-facing initiatives in fresh and innovative ways!

The Logistics:
Register here
Keep up to date at the Summit blog.

As always we thank the support of AALL leadership including Executive Director Kate Hagan and AALL President Steve Anderson.

Special thanks to : Bloomberg Law/Bloomberg BNA, Thomson Reuters, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business LexisNexis, and Fastcase  for their generous sponsorship of PLL Summit V.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Westlaw Analytics and eLibraries: Understand More, Improve Recoveries, Create a Non-Billable Zone

Thomson Reuters recently released  the long awaited Westlaw Analytics tool that will ultimately   now available to any subscriber law firm of  30+ attorneys.  In several weeks they will be releasing a new eLibrary platform which enables  subscribers to create and control “non-billable zones.” One product should enable firms to improve cost recovery and the other will help firms abandon or limit cost recovery for any  WestlawNext content they designate. This "odd couple" of developments  are in fact complimentary and both are  powerful tools for helping firms align  with “the new normal.” One provides "big data" insights into  utilization of a major cost center, the other  provides a platform for expanding unfettered access to  custom digital libraries... while also accelerating the migration of firms away from hardcopy books. 
replace the Quickview reporting product. Westlaw Analytics is

Drumroll Please! Introducing Westlaw Analytics  The Release of  Westlaw Analytics merits a drumroll if not fireworks. Westlaw Analytics is light years beyond the old workhorse Quickview which  could  generate a  file of billable and non-billable usage by client, by use, by date. and the retail, discounted or custom defined rates.  But Quickview  was short on actionable details or customizable and actionable insights. Non only is Westlaw Analytics more flexible and customizable than Quickview, but it provides powerful graphical views of the firms research activities. 

The Top 6 Things That Just Got Easier 

1.INVESTIGATING RESEARCH ACTIVITIES If you have ever fielded the " most dreaded call from a partner" asking  "How did an associate rack up that bill?”  Westlaw Analytics will finally enable a Library Director  to answer that question. WA allows you to identify the user, content accessed, search queries, documents printed  time spent and provide a meaningful explanation.

 

Billing Investigation
2. PROACTIVELY MANAGE USE - You can  now set up triggers which will alert you when costs by user or client exceed a custom defined threshold. 


Trend Analysis
3. TRAINING Identify the  associates who need training before they ruin their careers by  accidentally racking up indefensible changes. Conduct an intervention on a bad researcher so they don't become truly terrible researcher. 

4. PRACTICE GROUP AND OFFICE ANALYTICS Ever wonder which offices and practice group are the heaviest users. Where is the heaviest use of excluded content?. Identify offices or practices that are underutilizing the system. Now you can easily run  reports showing the trends by office and practice group.

5. ALERT THE STAKEHOLDERS - Billing partners or practice group managers can receive alerts advising them of the cost of  research  to date on a client or for a practice group. 

6. REQUIRE INFORMATION BEFORE EACH SESSION. There are lots of new features that can be used to customize the collection of data about lawyers and clients before any research is conducted. You can designated certain number as nob-chargeable, you can associate lawyers with practice groups. You can control the info lawyers have to give in order to log into Westlaw.
 

 There is One Caveat  Currently, research session costs are  computed in either retail rates or custom defined rates. Firms that use variable or fixed discounts to compute the client costs will have to wait for that functionality. However  in the meantime they can  take the retail cost and compute the discount on your own.

 According to Kris Gunderson ,Director, Business Operations & Integration. “We have had great feedback from our beta users, and I am very pleased with the foundation that is built and the possibilities this provides in the future, particularly as we continue to integrate our reporting experience with  accounting  systems such as Elite.”  

Even with the  limitation outlined above, this product is light years beyond the old Quickview platform and offers a "big data" view of a sprawling universe of client charges,  price points and user  behaviour. Everyone who has to manage and explain Westlaw spending is about to look a lot smarter. Embrace the “big data!"

Welcome to the Non-Billable Zone

 One of the most positive developments to follow  the introduction of  ”Flat fee billing” in the 1990's  was the creation of  CUIs “custom user interfaces.” The first CUI was the simple “find and print”  function. CUI’s were often IP authenticated to allow lawyers to have unlimited access to certain kinds of content without charging a client. An IP authenticated "Find and print"  CUI  function allows a user to retrieve any document using  any citation recognized by Westlaw (cases, statutes, regs, law reviews, etc) . Over the years, customer defined CUIs were developed for a variety of subsets of data, digital treatises, dockets, SEC filings. Different law firms had different philosophies regarding the type of content should be provided without a “chargeback" to a client or what kind of CUI would serve their needs.



 

IT’S A SUNK COST --- USE IT! While many firms have signed flat fee contracts, they often fail to embrace the logical extension of the contract-- it’s a sunk cost and a fixed cost  so the more you use it the higher your ROI. Flat fee contacts provide an opportunity to create benefits for clients and the firm. Yet firms have often failed to develop a clear strategy to maximize the benefit of these contracts. They continue encouraging lawyers to avoid online research and to use it only after less effiicient strategies have failed.Since a lawyers time is not free there is a cost for encouraging inefficiency that is often overlooked.

Years ago after signing a “flat fee” contract at an  Amlaw 100 firm, colleague  Ron Friedmann and I conducted a study to determine which was cheaper: printing cases from Westlaw or using paralegals to pull the reporters and copy the cases? The study determined that printing cases from Westlaw  was hands down a cost saver for both the client and the firm. Exploiting the flat fee contract can result in the reduction of spending on treatises, codes and reporters. Eliminating print also which results in reduction of the cost of space and staff time for processing materials  ( check in, cataloging ,circulating, shelving).

 Embracing the Future In Historical context, the original West Publishing Company (now owned by Thomson Reuters)  fumbled their entry into the digital world by trying to protect print revenue. The original Westlaw  included  only the headnotes describing the points of law and not the full text of the opinions. You had to go to the print reporter to read the case. This ambivalence allowed Lexis then owned by industrial giant Mead Paper Company  to clobber West the reigning king of legal publishing. It is clear that Thomson Reuters sees the changing  landscape in the legal market and is making no pretense of protecting print. They are moving from content to process and are clearly encouraging subscribers to migrate from print to digital by facilitating the creation of custom eLibraries. Promoting enhanced functionality in eLibraries may also signal a step back from more investment in the Proview eBook platform.

Enter eLibraries Next Month Westlaw Will be giving the administrators of  every WestlawNext account the ability to create and manage their own “non-billable” zones. And the tools are easy to use! Here’s what the eLibrary widgets will offer: 
 
·        The law firm will control the creation,  editing and management of  the eLibrary experience.

·        They require no significant technical investment

·        Users get the enhanced experience provided by WestlawNext, including Global Search, Foldering, Highlighting and Notes

·        Access can be linked to firm intranet or portal environment as with traditional eLibraries.

·        New functionality allows users to toggle directly to eLibrary pages within any Westlaw session.

·        Usage of eLibraries can be tied back to individual users to enhance analytics.

·        UI coloring and messaging clearly signal when they are entering or leaving an eLibrary or non-billable zone. No surprises!

·        Firms make their own decision on using  client/matter to associate with usage.

·        Admins may share pages with entire firm or subsets of users (such as practice groups).

·        Firms can create an unlimited discreet pages.

·        Pages may include key functions or tools, such as KeyCite or Find.

 What does this mean for WL? What does this mean for Customers?

A year ago TR announced that they were  no longer in the content business. Then then they acquired the Practical Law Company workflow platform. They kicked off this year with the announcement that they had appointed the first female President of TR Legal, Susan Taylor Martin. A recent  Law Technology News interview  contains this quote from Martin commenting on the disrupted legal market: “There's tremendous opportunity, but to see that, you've got to give up an attachment to something that's been very good to you in the past,” That something may just be the print publications.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Researching Obamacare:1,000 Pages of Law + 20,000 pages of Regs. What's a Lawyer to Do? Wolters Kluwer Launches the Health Reform KnowlEDGE Center


While there is much disagreement about both the substance and policy behind the Affordable Care Act,  it can be universally stipulated that it is a complex law  which promises an increasingly complex implementation.  The law itself is about 1,000 pages long and to date  the implementing  federal regulations are reported to number in excess of 20,000 pages which impact over 700 sections  of the Code of Federal Regulations. Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sibelius testified to a House Committee  in December 2013  that she didn’t know how many pages of regulations there are. According to a recent report in Politico "Some of the most important actions ahead may be impossible to predict until after the initial open-enrollment period ends on March 31st."

 But that’s not the whole story!

The ACA also dovetails with the substantial body of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare law and regulation. Then there are the state laws and regulations related to the implementation of the ACA insurance exchanges. Add to this brew, the shifting time lines and the recent cascade of postponements and exceptions. 

 What is a lawyer to do? Wolters Kluwer is betting that they have developed the answer. 

Today Wolters Kluwer is releasing the Health Reform KnowlEDGE Center. The product is designed for legal, health care, compliance and human resource professionals. The  ACA law and regs have been developing since the law was passed in March 2010. It was not until the Supreme Court rendered the opinion in The National Federation of Independent Business v Sibelius   in June 2012  that   a crescendo of need began to build in the legal world clamoring for reliable practice guidance on the ACA.

The Supreme Court Opinion signaled to law firms and businesses that it really was time to get ready for ACA. Health Care Practice groups and teams were formed, but they all faced a common need to find  current reliable sources of laws, regulations and commentary. Since the ACA cuts a swath across so many traditional practice groups, the WK product was built to support lawyers practicing health, benefits, tax , labor or insurance law. The promotional materials for the KnowlEDGE Center promise a reliable source for quick answers to complex questions.

The Health Law KnowlEdge Center Dashboard

Wolters Kluwer developed the KnowlEDGE Center to provide  is a single source solution for multiple market segments: law firms, in house counsel, corporate compliance offices,  health care providers and insurance companies. 

 “This [product] answers a key need for one source of reliable information about implementation of the ACA,” said Nicole Stone, director of the Health Reform KnowlEDGE™ Center.  “Our single solution enables users to survey the transforming health reform landscape in its entirety and then gain detailed insights into every area and every new development important to them. Recognizing the importance of this evolving area we plan to continue investing heavily in health reform resources and will introduce an enhanced alert system in March 2014.”
The KnowlEDGE Center Includes Several Especially Interesting and Innovative Components

1. Topical Navigators Provide "Point of View"  Research Topical Navigators  allow users to  research issues from what I think of as their “point of view” depending on whether they are representing an insurance company, a beneficiary  or  an employer.   You are allowed to select your context and navigate into the issues as they impact that market segment. Smart Chart technology will compare the impact of ACA on various issues and provide links to primary authority.
Health Reform Topical Navigator

2.  Tracker / Calendar – This feature will insert deadlines into a lawyers Outlook calendar and send alerts when there are changes to deadlines. Dates can be sorted by law, regulation or deadline.
Law and Regulatory Calendar/Tracker
3.Smart Charts – WK takes the innovative  technology of their smartcharts and applies it to specific ACA issues,  exchanges, contraception etc. Smart Charts – Allow you to compare the law and regs across states.
Smart Charts Compare Laws Across Jurisdictions



4. Health Reform Law Look Up

The ACA amended over 500 provisions of The Social Security Act which is the backbone of the Medicaid and Medicare programs. The Health Reform Lookup feature identifies all of the amended provisions of the Social Security Act and the 18 other Federal Laws impacted by the ACA. It also tracks changes to the ACA since it was first passed.

Health Reform Law Look Up

4. Collaboration.  Users can Download content to spreadsheets, documents or email and  share information  with colleagues and clients  on a non-systematic basis. (Mass distribution requires a separate license). This feature is not new for WK  but it is so important I just have to keep saluting WK for their “Sanity in licensing” feature which they introduced with the launch of their Daily  Reporting Suite. Yes, in the ordinary course of business, lawyers need to share licensed information with colleagues and clients. They shouldn’t have to stop to renegotiate a license before they hit "send"!

 The Health Reform KnowlEDGE Center  - Additional Features

In addition to the “killer apps” outlined above, the KnowlEDGE Center "dashboard" is chocked full of useful content and features:
  • Quicklinks include  newsletters, expert analysis, laws and regs,law & health blog.
  • The alert center delivers custom alerts on a daily or weekly basis. Provides links to primary sources and expert analysis.
  • Direct links to the Medicare and Medicaid guidance
  • Direct links to ERISA and IRC
  • Coverage of all grants, demonstration projects and government programs found in the ACA
  • Practical Know how and checklists
  • The regulatory alert center tracks change to custom filtered results
  •  Other resources: include links to federal agencies and other related websites CMS, HHS, IRS, FDA, state  Insurance exchanges,
  • Top Stories 
  • Regulatory Alerts 
  • Agency documents (CMS Letters, GAO reports, IRS documents etc.
  • Primary sources: laws, regulations, caselaw, administrative decisions
  • Fun Features: Fact of the Day, Poll of the Week, twitter
  • Mobility the center has apps for iPhone, ipad, Droid and BB – latest news  can be filtered by topic or jurisdiction
NOT GOOGLE. Legal information professionals are routinely challenged to explain the ongoing need for purchasing research products from commercial publishers in a post-Google world. The ACA is the poster child  of laws which illustrate the limits of Google as an effective legal research tool for  lawyers because they have ethical obligations to avoid malpractice. Of course the market has changed and there is resistance to paying for terabytes of  "plain vanilla" primary source law  which lacks editorial enhancements or  is linked using semantic technologies and intelligence. 

All the major legal publishers, LexisNexis, BloombergBNA and Thomson Reuters - Westlaw are shifting from content to process, from search to context, and weaving process and analysis into their platforms. Wolters Kluwer reports that they developed the KnowlEdge Center in 4 months by marshaling the technologists and editorial teams across all the product units which are touched by the ACA: insurance, labor, benefits, tax. The other major legal publishers have collected the ACA primary laws, regs and collateral materials but as of today Wolters Kluwer has claimed a significant lead in the ACA practice space with the release of the Health Law KnowlEDGE Center.
 
According to Bob Lemmond, President and CEO of Wolters Kluwer Law & Business “The Health Reform KnowlEDGE™ Center is one example of our many customer-engaged innovations. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business is taking our deep domain expertise and effectively combining it with customer insights and technical excellence to devise solutions that tackle today’s legal and regulatory challenges in both the business and practice of law.”

Rumors of Wolters Kluwer's demise in the legal market are premature. The KnowlEDGE Center combined with the upcoming release  of the“Cheetah ” platform  which I wrote about in December, suggest that WK may indeed be “getting its Groove back.”

Related Posts:

Can Wolters Kluwer Get Its Groove Back? Can Cheetah Outrun the Market?
Wolters Kluwer Launches Daily Reporting Suite Built for Collaboration and Copyright Complaince