Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The ABA Journal Is Seeking Nominations For the 2015 Blawg 100: Nominate Your Favorite Legal Blogs!

The ABA Journal is seeking nominations for the 2015 "Blawg 100" which recognizes the best legal blogs. If you would like to nominate Dewey B Strategic or any other favorite law related blogs, fill out the form at this link. "Friend-of-the-blawg" briefs are due no later than 11:59  pm CST on August 16th.

About Blawg 100 Amici From the ABA Editor:

There is no specific criteria that a blogger can meet to be guaranteed a spot on the Blawg 100. And we think our list would suffer if there were. A blog’s whole can be greater than the sum of its parts, and a blog that never fails to post that daily update, has a beautiful design and an unwavering topical focus can very often have less of an impact than another blog that is less consistent on all fronts.

That said, please keep these criteria in mind when submitting Blawg 100 amici:
• We’re primarily interested in blogs in which the author is recognizable as someone working in a legal field or studying law in the vast majority of his or her posts.
• The blog should offer insights into the practice of law and be of interest to legal professionals or law students.
• The majority of the blog’s content should be unique to the blog and not cross-posted or cut and pasted from other publications.
• We are not interested in blogs that more or less exist to promote the author’s products and services.

LexisNexis Locks Up Another Legal News Gem With The Acquisition of the MLex Regulatory Newsletter

Today LexisNexis announced  its agreement to acquire MLex, a provider of international legal analysis and commentary on regulatory risk. MLex which started in Europe has become a an important resource for antitrust lawyers in the US.
The press release describes MLex as "an innovative media organization that has a track record of uncovering regulatory risk before it breaks in other news outlets. MLex focuses on providing insight, analysis, and commentary into key developments in regulatory risk. They employ an investigative approach combined with in-depth, forensic coverage of cases via an unrivaled team of experienced and expert reporters, qualified lawyers and industry experts in more than a dozen bureaus around the world, including Brussels, Washington DC, Sao Paolo, Hong Kong and San Francisco."

Lexis The Aggregator.  Lexis has a "thing" for news. With the launch of Nexis in 1980 they offered the first "full text" database of national newspapers.  In the past few years Lexis has shown a special interest in acquiring high quality legal news products which had developed a loyal readership. They acquired Knowledge Mosaic, a US regulatory news source and the suite of  Law360 newsletters. Law360 now publishes almost 50 topical and jurisdictional newsletters which cover a wide range of legal topics and the legal market. In addition, Lexis has an exclusive license for the American Lawyer Media archive of legal newspapers, as well as the current and archival news from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Last October Lexis acquired the Moreover news aggregation platform which Lexis relaunched as the Newsdesk platform in April of this year.  Lexis keeps strengthening it's hold on the  legal markets' insatiable hunger for  competitive intelligence resources to feed both business development and client advisory.

MLex will remain a stand alone product which will be strengthened by it's new access to the core LexisNexis legal and editorial content.

The legal market just needs to wonder what other legal news sources Lexis might have in it's acquisition pipeline. Will the next  specialty legal newsletter you read soon be a Lexis product?

____________________________________________
Here is a link to  the Press Release.



 

Friday, July 17, 2015

ProView Professional: Thomson Reuters Promises eBooks Which "Break the Book Paradigm"

It is no secret that I am not fond of ebook technology. Back in 2011 I described my concerns in a post eBooks: Why are Publishers Pouring Digital Content into 19th Century Wineskins? My personal reading includes novels, biographies  and histories in eBook format, but law books are different. I read monographs that are intended for sequential reading. Law books are evolving works which
require an iterative series of interactions by the researcher and continuous updating by the publisher. Many key  legal resources are massive multi-volume treatises with interconnecting parts which were broken into units called "volumes" due to the practical constraints of print publishing. A "volume" has no meaning in a digital world.  "Therein lies the rub." So it was rather brave of Thomson Reuters to ask me to look at their new ProView platform. But they began the conversation by alluding to my "Wineskins" post and assured me that they had addressed several of my major concerns. According to Scott Nelson, Head of Print and Advanced Media at Thomson Reuters, the new strategy is focused on "breaking the book paradigm" in order to make eBooks more powerful resources for lawyers. There are currently over 1,000 titles available in ProView Professional. All US legal titles will be added.

According to Thomson Reuters, ProView is "alive and well"  and they have been investing in creating the fundamental building blocks for a new eBook strategy. The.ProView Professional Reader was built to work on all standard computer and tablet platforms and to work when lawyers are offline. In addition, this will be TR's global eBook platform, which will be used in all legal and professional publishing units in all countries around the globe.

Until now, eBook solutions have been focused on providing access to individual lawyers. The initial release of ProView didn't address the logistic al challenges which law firm librarians face in managing eBook access to hundreds and maybe thousands of lawyers. Last week Thomson Reuters announced two new library solutions. They also introduced new features and some of them are quite significant. Some of them may even get me to change my mind about eBooks for lawyers.



The New ProView Professional Platform
ProView Professional Features:
  • Powerful and fast search capability.
  • Titles can be sorted by jurisdiction.
  • Navigate the table of contents
  • Print, email or create PDF documents from Proview
  • Multiple editions of the same title can be selected or searched.
ProView IP Access for Large Libraries - Breaking the Volume Paradigm

ProView Internet Protocol access offers enterprise wide access to all lawyers in an organization. This approach addresses my fundamental concern about early eBook platforms.

Search across all volumes and all titles!!!! Until now eBook platforms have only allowed searching of individual volumes. This feature alone would cause me to take a serious look at an eBook solution.

Personalization - Individual users will be able to use all of the personalization features including highlighting, adding notes and bookmarking. These notes will transfer to future editions.

Offline Access - Lawyers will be able to download volumes in advance when they know they will need to work offline.

Automatic Updating - Content will automatically be updated for lawyers accessing books using a browser. Lawyers who have downloaded a book will be prompted to download the update.

 Easier to find books- The platform presents the library as a stack of cards available for an individual account.The default display is alphabetical order. Titles can be sorted by jurisdiction.

Dynamic Search Results - One of the features I especially like is the keyword searching. The platform shows the progress of a  searche  and dynamically displays and re-ranks results moving the most relevant titles to the top of the results list. See screenshot below



Keyword searching across multipe titles
Add Notes and Highlights
ProView LMS ( Library Management Systems)

I totally agree that there is value in listing all of the eBooks a firm subscribes to in the firms catalog. However I would do the same thing with the IP authenticated books and allow lawyers to link from the catalog into the titles from the catalog.

Thomson Reuters indicated that there are still libraries that want to manage eBooks in the old "analog" fashion... lending one volume at a time, having circulation periods, placing holds. I am personally baffled by this. I believe that lawyers have a strong preference for "one click" solutions. Nonetheless I applaud the fact the Thomson Reuters is working with a major library management system provider.

ThomsonReuters also announced that they will be integrating ProView with the EOS library management system from Sirsi Dynex. According to the press release "The integrated library solution provides a unified search that enables users to see ProView eBook and physical titles together in the same catalog. Users also can see real-time availability. Library managers can quickly and easily sync thousands of titles across their library, and automatically download the latest ProView title information."

eLibraries vs eBooks
The success or failure of the eBook solution may in fact hinge on pricing more than technology. Thomson Reuters Proview Professional appears  to have overcome many of the technical obstacles of the first ProView platform.  Law firm budgets remain tight. Lawyers have not embraced eBooks as quickly as they embraced online databases. Many firms have implemented eTreatise libraries or "non-billable treatise zones" within their Westlaw contracts. Will the new personalization and mobility features in ProView Professional be sufficiently compelling to change lawyer behavior and to justify the additional cost to add an eBook version of the same content? Is Thomson Reuters bulking up the eBook platform because law firms have become focused on cutting their real estate costs ... and their physical libraries. I previously suggested that eBooks may be the "eight track tape of the 21st Century" but the ProView Professional Platform has come a long way. With the ProView LMS and IP solutions, Thomson Reuters has made it a lot easier for large law firms to manage eBook collections... but the every Library Director still needs to wonder..."If they buy the platform, will the lawyers  "buy into" an eBook solution?"

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2015 Fastcase 50 Award Winners Announced: Trailblazers Include Law Librarians, Access to Justice Pioneers, Legal Education Innovators, Legal Research Entrepreneurs and Bloggers

This morning Fastcase released their 5th list of entrepreneurs, innovators and trailblazers:

Katheen Martin - who is currently the Circuit Court Librarian, Montgomery County Maryland and
President of the Maryland Law Library Association. Kate is beloved by the private law librarian community because  when she was a Library Director at Morgan Lewis and PLL Chair in 2010 she came up with the idea of creating the PLL Summit.
Kate Martin
The Summit was designed to encourage a creative response to the "the great legal market meltdown" which began in 2007. The PLL Summit has become an important annual event and at which private Law Librarians gather to learn about the most innovative approaches to delivering information and knowledge services in the evolving law firm environment. This year's Summit which is July 18th is held conjunction with the AALL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. It will focus on "The Innovation Imperative." Since moving to the Montgomery County Circuit Court, Kate has continued to innovate by focusing on the role law librarians can play in Access to Justice. Last year she organized the first Access to Justice Summit Conference for Law Librarians. She continues to offer "Everday Law" workshops to help ordinary citizens who can't afford lawyers to understand the legal issues impacting their lives such as online privacy or housing issues.

Another Access to Justice Pioneer is Sheldon Krantz, a retired DLA Piper partner who came up with the idea of the DC Affordable Law Firm.Starting this fall, he will serve as the Executive Director to the newly created D.C. Affordable Law Firm, a joint endeavor between the Georgetown University Law Center, Arent Fox, and DLA Piper, to address the needs of the under served in the DC area. He literally wrote the book on how to reinvent law: "The Legal Profession: What is Wrong and How to Fix It."

David Mao - Deputy Director of the Library of Congress and formerly Law Librarian of Congress. Also formerly a private firm librarian at Covington & Burling. Could a real Librarian, and a Law Librarian at that be appointed as the  first holder of an M.L.S degree to be appointed as "Librarian of Congress?"  Just in time  to have a real library professional ---  as the greatest library on earth designs it digital future It's about time!

Great Blogger:
3 Geeks blogger Ryan McClead, Legal Technology Innovation Architect, Norton Rose Fulbright.

Legal Education Innovators:

Dean Andrew Perlman Dean, Suffolk Law School; Director, Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation; Director, Legal Technology and Innovation Concentration.

 Oliver Goodenough,Director, Center for Legal Innovation and Professor of Law, Vermont Law School; Faculty fellow, The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University

Research Product Innovators:
Gavid McGrane, CEO and Founder of Pacer Pro: Joe Mornin, Founder of Bestlaw ,
Pablo Arredondo Vice President of Legal Research, Casetext

Congratulations to all. And thanks to Fastcase for creating a platform which highlights excellence and innovation in the legal profession.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Thomson Reuters Practice Innovations: Legal Information Professionals and the Transformation of Law Firms: Intelligent Organizations, KM Metrics, Emerging Skill Sets, Training Attorneys, Digital Libraries and Law Firm Recruiting


The July Issue of Practice Innovations is out and just in time for the American Association of Law Libraries Conference, the issue is focused on legal information and knowledge professionals. Since law firms are knowledge intensive organizations, legal information professionals can play a critical role creating new workflows, driving productivity and innovation across law firm functions. Here are links to the articles in the July issue:


Building Workflows for the Intelligent Organization By Jean O’Grady, Director of Research Services, DLA Piper, Washington, DC

Developing the Right Skill Set for Legal Information Professionals of the Future: The State of Library School Education,  By Holly Riccio, Director of Library Innovation and Library Manager, O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, San Francisco, CA


Research Strategies: Training Attorneys to be Cost Effective Using Free or Fixed Rate Resources By Elaine M. Egan Head of Research & Information Services – Americas, Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York, NY; Linda-Jean Schneider, Electronic Resources Manager,Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Philadelphia, PA 


From Books to Bytes: The Transformation of Legal Research in Law Firms, By Jean O’Grady, Director of Research Services, DLA Piper,Washington, DC 


Law Firm Recruiting: Support the Recruiting Process By Ronda Fisch, Director of Research & Library Systems, Reed Smith LLP, Pittsburgh, Pa.


Measure Better to Manage Better By V. Mary Abraham, Above and Beyond KM, New York, NY

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fastcase 7: New Features, Faster Research, New Displays and Interactivity-- 10 Things I really like about Fastcase 7



Fastcase 7 Launch Screen



Today Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase provided me with a preview of Fastcase 7. The overall design of Fastcase 7 is geared toward exposing all of the Fastcase tools for discovery, analysis,  display and delivery. As illustrated in the screenshots below. Fastcase 7  packs a lot of design variety into a single screen. One of my early posts on  Fastcase “classic”  described it as a platform that allows lawyers to “think outside the list.” Fastcase 7 is a platform which invites lawyers into deep interaction with the content. Each screen has an amazing variety of visually distinct displays which invite a researcher to explore their search results in different ways.  

According to Walters this is the first major redesign since 2003.  Ed Walter feels confident that Fastcase 7 will successfully compete toe to toe with Westlaw Next, Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law. I would be interested in seeing a comparative test executed by and independent third party. 

The New Launch Page uses colorful block displays and exposes your recent searches, print queue and alerts. One box is devoted to "help." Searches can be executed in the search box at the top of the launch screen. 
Fastcase 7 Results screen

1. Exposing the Wow Feature. For the first time, the original “wow” feature – the interactive timeline” automatically displays. I completely agree with this move. The” interactive timeline” is so unique, no one looks for something they don’t know exist. 

2  The New Wow Feature – The Semantic Cloud. I can’t think of any other legal research platform that displays a word cloud. According to Walters, it is a sematic cloud, which displays concepts even if the exact term is not used in the case, the case can be retrieved in the list retrieved by clicking on the concept. 

3. Forecite – Fastcase’s algorithm identifies relevant cases which are not retrieved by your search terms. Forecite results will now display automatically in the side column. 

4. Beyond Borders. Fastcase can now search across multiple jurisdictions and multiple material types, (cases, AG opinions, HeinOnline law reviews). Jurisdictions can be selected from “picklists” or deselected on the fly. 

5. Authority Check. Cite checking results will display on screen without opening a new window. Results will automatically display  relevant interactive timeline and the” Bad Law Bot” results. Bad Law Bot which highlights cases with a negative history  – Has an new icon.  

6. Bottomless Pages. Never page forward again! I am an incredibly impatient person. I despise waiting for the next page of search results to load and display. In Fastcase 7 the entire results list displays automatically, you never have to page forward and wait for results to load. 

7. Aesthetic improvements. Like Steve jobs, Ed Walters is a self proclaimed type-font nerd. Fastcase 7 uses the Kepler font which  he believes is the optimal font for  reading text on a computer. Ed showed me a side by side comparison of the page on Fastcase classic and Fastcase 7 …. And I agree Kepler offers a dramatic improvement. 

8.Search History – Now Includes date of search and jurisdictions searched. 

9.Send Feedback Button. Users can easily send feedback from their search page. This is a feature which I am seeing on an increasing number of research platforms. It makes complete sense to “crowd source”  ideas for development or quickly identify performance problems using real time user feedback rather than waiting for a costly “ focus group.” 

10. Printing and delivery of results. One of the most common complains I hear about research platforms from research experts is they don’t offer researchers the ability to  have a variety of options for printing an delivery. Fastcase offers great flexibility and will allow searchers to deliver results in a zip file either as individual documents or as a single pdf  containing multiple documents.  

Fastcase 7 Case Display
When Can You Try It? Fastcase 7 will be in beta for the next year. Over the next few months current subscribers will be invited to get a special password which unlocks Fastcase 7 when they login to the classic Fastcase platform. 

See It At AALL.  Fastcase will also be providing demos to attendees of the American Association of Law Libraries Conference in Philadelphia July 18th 20th. They will no doubt get lots of feedback from that audience of super-searchers!






Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wolters Kluwer (Finally) Launches "Cheetah" Research Platform: Usability, Workflow and Context Drive New Design

Cheetah may hold the record for traveling the longest runway from product preview to rollout. I first wrote about Cheetah in a post "Can Wolters Kluwer Get Its Groove Back?", back in December of 2013. At that time  the product had been in development for years and I believed that release was imminent. In July 2014 the Wolters Kluwer booth at AALL was one of the most buzz-worthy exhibits and almost everyone in the exhibit hall was sporting Cheetah design sunglasses. Even though Cheetah generated a lot of interest, Wolters Kluwer executives were not ready to launch.They continued to drive enhancements in design and functionality. Greg Samios, who was appointed CEO of Wolters Kluwer Law & Business In August 2014 offered this comment on the design strategy. “Our goal was to create the kind of simple, elegant, seamless experience that is comparable to our customers’ favorite consumer websites. We specifically designed Cheetah in close collaboration with our customers to create a product that supports and streamlines their legal research workflow." 


The Cheetah Dashboard
 

The Recap Cheetah was developed to replace the much maligned IntelliConnect platform. Wolters Kluwer brought in high powered tech talent from “The Gartner Group”  and deconstructed and deduped all of their documents and assigned a permanent URL to each document. For the first time Wolters Kluwer could offer a new kind of search capability decoupled from their traditional hierarchical statutory code driven research. Mobility was also a key design consideration. Cheetah is optimized for on-screen reading, blurring line between desktop & e-reader.

The Stealth Launch. In recent months, WK has  undertaken a “soft launch” by making Cheetah available to existing customers. The initial launch of Cheetah includes corporate and securities content. They hope to launch a tax product by the end of 2015.

What's New In Cheetah?  I recently had the opportunity to see the latest version of Cheetah. The platform  is more polished and has some nice features what were not available in earlier iterations. 
  • Aesthetically the colors and design are more appealing
  • Implemented a new dashboard design to improve access to critical, high-value  content — things like Smart Charts 
  • Restructured content to improve discovery of content items  such as Rules, Regulations and Treatises
  • Increased the breadth of the available content by adding new practice areas and expanding the content available on existing practice areas
  • They have added functionality to allow users to easily search across things like selected jurisdictions or specific content items (e.g., search across Folk and Balotti)
  • Improved the search experience  by allowing users to easily append and remove search terms to their queries
  • Improved tracker, newsletter, and daily sign-up/management to make it easier for users to access these features.
Workflow Informs Design. In designing the Securties Platform. WK observed and interviewed securities practitioners. As the results of this feedback they identified 3 separate Corporate and Securities subspecialties which require access to different types of securities materials based on their workflows. Those topical clusters include: Governanace & Complaince, Litigation & Enforcement and Transactional. This approach signals and important alignment with law firms' strategic focus on maximizing efficiency.
 
 Context is King. Some of the features I especially like, are those that provide associates with a passive tutorial experience, and which provide important contextual guidance.

  • Blue book citation format displays adjacent to the text
  • Entities and roles searching so you can focus on the law that applies to certain entities e.g. board member of a benefit corporation
  • Contextual orientation. Since Cheetah searches across all types of legal content, it labels the material type: statute, regulation, caselaw. I think this type of “tutorial orientation is especially important for younger lawyers. One of the benefit of learning research in books is that your brain experiences the different ways that content is organized. On a computer all of the content is normalized and it is less obvious that regulations and statutes arise from different legal processes and have different weight.
  • Users can easily search across the firm's entire subscription or just within a selected Practice Area.
  • The Table of Contents presentation  reflects the structure of document, Users have access to the Table of Contents from anywhere in the document, which eases navigation to any section or chapter.
  • The Search Scope panel allows users to filter by Document Type, Jurisdiction, Court, Governing Acts or Entities/Roles.
  • They have added a customer feedback feature! Since all digital products are “works in progress” it makes sense

Cheetah clearly labels document types.

 
 
Can Cheetah Outrun the Competition? The 2015 ALM Legal Intelligence Law Librarian Survey reported that cost recovery for online research systems such as Lexis and Westlaw has reached an all time low. Cost recovery dropped more than 10% from 2014 to 2015. This trend might represent an opportunity for Cheetah to chase as firms explore ways of migrating lawyers to a lower cost, high quality, no-billback systems.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Group Publishes Resource Guides For Strategic Planning, Intranets and Legal Research on the Internet

The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section of AALL has released two new Resource Guides on strategic planning and intranets. They also reissued a major revision of a previously published guide on internet research.The Guides are free and available to law librarians and legal information professionals as well as law firm administrators who are interested in learning about best practices for managing information services. These guides are "slick" professional publications which combine high quality content with a visually polished presentation. Steve Lastres, Chair of the PLLIP Communications Committee, Natalie Lira, Communications Committee Member and Cheryl Niemeier, Chair of PLLIP deserve special credit for sheperding these Guides from concept through publication.

Strategic Planning for Law Firm Libraries.” was written by PLLIP members Anna Irvin, Natalie M. Lira, Saskia Mehlhorn and Lindsay Carpino. Since 2007 the law firm market has been in a continuous state of reinvention. Firms are  facing competition from alternative service provides, increased pressure from clients to control costs and offer alternative billing arrangements, Firms are exploring offshoring, onshoring, outsourcing and new types of partnership structures. It is more important than ever for information professionals to reassess their mission, goals, structure and services to maintain alignment with the strategic goals of their organization. The resource guide highlights some of the non-traditional initiatives which information professionals are undertaking to improve strategic alignment including centralization, collaboration with other departments, embedding practice specialists, competitive intelligence, knowledge management, practice portal development, risk management and non-traditional outreach. 

 The Strategic Planning Resource guide provides a step by step outline for the strategic planning process which can be used as a tutorial for newer managers and a checklist for more experienced professionals. 

Law Firm Library Intranets was written by PLLIP members  Julia Berry, Emily R Florio, Catherine Monte and Nola M.Vanhoy.Law Firm intranets have become important knowledge sharing platforms which provide access to key firm, client, administrative and staff data. As law libraries are going digital, intranets provide access to full text treatise libraries, online databases, knowledge repositories, and educational platforms. The resource guide addresses key issues facing information professionals who want to develop the firms first intranet or enhance an existing intranet,  Topics include: selection and design, collaboration, project justification, content creation, Sharepoint tools, alternatives to intranets. Extranets and continuous improvement.

 The Internet as  a Legal Research Tool was revised by  PLLIP members Andrea Guldalian and Cheryl Niemeier.  According to an ABA study 50.8% of lawyers begin their legal research using free internet resources. Information professionals are the uniquely qualified to assess the risks of  free legal research resources. They are often the only professionals at the firm  engaged in training lawyers on internet “hygiene” and creating resources and intranets which direct lawyers to the most cost effective and reliable internet resources. The guide includes an important discussion on authority and guidelines for assessing reliability of resources. There is guidance on best practices for legal research on the internet as well as using mobile apps for legal research.

Earlier guides cover: how to hire a law librarian, new roles for law librarians, competitive intelligence, collection rebalancing, negotiations and space planning.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Welcome to the Loungebrary ALM Legal Intelligence Releases the 2015 Law Library Survey: Radical Transformations Abound

This past week ALM released their Annual Law Librarian Survey and the American Lawyer published a companion article "The Bookless Library "  by MP McQueen, which describes the transformation of law firm libraries into new kinds of environments offering new kinds of services. I have previously written stories about innovative library spaces but I love Morrison and Foerster's  concept of the "Loungebrary-"- wish I had thought of that myself.

The Morrison & Foerster LA Office Loungebrary
 c. MoFo with permission

According to Kathy Skinner the Director of Research Services at Morrison & Foerster " Our LA office move created the perfect opportunity to leave behind some of the vestiges of the library of yesterday, including the cavernous space tucked away on a non-attorney floor, the enormous but unused reference desk, and the over-abundance of shelves, in favor of a well-traveled and attractive space that serves as a lounge, a library, a meeting area, and a party venue with fantastic 58thfloor views of downtown LA. Hence the name “loungebrary” as coined by our former LA Managing Partner Greg Koltun, which conveys the multiple use design. Greg, with other LA partners, was committed to making optimal use of every square foot of our new space while preserving the library’s mission as a space for research and conferring with our terrific Research Analysts Jeff Schoerner and Lauren Murphy. We think that the loungebrary has been a great success, and we are including similar design aspects in our current Palo Alto and Denver redesigns."

MoFo LA Loungebrary - c. with permission

Libraries Shrink  As Information Professionals Soar. Although a few firms have opted to treat the research services team as a pure administrative function which can be moved off-site with the IT and Accounting, I fall squarely in the camp that sees research services as integral to the increasing need to optimize a "knowledge enabled" environment for tacit learning, networking and connecting. The Loungebrary is not simply an in-house substitute for a Starbucks, it is more importantly a learning and collaboration environment. Information professionals need tighter alignments with the lawyers practice and business development needs in order to deliver increasingly custom curated information and analytics. Libraries may be shrinking but the need for the skills of legal information professionals is growing.
 
Here are some key data points from the 2015 Survey

  • 32% of responding ALM 200 firms have eliminated the word "library" from the Department name (in favor of terms such as Knowledge, Information, Research in combination with Center, Services, Innovation.)
  • Information professionals are leading the introduction of analytics products  such as, Lex Machina, Westlaw Intelligence Center and Relationship Science.
  • 54% of  ALM 200 firms invite information professionals attend Practice Group meetings
  • 49% of respondents publish client related business/competitive intelligence newsletters.
  • 73% support "current awareness" service delivery to mobile devices.
  • 28% of respondents are involved in lawyer workflow improvement projects (process mapping, Lean Six Sigma)
  • Although libraries are shrinking, respondents report an average of 9,000 linear feet of books (which is still a fairly high number in my assessment).
  • 94% are still routing materials in print.
  • 89% report that they received better contract terms in their negotiations with Lexis, Westlaw or Bloomberg BNA.
  • 76% report a growth competitive intelligence work over the past 5 years.
  • Firms spend an average of 1.3 M on specialized digital research resources ( excluding Lexis, WL, BLaw). This data Illustrates the ongoing importance of  having information professionals to assess ROI and negotiate contracts for specialized practice resources.
  • Firms have increased their information professional staffing reflecting the more sophisticated research needs and innovative services ( competitive intelligence, analytics, workflow improvement ) which help law firms competitive position.
  • On average information professionals generated $500,000 in revenue.

The myth of  the Sole Provider

Only 24% of respondents  have moved to a single online legal research provider. The data also suggests that there is not a  going trend. Only 2% reported that they planned to moved to a single provider, down from 4% in 2014. Only 14% of firms with a sole provider are extremely satisfied with that arrangement.

Information Professionals are Controlling Costs
Given the explosion of new products info professionals have managed to control and even reduce overall spending on resources. All respondents reported that they were using a digital resource management system ( Research Monitor, Onelog etc,)  to help them determine ROI for each product.

The Decline of Online Cost Recovery
There was a dramatic drop in cost recovery since 2014. 62% of firms report that they are achieving less than 40% cost recovery, This represents a 14 % increase in firms reporting a drop in cost recovery since 2014.

Print to Digital - Extreme Views
Although 69% of respondents indicated that they would eliminate print in the next 5 years, the average length of time reported until the elimination of print is 8 years. This suggests that the minority of firms which are loyal to print are planning to hold on to it for decades. But then.. this may change due to demographics....

The Boomer Effect?
Change may come with a changing of the guard. I am a boomer and although many of us are leading the digital library transformation, some Directors are demurring-- perhaps out of sympathy with Boomer generation partners who are horrified by the future of a near book-less library.  The survey reveals that 77% of the respondents have more than 20 years in the profession. Will digital library growth accelerate with the retirement of the "boomer" generation  of Directors and Partners?

Suggestions for 2016 survey

  • Digital initiatives encompass more than books. Lawyers consume a lot of legal and business news.-- much of this is still routed in print. Here are two questions which could help measure the migration of print serials and newsletters to digital routing systems.
    •  What percentage of your routing is duplicated in both print and online?
    • What percentage of all routing is exclusively digital?
  • Since this survey covers the Amlaw 200 which spans a wide range of demographics including firms of about 200 lawyers to firms of over 4000 lawyers as well as firms with one office to firms of over 50 offices, I recommend that ALM add  some normalizing metrics.  This could be done by including questions on resource expenditure per attorney, resource expenditure by office and staff to attorney ratios. Questions such as these would provide valuable metrics for benchmarking. 
  • I would like to know the dollar amount of print  resource spending. Yes it will be a kind of deathwatch. Given the increase in sole online provider contracts,
  • I would like to know if the abandonment of access to Lexis or Westlaw in favor of a "sole provider"  forces firms to rebuild print collections of core treatises which are no longer available online or in eLibraries due to the cancellation of the online contract.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

10K Wizard Bites the Dust. Morningstar Directs Customers to Intelligize. Will Intelligize Enter the Workflow Race?

I didn’t see this one coming. Morningstar has announced that it is shutting down Morningstar Document Service on August 31st. In what seems to me, an unprecedented move, Morningstar is encouraging their customers to migrate to the Intelligize  securities research product.  Did Morningstar  lose interest in the legal market? Had SEC document research become too commoditized? Was Morningstar unwilling to invest in new  technology in order to meet the legal market's demand for content integrated with process improvement. Did Intelligize purchase the “MDR “good will?”

The Players
Morning Document Research was previously known as 10K Wizard. 10K Wizard was founded in 1999  and for several years it was   revered as one of the best, if not the best SEC document research platform. It also offered the added benefit of being reasonably priced.

Intelligize was a relative latecomer to the Securities research market, but it wasn’t developed for simple SEC document retrieval. It was an innovative start-up developed by  a former Amlaw 100 lawyer who was trying to take some of the grinding pain out of some standard securities research activities, Intelligize looked  beyond 10ks to regulatory materials such as comment letters and no-action letters and developed innovative technology capable for searching and displaying  related SEC administrative letters and comments in a logical thread.

The Evolving SEC Research Market
For a time the legal research market was exploding with products for Securities filings research. Lawyers and librarians were giddy with delight that 10ks which had been  previously accessible only if you made a visit to the SEC reading room were suddenly  keyword searchable and  available on cd-rom. With the launch of the SEC’s EDGAR website, commercial services entered the market offering more sophisticated capabilities than the EDGAR website. While SEC documents continue to be available for free on the SEC website, the EDGAR website lacks the sophisticated functionality demanded by 21st century lawyers.  The market has reached a maturity where the retrieval of a 10K is  viewed as a commodity. The public may be happy to pull a 10K but lawyers demand products which integrate the data with  workflow or provide an analytics engine which can tease out trends or comparative results. The 21st century legal market places the highest value on content which is tied to workflow or analytics. 

Morningstar purchased 10K Wizard in 2008 for 12.5 million. Why sell it now?
Legal information professionals have seen this movie before. Great products sometimes fail to thrive when grafted on to a new corporate culture. I always thought Morningstar was an odd match for 10K Wizard - too much of a consumer brand to compete in the high stakes legal market. Thomson Reuters purchased another SEC research icon “Global Securities Information.” That  deal is viewed as a notorious failure by most information professionals. Although, GSI survives ( after multiple name changes and pricing plans) it is currently known as the  Business  Law Center on Westlaw Next. Thomson Reuters is positioning the product as a core asset within an integrated corporate worlkflow suite which includes, Drafting Assistant Transactional and West KM. See: Thomson Reuters Relaunches WestlawBusiness (Again). 

LexisNexis purchased Securities Mosaic another strong SEC research product in 2013.  Securities Mosaic remains a stand alone product but is also being aligned with  practice workflow products  LexisNexis Practice Advisor and  LexisNexis Practice Pages.  Lexis Practice Advisor Bulks up with M&Acontent.

Only BloombergBNA has developed their own SEC research solution in their BLaw product which is also integrated with workflow solutions. See:Bloomberg BNA Levels theCorporate Deal Landscape with Launch of Corporate Drafting Platform Leveraging  analytics and Enhancing Workflow. 

I examined the development of Intelligize in an earlier post:  The last independent standing: Meet Intelligize  Intelligize was developed by a former Big Law associate Gurinda Sangha who wanted to relieve some of the plodding pain of traditional securities law research. The traditional approach to research starts with a broad search of all documents which is then narrowed with a series of sub-searches.  Sangha decided to turn the process on its head. He developed a search engine with the ability to search by deconstructing documents. Start with the best document and then expand your search by finding more documents or clauses like the original document or clause..” Intelligize also revolutionized SEC No-Action and Comment Letter research by moving past the traditional key word search and offering the “pairing” of  lawyer inquires and  SEC responses into a chronological thread.

 It is hard to believe that Morningstar is simply walking away from a $12.5 million investment and putting up a sign pointing users to Intelligize without some financial incentive. Todd Hicks, CEO of Intelligize confirmed that there is an undisclosed financial component covered by an NDA.

 Will Intelligize Take on Corporate Workflow? 

I asked Todd Hicks, CEO of Intelligize if they planned to align their products with drafting tools. Hicks responded that  the core focus at Intelligize has always been on providing attorney workflow solutions.”  More specifically he indicated that  they are currently working on an application squarely focused on the document drafting process.  “ Intelligize is finalizing development of what we believe to be the most comprehensive set of precedent in the market today. This application will combine the power of search with multiple sources of precedent to deliver more relevant results across the entire drafting workflow. This will better serve partners, associates and legal research professionals.” 
Apparently this communication was sent to Morningstar subscribers: 

I’m writing to let you know that Morningstar will be retiring Morningstar Document Research’s web-based service (MDR) on Aug. 31, 2016. The MDR website (documentresearch.morningstar.com) will remain active until that date. Your subscription will expire at the end of its current term.

We want to give you ample notice and help minimize any disruption to your business. We are working with Intelligize, an industry leader in the area of SEC compliance and legal research, to offer you special terms if you’d like to transition to the Intelligize platform once your Morningstar subscription expires. An Intelligize service representative will contact you before the expiration of your Morningstar subscription to discuss the Intelligize platform. 
Here is the Intelligize Press Release:


Intelligize has been endorsed by Morningstar as the best solution in the market for SEC research and compliance.

New York, New York, June 29, 2015 – Intelligize announced today that they have entered into a referral arrangement with Morningstar as it plans to cease offering the Morningstar Document Research tool. After an evaluation of different offerings in the market, Morningstar came to the conclusion that Intelligize is the best solution in the market to replace MDR and will meet the needs of their customers for SEC research and compliance.

“We are excited to welcome Morningstar Document Research clients to the Intelligize platform”, says Todd Hicks, CEO of Intelligize, “We strive to provide our customers with the fastest performance available combined with a superior user interface experience and unique analytical tools that go beyond simple document retrieval”.

Intelligize will continue to work with Morningstar to provide the best transition experience possible as customers look to migrate to a new platform. A Communication is being sent out by Morningstar to all of their users informing them of the Intelligize relationship and endorsing them as the best replacement service available in the market.

About Intelligize, Inc.

Intelligize is a leading provider of a web-based services platform that enables law firms, accounting firms, corporations and others to more efficiently research, prepare and draft SEC filings, corporate transactions and various agreements within a fast-changing regulatory environment. Through powerful search, filter, compare, analyze and alert capabilities, its suite of applications is designed to help customers cut down on the amount of time and effort it takes to meet reporting requirements and move through the SEC review process.

Intelligize serves Fortune 500 companies, such as Starbucks, IBM, Microsoft, Verizon and Wal-Mart, as well as some of the top global accounting and law firms. For more information, visit www.intelligize.com.