Monthly Archives: February 2009

A Gr8 2008 for Reed Elsevier and Thomson Reuters

Despite almost daily troubling news from law firms, the parent companies for both LexisNexis and Westlaw have reported solid performances in 2008. Here are some of the numbers:

Thomson Reuters Legal Division

  • Fourth-quarter revenues were $887 million, up 6% before currency (up 1% after currency) primarily due to continued strength in international online products, and growth in Westlaw and within software and services led by FindLaw.
  • Fourth-quarter operating profit was $282 million, a 4% increase. The corresponding margin of 31.8% represented a 70 basis point improvement from a year ago. Margin expansion was due to strong revenue flow-through and efficiency savings.
  • For the full year, revenues increased 6% to $3.5 billion driven by continued strong performance from Westlaw, and double-digit growth from international online products. FindLaw and Elite helped more than offset slowing ancillary (additional services above base subscription) revenues. Print and CD revenues were up 1% for the year.
  • Full-year operating profit increased 9% to $1.1 billion, with the related margin increasing 60 basis points to 32.1%.

For the full press release, click here.

Reed Elsevier

  • Information provider LexisNexis enjoyed a 22pc increase in profits

For the full article, click here.

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Reed Elsevier

Thomson/Reuters

CCH

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Locke Lord and Loislaw…a Love Story?

Just in time for Valentine’s Day came this news from Above the Law. Here is a copy of their firm-wide memo:

LOCKE LORD BISSELL & LIDDELL FIRM-WIDE MEMORANDUM

In today’s economic climate we recognize that our clients are becoming increasingly sensitive to legal research costs passed on to them as disbursements. In an effort to enable you to reduce the frequency and dollar amount of these charges, the Information Services Department has entered into a firm-wide contract with Loislaw, a legal research service owned by Wolters Kluwer/CCH. Loislaw allows searching Primary Law (cases, statutes & regulations) on the National and State level. A detailed list of the contents of the database is included at the end of this e-mail.

The Houston office has been using this service for several years for both non-billable and billable research whenever possible. It is not viewed as a substitute for Lexis or Westlaw, but as a tool to be used to familiarize yourself with precedent related to new cases or issues or simply to find cases, statutes or regulations. You can then continue your research on Lexis or Westlaw allowing you to complete your research in substantially less time and a lower cost to your client and/or the Firm. The Firm pays Loislaw a reasonable fixed fee for the year and receives unlimited service. You will have the ability to add a client/matter number when you want to bill the client, but will not be forced to do so for non-billable research

The following Guidelines for Legal Research are effective immediately.

* All non-billable legal research involving case law, statutes or regulations at both the state and federal level should first be performed using Loislaw.
* Loislaw should also be used for billable research where appropriate, resulting in a much lower cost to the client.
* If additional research is required on Lexis or Westlaw that research must be billed to a client/matter.

This says two things to me: (1) LoisLaw has come a long way from where it started, and is being seen as an option by large law firms, and (2) law firms are finally starting to look at ways to control legal research costs and match research habits with cost-effective tools.

How do attorneys conduct research these days in a cost-effective and, just as importantly, efficient manner? As Amy Wright points out on the Zeifbrief, she encourages students to first use a free or low-cost option, and then switch to Lexis or Westlaw. Most researchers loathe using a cost-based research service for their initial searches, so they turn to Google. Is this what we want them to do? Probably not, but what has been the alternative?

It will be interesting to see how the researchers at Locke Lord respond to LoisLaw. I think that there are probably other large law firms with the same policies, we just don’t know about it. What is the impact of Locke Lord’s decision? It is too early to tell, but stay tuned.

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Friday Fun: Librarian Comic Book Hero Coming to the Big Screen

As reported in Variety, Rex Libris is being adapted into a movie. Can’t wait!

Hat tip to Law Librarian Blog.

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An Easy Way to Search Law Firm Web Sites–Fee Fie Foe Firm

According the site:

Fee Fie Foe Firm is a search engine designed to give legal consumers and professionals better access to law firms and their services. It’s focus is on law firm websites and the content provided on them, such as:

* firm profiles
* team profiles
* practitioner profiles
* media releases
* legal news and updates
* client seminars
* case notes and other expert legal analysis
* newsletters, bulletins and other publications.

Use Fee Fie Foe Firm to find a legal expert, commentary on the latest legal developments or simply use it to keep tabs on the legal market.

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Would a Blog Help Your Bottom_Line?

Investing time and resources in a firm blog or maybe even multiple blogs (or blawgs), may have been a big decision a year ago, but now it is practically the norm. If this is news to you, let’s examine the evidence.

First, let’s get an idea at how many firms have blogs. In early December, our friends at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, posted an inventory of firms in the NLJ 250 who have blogs listed on their web sites. The list is impressive, and includes 141 blogs from 56 firms.

Second, Kevin O’Keefe over at Lexblog, reports that they have helped put together over 500 law blogs for everyone from solo practitioners to the largest firms in the country.

Third, according to the Technorati State of the Blogosphere for 2008 report, hundreds of millions of people world-wide and in the US both read and write blogs. In fact, many blogs have become a part of the mainstream press and are regularly cited as sources in newspapers and on network news.

Now that we have sailed over that hurdle, the question becomes, does this investment help your bottom line? Is there a measurable ROI? This question is a bit more difficult, especially for law firms. Law firms can’t feature an article about the newest sandal styles for spring or whether high-waisted pants are in or out, and then measure the sales of these products on their company web site. No…it is much more subtle for a law firm.

In a great article on Mashable, Aaron Uhrmacher lists several ways to measure the ROI of a blog through both qualitative and quantitative measures. However, I think his most important point, is “have a success metric in mind before you begin. Without some sort of benchmark, it’s impossible to determine your ROI.”

In my opinion, there are several huge advantages to a blog, that definitely provide value and ROI:

1) Visibility–A blog increases your web presence in a way that a static web site cannot. It provides an additional URL for your firm, and links in between the two.

2) Voice–The voice of the firm’s subject matter experts should be available via the web. It is impossible to convey the breadth and depth of these people via the marketing overviews or bios presented on your web site. When a potential client is looking for a trademark lawyer, not only should your firm’s web site appear, but so should your firm’s trademark blog.

For example, if you search for “trademark lawyer” on Google, the second hit is The Trademark Blog from Martin Schwimmer at Moses & Singer, which he has been publishing since 2002. If that isn’t ROI, I don’t know what is.

3) Credibility–Commenting on significant happenings in an area of expertise, will further raise the perception of authority. It also allows potential clients to “browse” and learn even more about the firm at home, on the road, or anywhere that they can connect to the internet. This “self-help” has become the preferred method of learning and evaluating just about anything. If your clients and potential clients don‘t have “access” to your firm in this way, then you are losing out.

4) Speed–A blog post can be up as quickly as someone can type it; no intermediary necessary. Within seconds, the firm will be seen as an expert on a new case or regulation or at least acknowledging that you are aware of what’s going on. With out this “immediacy” the firm’s expertise in a particular area could be questioned.

During the late 1990’s, firms were trying to figure out if a web site was necessary, and we all know how that turned out. Don’t get caught behind the curve when it comes to having a blog.

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