Tag Archives: Vendor

Bloomberg Law 2.0

Bloomberg Law introduced a new and updated version of their platform last week. The new web site gives more information than the old site, but a new user would still need to contact sales for a demonstration. However, much more information is available in Jean O’Grady’s new blog post complete with screenshots.

I’m still trying to figure out what the Bloomberg Law strategy is, and where they see themselves in the future, but in the meantime, it seems that the product has much to offer.

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Protected: Price Increases…Again…

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Plethora of Platforms

It seems that hardly a day goes by without a vendor announcement of a new platform. I thought I might use this post to round up the most recent announcements and some reviews:

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A Sign of Things to Come?

Integreon announced its 2010 fiscal year results today, and its nothing short of amazing. In this economy, the company managed to post a 52% increase in revenue growth.

If anyone thinks that outsourcing in law firms is just a “fad”…I say think again. This company obviously has a value proposition that appeals to law firm business leaders.

Integreon Achieves Record Growth in 2010

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Bloomberg Law a “Threat”?

A new article on FT.com bears the title: Bloomberg Law’s discounts pose threat. That’s some language from a press release if I’ve ever heard it. Unfortunately, at this point, I don’t think that Bloomberg Law poses any kind of threat.

In the article former Lexis executive Lou Andreozzi states that  he expects “many law firms and corporate lawyers to prefer its flat monthly fee of $450 per attorney to the more expensive and unpredictable sums they pay depending on how often they use rival systems.” I can’t believe that any firm would pay $450 per attorney per month to use Bloomberg Law. With no proprietary secondary sources and a brand-new homegrown new citation service, this cost seems extremely high. In fact, it sounds a lot like lower cost options  Fastcase or Casemaker or even free service Google Scholar.

Although he says that there will be some discounting available, it won’t be much different from their regular pricing. Discounting? That sounds a lot like Lexis and Westlaw pricing: retail with some kind of discount.

He next states that Lexis and Westlaw are “duplicative services” and he expects Bloomberg Law to replace only one of them at a firm. But why would you need to replace a service that is duplicative? Why would you not just go with either Lexis or Westlaw? What reason would I have to add Bloomberg Law, especially at $450 per attorney?

While I applaud the flat-rate pricing of Bloomberg Law their initial price is so high it isn’t realistic for most firms. If the price is negotiable or “discounts” are available, then we are back to the Lexis and Westlaw model. Instead of discounts, why not just lower the per attorney rate by half or more…then it might be a threat.

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Benchmarking Legal Research Resources—Fact or Fiction?

From guest blogger: Sarah Clark Kavanagh

We are being asked a lot about our “Benchmarking Experience” as though it is the only ingredient in a Library Service cost reduction program.  This is scary because knowing how much something should cost is important, but it is not the only guideline in negotiating/’rightsizing’ library contracts.

You know, it’s really easy for anyone off the street to gather some data, divide it by the number of units and come up with an average.  The real work comes and is helpful when the VALUE of something is determined.

Last year we gave presentations revealing the pitfalls of negotiating information contracts, and now it’s time to reveal a few of the ploys used by the Cost Management companies who are contacting your firm to reduce library costs:

  • Library cost benchmarking is nonsense.
    • What the firm down the street spends is irrelevant to your firm and the needs of your attorneys.
    • Cost per unit and its value to your firm is what matters.
  • Sometimes your online contract or book agreements shouldn’t just be reduced – they may need to be completely restructured!
    • We see some firms pay MORE after some consultants leave simply due to the lack of a true NEEDS assessment of the practice that results in a contract structure that increases costs!
  • A law firm’s information needs change over time.
    • Has anyone talked to you about your legal research strategy and the resources you should have to support that strategy now?  Next year?
  • Did you know you can reform online contracts, save money and actually have your attorneys think they have more to work with?
  • Finally, it’s complicated, and the vendors certainly aren’t going to simplify it for you.
    • Your consultants should be assessing the individual needs of your firm, determining value and simplifying your contracts IN ADDITION TO reducing costs.  Period.

We not only help firms save money…we help them determine what they need and how much to pay for it. That’s the real bottom line.

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Lexis Gets a New Look

Lexis may look a bit different this morning. No…you didn’t forget to have your coffee, Lexis has significantly changed its UI. Although this seems to be a response to WestlawNext, it doesn’t appear that the search functionality has changed. Lexis remains a product where a database must be selected first, then searching can occur. The only change to content is the addition of Lexis Web results. Not sure how the mix of free and paid resources will affect billing.

For more information, click here.

PDF handout, click here.

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Information Overload: Confirmation!

LexisNexis recently released the results of a very interesting survey on information overload. The impact of too much information has been much discussed, but not documented very well. This survey certainly changes that. Here are some of the stats that caught my eye:

  • Fifty-eight percent of legal professionals admit that the quality of their work suffers at times because they can’t sort through the information they need fast enough.
  • On average, slightly over half (51%) of all legal professionals surveyed feel that people starting out in the legal industry are not well prepared for the amount of information management and processes they will have to manage in their jobs.
  • Almost half (48%) of all the legal professionals surveyed report having trouble recreating how they spent their time for billing purposes at least once a week
  • On average, legal professionals report spending just over half (51%) of their work day receiving and managing information, rather than actually using information to do their jobs.

 

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Accuracy, Currency, Reliability…Oh My!

As legal research alternatives start to proliferate the landscape and the Law.gov movement continues to gain steam, the question arises regarding accuracy, currency and reliability. This issue was highlighted by Erika Wayne over at Legal Research Plus earlier this year. Although this isn’t a new issue and didn’t originate with the Internet, it is one that we all take very seriously.

No publisher, in either print or online, is perfect. We are all human, and thus what we produce has the potential to be flawed, BUT, when someone is relying on a procedural  rule (as highlighted in Erika’s post), what responsibility does the publisher (or site host) have to make sure that the content is accurate and current, and not just a direct  feed or data dump from another site? Does the answer change depending on whether or not the content is free, low-cost or expensive? Government or privately published?

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, this is a part of the (expensive) service that you get with Lexis and Westlaw. In theory, you don’t have to worry. I’m not saying that these publishers don’t occasionally produce products with errors, but they take accuracy and reliability very seriously, and they pay a lot of people to safeguard against excessive errors, make corrections and make sure that he most current content is available. Hence, many legal professionals view these products as irreplaceable.

What about a low-cost options? In Erika’s example, she found that Fastcase and Casemaker both had the current rule, but Bloomberg Law did not. Free sites? This entire post originated with Cornell’s LII and the fact that it had the wrong version, which they source from a government site. In all fairness, the Rule was accurate to the currency date at the top of the page: 2007. However, we all know that no one is going to stop and look for that. As Erika asks, should there be a disclaimer on these sites that is easier to see? What about print? In all likelihood, the newest version of any Court Rules pamphlet would have been consulted, which would contain the current version.

As I mentioned above, this isn’t a new problem, and when you think about it, has been around since John B. West published his first reporter. However, it has been exacerbated with all of the options available to legal researchers, and their subsequent lack of understanding regarding accuracy, currency and reliability. In my opinion, it just heightens the need for law librarians to continue to educate their users, as in “all things old are new again.”

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What’s Missing from this List?

It’s always interesting to see what resources are really being used by Summer Associates. Paul Lomio posted an unscientific quick poll of his Advanced Legal Research class last Friday, and the results are interesting. Here is the list of resources and the number of students who used it:

Google – 18

Westlaw – 14

LexisNexis – 11

Books – 8

Various databases licensed by Stanford University – 6

City/municipal codes – 5

PACER – 4

A librarian – 4

HeinOnline – 3

EDGAR – 2

PubMed – 2

ONLaw (California CEB database) – 1

SSRN – 1

Although the students worked for a wide variety of organizations, both private and public, it is interesting to note that Fastcase, Casemaker and Loislaw are not on the list at all. It’s hard to promote alternatives when new attorneys aren’t even aware of the options.

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