Nov 21

Year-End Special Contract Renewal….Too Good to Be True?

By Alex West | Contract Negotiations , Pricing

At this time of year, many firms and organizations are receiving special tidings (or offerings) from their legal information vendors. Perhaps it is a flat annual increase renewal. That may sound enticing but if you consider that your current contract may not have the best pricing and terms, does it make sense to renew it?

Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg, WK–virtually all your legal information vendors–provide bonuses and incentives to salespeople who can add incremental sales at the end of the year.

Vendors may offer year-end gifts that on the surface seem quite generous. The resulting variety of offers can be staggering but they can also be tricks. Your firm may be offered price breaks on new contracts, extensions on current deals, trial periods of new products, and the list goes on and on. There may be something hidden in these special tidings. If a vendor has proposed to extend your contract at the same price or slightly lower price, it is very possible your firm is already paying too much.

Be proactive this December! Get the gift you truly want. If you have a wish list, tell your vendor now; you just might get a deal you actually want. Confirm whether your legal information vendor’s latest offer truly is a good tiding; contact Feit Consulting to review and benchmark your pricing and terms.

Nov 20

The Modern Library: A Business Within a Business

By Monice Kaczorowski | Budgeting , Modern Law Library

Supporting the business of law has become an important concept for the Modern Library. Through interdepartmental cooperation, librarians have moved beyond the realm of attorney supported research into new roles supporting business development, risk management, data analytics to name a few. While all of these are essential firm functions, the Modern Library shouldn’t lose sight that supporting the business of law also applies to running the library as a business.

As a business unit within the firm, the Modern Library should be cognizant of the firm’s strategic plan. As annual budgets are prepared, the expense of resources and initiatives should be evaluated to make sure they are in support of where the firm is going in the future.  As those annual contract renewals come up, don’t maintain the status quo. It isn’t enough to look at the renewal, approve the % increase and sign on the dotted line for another 1 to 3 years.  Vendor content is constantly evolving as are the needs of the organization. Is your firm moving into an emerging area of law? If so then make sure the contracts you are renewing include resources and licenses that can support those needs. Have you been called upon to perform due diligence on potential laterals, a practice group or a merger candidate? Be proactive, use that information to question Finance on the impact for resource support. Has the firm promised new laterals joining the firm office copies or subscriptions that could make your budget plans obsolete?

Operating your law library like a  Modern Library requires looking beyond the dollars associated with anticipated expenses. One must consider the timing of events that impact the budget. Timing affects cash flow as expenses are incurred. Timing is everything; so make sure you know the timeline of events that you are budgeting to support.

Being in the know; collecting data on upcoming strategy, and preparing a budget to meet identified needs is the mark of a fiscally responsible business owner. You can’t budget for what you don’t know. The Modern Library needs to understand what is coming and be ready to support those plans. Make the Library’s success your business.

Nov 17

The Modern Library: The First Step is to Embrace Change 

By Monice Kaczorowski | Librarians , Modern Law Library

It is no secret that the legal sector is in flux. As clients demand better value for the dollars they spend, firms are taking a hard look at how they do business; analyzing their organizational structure, and evaluating the way services are delivered with an eye towards process improvement.

What does that mean for the Modern Library?

The first step in modernizing a law library begins with YOU – the Librarian, Administrator or Attorney   – anyone who has a role in managing legal information resources plays a part in deciding whether your firm or organization’s law library can modernize.

For librarians, it is essential to move away from the mindset of, “But we have always done it that way!”.  Ask yourself, “What can I do differently to offer value to my organization and make them see me and the library in a new way?”. Think about embracing change in a way to work smarter not harder. You need to be flexible in your approach and meet change head on. Think about your own habits and what you can change to facilitate change.

It can be stressful and overwhelming when asked to do more with resources that may already be stretched. Think outside the box. How can you do things differently to take on something that could add more value to the firm/organization. Change is not comfortable and we have no assurance that we will be recognized or rewarded.

The alternative to resisting change or inaction could result in your library being downsized or outsourced. How can you be proactive to addressing the threat of downsizing and outsourcing? Embrace change by being open to the new roles you can play. Consider what new value you can offer. How can you do your job differently?

For Administrators and Attorneys, they must move away from the “stereotypical view” of the librarian and be open to new roles librarians can fill to support the business of law.  A law library cannot modernize unless everyone is committed to advancement. Does the librarian have a seat at the table in making decisions on contracted content, print resources, budgeting, and collaborating with other departments such as marketing and IT? Ask yourself, what can you as an Administrator or Attorney do to promote the expansive role the Law Library and Librarian Team can play.

Sep 27

The Demise of the Wexis Monopoly

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider , Vendors

Today, over 50% of large law firms retain only Lexis or only Westlaw. Within large law, 21% of firms with over 500 attorneys have gone this route. If a firm with 1000+ attorneys can go sole-provider, does this foretell the end of the Wexis monopoly?

In the world of legal information, Westlaw and Lexis have been and remain the market leaders. Until recently, midsize and large law firms universally believed that Westlaw and Lexis were complementary products. Even once-innovative products and services ultimately find themselves on the path to commoditization as they mature. Fierce competition motivates products to adopt their rival’s successful features, and therefore become more similar. While there may be preference for one or another, unique product benefits become less obvious.

As corporate clients pushed back on research costs, firms were not able to recover costs entirely. The effect on the bottom line pushed some firms to make the decision to go sole-provider. The freedom of funds allows firms and organizations to purchase wish-list software and technology to enhance the delivery of legal information. Feit Consulting has been monitoring the sole-provider trend for over a decade. While this has worked for some, the big question is whether it is the right decision for your firm or organization.

How should you proceed?

1) Get the pricing intel to determine contract pricing is favorable. Compare contracts with market intel in Feit’s white paper, Optimizing Legal Information Pricing.

2) Whether or not your firm or organization has favorable pricing, this alone does not pre-determine whether you should keep both. It is worthwhile to assess the viability of sole-provider option. Develop a business case. If needed, check out this resource, the Sole-Provider Viability Decision Guide.

3) Execute and implement. Consider hiring a consultant if you decide to make a change.

Regardless of the outcome, exploring the sole-provider option is a healthy step in revising your legal-information strategy and can provide intelligence to enhance your tactics for upcoming negotiation. If you choose to do it alone, these resources are an advantage to legal-information decision makers on what steps and considerations should be made in the process.

Sep 22

See you at ARK Group’s 11th annual “Competitive Intelligence in Modern Law Firm” program!

By Monice Kaczorowski | Associations , Events

Rather than be a target of downsizing or outsourcing, the Modern Library is innovative, forward-thinking and strives to carve out new roles within the organization while showcasing the value of resources and staff. Librarians have a variety of skills that can be utilized in innovative ways, and partnering with Marketing to provide competitive intelligence for business development is just one of them.

FEIT Consulting will be joining our peers, colleagues and clients on September 28th at the ARK Group’s 11th annual Competitive Intelligence in Modern Law Firm program to understand the latest trends in “Balancing opportunity and risk by leveraging intelligence that informs strategic decision-making–expanding the competitive horizon beyond competing law firm practices”.

As part of the Modern Library audit, we often times advise our clients on best practices for evaluating current CI units or how the library might engage with Marketing to provide interdepartmental support by providing research and actionable data on current clients and competitors. As we help our clients explore the challenges and opportunities the Modern Library faces, we want to know what our clients need to know on how best to support the ever-shifting business of law. See you in New York!

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