Monthly Archives: June 2017

Jun 22

Is Sole-Provider the Best Option?

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider , White Papers

The sole-provider option is not for every firm, and largely depends on your firm’s legal practices, recovery rates, contract pricing, and usage. While the option may not be the right decision for every firm, an evaluation of the sole-provider option is necessary for law firm administrators.

The idea of transitioning to sole-provider can be daunting, considering the many individuals and processes that might be impacted. There are a great number of elements to examine, from contracts to content, not to mention the strong reactions of users to fundamental system changes.

Whether or not a firm chooses to go sole-provider, the evaluation in itself provides an opportunity for a firm to review, revise and refine its legal information strategy and potentially save significant money. In a secret pricing market, knowledge is power. Knowing to what extent the sole-provider option is viable for your firm can serve as great leverage in contract negotiations.

Feit Consulting’s Sole Provider Viability Decision Guide walks legal information administrators through the pre-decision process, and lays out the groundwork necessary for informed decision-making. Learn more about this resource here.

Jun 22

FEIT Consulting will be attending AALL; we want to know what our clients want to know!

By Michael Feit | Associations , Events , Modern Law Library

It will be a whirlwind few days of educational events, starting with the PLLIP Summit 2017: Nexus of Knowledge and Legal Tech. Always a one-day intensive experience, the summit, now in its seventh year, will once again provide an offering described as “thought-provoking insight and practical application to the private law librarian community”.

The summit examines the rapid pace of change in legal technology and how information professionals can leverage that change in their organizations. This is of particular interest to FEIT Consulting as we work on our upcoming white paper, Beyond Virtualization: Transforming the Law Library. Summit panelists will explore how reporting up to the CIO has redefined the way librarians are viewed in their organizations and provides leverage for library innovation.

While choosing from the multitude of program offerings will be difficult, we want to attend programs on issues where clients look to us for solutions. What exactly is the role of outsourcing in the modern library? Does it have a place, and how exactly do we approach the so-called “elephant in the room” when our legal administrators bring up the topic? Interdepartmental cooperation and leveraging librarian value are hot topics and certainly have a role in the Modern Library.
We are also focused on the basics:
– Showcasing value of the library to upper management
– Developing a budget that allows you to achieve your strategic goals
– Understanding the library’s ROI for value and strategic purposes

It will be an exhilarating week as we attend informative sessions, go to fun events, and network with clients and peers. For Feit Consulting, we will be excited to share our library modernization survey at the conference. Looking forward to seeing you in Austin!

Jun 22

Stay Away From Long-Term Deals Unless…

By Michael Feit | Contract Negotiations , Vendors

Both Lexis and Westlaw are currently pitching long-term deals. This is symptomatic of a saturated market. Online usage and recovery rates have been declining since 2008 and as a result pricing has declined. Why lock your firm into a long-term price commitment in this rapidly evolving market?

Negotiating with the vendors can be a frustrating, drawn-out and often unsatisfying process. One of the key emotions we see in clients approaching the end of a contract with either Westlaw or Lexis is dread. So a longer contract with fewer renewals sounds like a great idea.

However, with rare exceptions, a long-term contract is among the worst paths a firm can choose for several reasons. The first reason seems obvious: change. Technology and pricing are continuously changing. You wouldn’t buy a plan that kept you from upgrading your phone for 5 years, would you?

The legal information landscape is rapidly evolving with exciting acquisitions and new companies/products emerging. These products will continue to pull away use and interest in Lexis and Westlaw. It is always possible that one change in the market could make another product irrelevant. And as Artificial Intelligence rapidly gains momentum, there is much to be seen.

Generally, a longer contract benefits the vendor. For legal information contracts, we always advise keeping the term to within your near- and long-term forecasts, which is generally three years or fewer unless you are receiving a truly exceptional deal.

Jun 21

Artificial Intelligence: A New Niche for Librarians?

By Michael Feit | Best Practices , Librarians

Artificial Intelligence has been around since the 50’s, ebbing and flowing with success and failure. Not until the advent of e-discovery has it really been seen as a possible solution in the legal industry. But with the adoption of e-discovery, AI has taken hold, and legal vendors are pushing solutions into mainstream legal technology.

AI discussions are trending in legal blogs, webinars and what seems like monthly new product announcements–consider FASTCASE and their new product announcement of SANDBOX, or LEXIS and Ravel.

Many librarian information professionals are involved in knowledge management; thus it seems a logical next step for these professionals to evaluate, recommend and train attorneys in the use of AI solutions.

As information professionals, we need to take a proactive approach and look for problems faced by our organizations that may have possible AI solutions. It doesn’t have to be some grandiose approach; start small, and present something simple that can solve a problem showing ROI. As more and more of the online legal vendors we currently use add Artificial Intelligence options and analytics to their products, we should be taking the lead on presenting these solutions to Management. Don’t wait until they become add-ons to a contract renewal and you have to scramble to evaluate and get approval. A new niche for law librarians–we think so.

Jun 21

Is it smart to go co-terminus?

By Michael Feit | Contract Negotiations , Pricing , White Papers

This question comes up often. Most often the answer is yes. Making contracts co-terminus can be an excellent strategic tactic for contract comparisons and creating negotiation leverage. It can also be advantageous to have multiple products expire at the same time to simply better align resources. Having several products in play during a negotiation cycle typically allows the firms to strategically approach negotiations from multiple angles. Additionally, the more a firm is purchasing at one time from a vendor, the greater that firm’s purchasing power.

To make your firm co-terminus, you may need to extend existing contracts. But before extending, it is important to understand fully what the extension entails. What is the cost/benefit of extending? Make sure it is worthwhile based on your firm’s legal information strategy and cost ramifications.

Learn more about preparing for your upcoming legal information contract negotiations with Feit Consulting’s white paper, Optimizing Legal Information Pricing.

Jun 21

Throwback Thursday

By Michael Feit | Vendors , White Papers

Flashback to 1994 when the “customer is always right”. The online legal information market was so much fun to be a part of during the mid-nineties, for both vendors and law firms. Law firms loved their vendors. In the go-go 90’s, everything was great. The market was super-charged everywhere.

By 1994, 95% of large law firms had both Lexis and Westlaw. Usage and revenue was increasing 20-75% annually. Firms enjoyed the “customer is always right” philosophy that both vendors embraced. Customer feedback was respected and encouraged. With costs being passed through to firms’ clients, it was a period of mutual admiration.

The competition between Westlaw and Lexis was fierce on all fronts. Both products were continually and rapidly enhancing with tremendous ongoing innovation. The products became more complete, with deeper and more archival content sets.

Healthy competition spurred each vendor to strive to match and surpass the other in content functionality. Lexis was favored for news and information, while Westlaw was favored for litigation. One vendor would announce a new feature, only to be matched and outdone by the other.

As growth accelerated and prices increased, the vendors worked even harder to ensure costs would not become a concern to law firms. Vendors created very successful programs to instruct firms on how best to develop and maintain strong online cost recovery.

It was a true win-win relationship for the vendors, law firms, and the lawyers.

Feit Consulting’s white paper, Westlaw & Lexis: Path to Commoditization tracks the progression of these two vendors and provides a future outlook. Learn more here.

1 2 3