Monthly Archives: February 2019

Feb 06

Is Bloomberg winning despite itself?

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

Our 2019 Legal Information Market survey contains many surprises – and several contradictions.

One of the most surprising contradictions was that despite the overwhelming market dissatisfaction with Bloomberg (at 64% reporting moderate or extreme dissatisfaction - more than all the other vendors combined), just 28% of our survey respondents intend to cancel or reduce Bloomberg this year.

Content wins out over extreme dislike – at least for the time being.  

The market was relatively unprepared for Bloomberg’s aggressive upselling tactics in 2018.  It is clear the market has only so much price tolerance.  The verbatims in our survey (more than 500 in all) reveal many things – including a desire by many firms to find solutions to replace Bloomberg. 

Regarding Bloomberg’s performance, our survey collected data on how successful the Bloomberg enterprise expansion has been, and pricing expectations from law firms for Bloomberg and the other vendors.  For that part of the story and much more you’ll want to get a copy of our survey here.

One thing is for sure, 2019 is going to be a tumultuous and exciting year in the legal information space. You can get Feit’s complete strategic market overview, including price guidance in our upcoming book: Optimizing Legal Information Pricing.  Don’t miss your chance to pre-order the 2019 release here. Through February 15th, the book is 15% off. 


Optimizing Legal Information Pricing is an indispensable source for decision makers who manage legal information resources. It provides the latest information to help them make informed choices in the legal information vendor market, in 2019 and beyond.

Feb 01

The Right Products. The Right Price.

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

Gone are the days of published, pay-as-you-go retail pricing from which firms can pick and choose “buffet-style” the legal information products that best fit their practice needs and budget. 

Today, most pricing practices are purposely obscured so vendors can leverage terms that vary greatly from firm to firm.  While these tactics are symptomatic of mature products in a saturated market – they leave firms at a disadvantage during negotiations.

Data-driven negotiations help firms achieve their goal of purchasing the tools their attorneys truly require at the best market price. There are many factors that contribute to platform purchasing, including evaluating the value and effectiveness of current resources; where to find new efficiencies; negotiating contracts based on past vendor promises, and the role of legacy usage and recovery rates. 

Feit Consulting helps firms look at the full picture, not just the financial costs associated with your firm’s decision—and our industry-wide benchmarks give your firm the advantage it needs.

Set up a time to talk with us here

Feb 01

Feit’s Top 5 Blog Posts from 2018

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

Looking back and assessing the highlights (and lowlights) of the past year is a healthy exercise, both personally and professionally.

Here at Feit Consulting, we reflected on our own blog posts to see what content our readers were most tuned into.

It doesn’t surprise us that readers are most attracted to our posts on pricing practices and the feelings of information professionals regarding the major vendors, and the two dominant players in particular.

Pricing practices have long been purposely obscured by these vendors so they can leverage terms that vary greatly from firm to firm.  This is a true challenge with which firms struggle–and 2018 only cranked up the heat on this complexity with the changes each provider made to their bundling models.  2018 was a year where firms found themselves even less able to understand the offerings of their own long-term partners – and the only salve to this is data.

Feit Consulting’s benchmarks are invaluable, and we are continuously driving market research into our services–but even better, we help firms look at the full picture and understand their firm’s attorneys, and their content needs better. 

And with no further adieu, here are our most popular blogs from 2018:

  1. Inside Bloomberg BNA’s Fall Pricing Surprise
  2. Lexis Legal Pricing Strategy Has Haters
  3. Will Westlaw’s Edge be Undone by its Pricing?
  4. Legal Information Vendor Market Survey Surprising Results
  5. Sole Provider Trend: Alive and Kicking?
Feb 01

Is Wexis Recovery Dead? Should it Be?

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

Recovery rates continue to decline.

However, when we drilled down into our 2019 Legal Information Market Survey results we noticed a trend, with recovery rates holding steady at firms that continue to try.  This made us ask the question; should the trend to move online legal research costs to overhead be reconsidered?

Clearly the heyday of recovery is over.  Prior to the 2008 Recession a law firm could expect to ‘recover’ (bill clients for) 85% or more of their online research costs for Westlaw and Lexis. For a large firm, recovery at those rates meant hundreds of thousands (often millions) of dollars in cost reduction.  Often wiping out the vast majority of the cost of online legal research.  A firm with good recovery could effectively purchase and use Westlaw and Lexis as if it were free.  Clients were footing the bill, and there was little pressure on the firm side to analyze ROI or make strategic and optimal choices between offerings available on competing platforms.

After the Great Recession, everything changed.  Recovery rates nosedived as client’s began to scrutinize their billing and often removed Wexis charges as a matter of course.

Our survey results indicate that nationally all firm recovery is averaging 28%.  However, for Firms that actively try to recover (backing out the firms that have already moved to overhead) the true recovery rate has been holding at 38%.  Firms have discovered that there is a ‘bottom’ on the deterioration of pass-through costs and it looks like recovery has somewhat stabilized.

The overhead trend is clearly entrenched now, but it makes you wonder if it makes economic sense for anyone to move recovery to overhead.   You can learn more about the overhead trend, and see specific data and charts in our upcoming book Optimizing Legal Information Pricing.  This is particularly true in a market where vendors are aggressively increasing their prices and firms are looking for ways to reduce costs.

Obviously, there are cultural and qualitative reasons to move away from recovery.  Attorneys don’t like to pass through one-off research costs to clients or risk irritating them.  Many lawyers and firms believe there is a hidden marketing benefit to clients when the firm does not charge for online research costs.  We hear this often, but the true benefits are difficult to quantify.

On the other hand, if you are recovering our market average of 38 cents on the dollar, and your firm’s spend with Wexis is $1 million a year, your return on your recovery efforts is $380,000.  Obviously, there is a diminishing return the smaller the firm size (and the research cost).  In most cases, however, successful recovery provides some wiggle room in your budget to offset costs.

This made us re-think the idea that recovery should be a dying trend.  We now see an important upside in maintaining and enhancing recovery.

Feb 01

Is Lexis Cool Now?

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

Lexis has gone through a lot of changes over the years. 

After being first to market with an online research platform–years before Westlaw–it long-ago lost is pre-eminent position.  As recently as 5 years ago, the only talk of Lexis was what on earth is going on?  Here at Feit we just assumed they were going to be spun off or acquired.  Not really the buzz you would want in the market.

But something changed.  Lexis’ parent company RELX doubled-down.  They opened up their checkbook and snapped up several of the hottest Silicon Valley upstarts in the legal information space while upgrading their troubled LexisAdvance platform.  Lexis spent over a billion dollars by some estimates in the process.

So, Lexis should be cool now, right?  Unfortunately, our survey, and our clients, tell us a different story.

A very high percentage (32%) of our survey respondents were extremely or moderately dissatisfied.  Additionally, there was a large volume of vocal, disgruntled comments about Lexis bundling practice.  Making matters worse, our survey indicated those dissatisfied customers are planning to eliminate Lexis.

Lexis now offers products that most firms consider indispensable, but there is no harmonization of these new assets.   Additionally, there is a lack of sensible pricing that resonates with customers.  With these assets in place, developing customized solutions that truly meet law firm’s needs should be the easy part.  Lexis needs to regain the customer love once again, and a good start would be to re-build relationships.

Rather than just focusing on revenue growth, critical to Lexis’ success is C-Suite leadership that builds on the needs of the law firm market.   Real success is having your customers believe that Lexis’ products can improve their workflow and profitability.

To be cool, Lexis will need ultimately to deliver on integration of these new products into LexisAdvance.   Lexis should focus on client development and retention, developing pricing and product programs that resonate with clients.  Lexis needs to make its customers feel good again.

If ‘coolness’ is attained, we don’t know how long it can be maintained.  Technology is evolving at an exceedingly rapid pace.  But at least for now, however, Lexis has an aura that is semi-cool which they haven’t had for a long time.  We see a great opportunity for Lexis to build on this and compete and win the coolness competition.

Michael Walsh, if you are reading this give me a call, we should talk.

Feb 01

The Big Reveal: 2019 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey Results

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

A big thank-you to all the law firm professionals throughout the country who participated in our semi-annual Legal Information Vendor Market Survey. The survey wrapped in December and we have been hard at work analyzing the results since.

We captured opinions from 23% of large U.S. Law Firms (with attorney counts of over 100) – providing a confidence level in the findings of over 90%.  Here are some of the survey highlights:

  • 75% Unimpressed with Edge. Three quarters of the respondents weren’t too excited by Westlaw Edge. In fact, 46% indicted that they will wait 12 months or more before they consider an Edge purchase, and 30% said they are unlikely to buy Edge, ever.
  • Edge, gratis? Of the respondents who would take Edge, a third of the respondents stated they would not take it unless it is offered for free.

This should be business-school 101, but the Survey revealed a significant correlation between price expectation and satisfaction with vendors:

BBNA: a strong link between a price hike and dissatisfaction.

  • 11% of respondents think their firm’s BBNA pricing will rise more than 25% in the next renewal cycle - more than all other major vendors
  • 65% of respondents are Extremely or Moderately Dissatisfied with BBNA. Again, that dissatisfaction rate is more than all the other vendors combined.

Lexis Surprise:  Indispensable products create leverage. 

  • Lexis has the most leverage of any vendor, with two products that respondents ranked as the most indispensable: Law360 and Intelligize.


This is just a snapshot of the survey results.  For the price of a new vendor lunch ($250) you can read the entire survey.  And remember your copy of the survey is shareable with your entire firm.  Get your copy here.