All Posts by Michael Feit

About the Author

Michael Feit earned his J.D. from the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago and was an executive at Westlaw before founding Feit Consulting 16 years ago. Feit Consulting partners with law firm administrators and legal information professionals to optimize vendor contracts and the management and delivery of legal information resources by providing leading-edge, customized solutions. Contact Michael at mike@feitconsulting.com

Sep 21

Introducing Katie Leonard – Feit Consulting’s new VP Information Management Services!

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

We are thrilled to welcome Katie Leonard to Feit Consulting as Vice President, Information Management Services this week.  Katie is a highly regarded information services professional who brings an impressive 20+ years of experience from her executive tenure at both law firms and law firm vendors, including Thomson Reuters.  Katie will lead Feit Consulting’s Contemporary Library Solutions initiatives.

Now that much of the law firm workforce is distributed in various work-from-home scenarios, law firms are looking for new ways to restructure operations and services as they adjust to the “New Normal” model.

What Feit is hearing from its law firm and corporate partners is that management needs expertise and industry-wide metrics to  help guide their decision-making during these operational restructurings. Katie’s expertise on our leadership team puts Feit in a unique position to provide that.  In addition, Feit can provide information professionals with a wider range of advising to help them understand the value of their information resources.   

Katie comments, “I am delighted to be joining Feit and to support law firm librarians’ needs for market data and strategic decision-making.  The way information is consumed continues to evolve, bringing with it both challenges and opportunities.   Feit has the expertise, knowledge and insight to advise librarians in this dynamic market.”

We’re excited to bring on someone of Katie’s caliber to lead our library solutions initiatives.  Right now, firms are under stress with the urgent mandate to restructure.  Librarians need a data-driven business plan to help them successfully navigate their firm’s unique information needs in both the short and long terms—and we know that Katie’s leadership and insights will be invaluable for our clients towards that end.

Please join me in welcoming Katie to the Feit Consulting team!

Jun 17

Feit Consulting’s Annual Legal Information Vendor Market Survey is Now Open!

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

As economic pressures and the effects of COVID-19 increase, how will those changes affect law firm budgets and decision making for its legal information products?  Will law firms be able to justify retaining two generally redundant and expensive products—Lexis and Westlaw?  How will the current business climate affect pricing decisions of the four major service providers?  Will the 2019 pricing gambles of major information service providers pay off as firms scrutinize service providers, or will they trigger a tipping point under new market pressures?

There’s never been so much uncertainty as US law firms prepare forecasts.  With so many unanswered questions as we enter the second half of the year and budget season, it’s a great time to see what is on everyone’s mind.

That is why we are excited to announce that we have opened participation in our annual Legal Information Vendor Market Survey and we invite you and your firm to participate!  In this dynamic environment, we can’t wait to see what this year’s Survey reveals.

As always, participants in our annual survey will receive a complimentary copy of the results - so you can see what your peers are thinking as well.

The 2020 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey gives you a chance to share your viewpoint on vendor sentiment and satisfaction, interchangeability of products, client recovery, and your price expectations for Westlaw, LexisNexis, Bloomberg BNA and Wolters Kluwer.

This year’s Survey delves into what new ways firms may be using legal information, including:

  • What will happen to print - will this be the end?
  • How will firms change their product mix going forward?
  • Which vendors will gain market share - and which will lose?

Participation is open now through Friday, July 10th - click on the button below to start:

Remember: only participants will receive a complimentary copy of the results, providing you and your firm with decision-making insights. 

Apr 20

Lexis or Westlaw: The Business Case for Deletion is Too Strong

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

The pandemic crisis has hit law firms, many of which are making very difficult decisions to lay off, furlough, and cut salaries. It simply is not plausible that in this climate law firms will be able to continue to justify retaining two generally redundant and expensive products:  Lexis and Westlaw.  Based upon our market expertise, we predict Westlaw will lose out on a push to sole provider if this trend materializes as expected–unless Westlaw changes their pricing approach.

Up until the previous recession in 2008, nearly all firms had retained both Lexis and Westlaw (85%) because both were considered too unique and too important to be without. No one really saw the need to challenge this notion because clients generally paid. When recovery for online legal research declined, the sole provided trend emerged and with it,  firms proved moving to just Westlaw or Lexis can be done without repercussions.

The below chart illustrates the trend through today for firms with more than 100 attorneys.

As you see in the chart, the decline of recovery rates was inversely proportionate to the rise of the sole provider trend up until 2018 peaking at 55%.

Of the large law firms currently with both vendors many have brought back a deleted vendor with best in market pricing. Since the economy was strong, firms were just not sufficiently motivated to unseat Westlaw. For the most part, Lexis is now priced low enough that for many firms the savings on kick-out would not be motivating. Another reason that firms are retaining Lexis of late is due to their deployment of strategies bundling their very popular peripheral products to a Lexis subscription.

Everything has changed. With savings of hundreds of thousands and/or millions of dollars available, the business case for Westlaw or Lexis deletion is too strong to ignore. There are currently 85 large law firms operating without Westlaw and 122 firms without Lexis.

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic will be to re-accelerate the movement to either delete Westlaw or Lexis or ‘flip’ vendors if the firm is already sole provider. In most situations eliminating Westlaw will yield the largest savings.

As illustrated in the chart above, Feit anticipates that over the next 18-20 months the number of firms moving to sole provider will increase dramatically. Because legal information contracts are typically on 3-year cycles, the uptick of the trend will be slow but ultimately dramatic.  

We anticipate that nearly half the firms that are up for renegotiation who still have both vendors will eliminate either Westlaw or Lexis. Of these, 3 out of 5 will eliminate Westlaw because it yields the best return and firms will easily be able to retain other important products such as Practical Law or print. Of the firms that only have Lexis or Westlaw, we anticipate a large percentage to “flip” vendors if their current vendors do not offer any concessions now.  Firms flipping from Westlaw to Lexis will happen more frequently due to the savings opportunity.

We now estimate that nearly 50% of shared firms with both Westlaw and Lexis that are up through end of 2021 will eliminate one of the vendors. Unless Westlaw and Lexis are willing to work creatively with firms who are looking for financial relief, we expect the number of firms with just one vendor to increase from the current 53%, to potentially 65%.

Westlaw and Lexis will need to realize that there are ways to restructure contracts in a mutually beneficial way.  Otherwise, firms will be making difficult choices –  including terminating long-term relationships.

If you would like to learn more about the process of eliminating or changing vendors, please contact us here to schedule an appointment to discuss how this might work at your firm.

Mar 29

Is Your Legal Information Budget Recession-Proof?

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ will the next recession hit. Although there is debate to be had on a potential timeline, a cloud of uncertainty hangs in the air whether 2020 might be when we see another recession.

Now is the time to be asking the questions:

  • What lessons were learned from the 2008 recession?
  • Is your legal information budget recession-proof?
  • What can we do better now to be better positioned in the face of the next economic downturn?

A lot has changed since 2008.  Prior to the previous recession, law firms generally retained both Lexis and Westlaw and were able to pass-through and recover >80% of their costs. However, since the recession, all of that has changed.  Online cost recovery has dropped to <35%, vendor products have proliferated and pricing has become increasingly secretive and complicated.

We’ve been working with clients to provide a recession-proofing of their legal information budgets for this very reason.  Like a good health check, the takeaways are valuable, even notwithstanding any negative market trigger events. 

We are analyzing and providing scenario planning under these circumstances:

  • Loss of attorneys
  • Loss of business/revenue decrease
  • Timelines for possible cut-backs at 10%, 25%, and 50%

Lastly, Feit experts are also providing recommendations that allow firms maximum flexibility in their planning.

If you’d like to learn more about how Feit can provide your firm with recession-proofing roadmap, please reach out to us here.

Feb 20

If your firm is going sole provider, do you have a change management roadmap to guide the process?

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider

With the majority of firms already making the choice to retain just one vendor, the market has proven that firms don’t need both Lexis and Westlaw to operate successfully. Until a decade ago, more than 85% of law firms had both Lexis and Westlaw. The vendors offered products with a lot of unique content, making it justifiable to have both. Additionally, approximately 90% of costs associated with online research were passed through to clients.

Since the 2008 recession, recovery rates have dropped to 36%, overall usage is down and continuing to decline, and Lexis and Westlaw products have become quite similar. While there is still some unique content, it is not enough to justify firms retaining both. And, fortunately, there are many workarounds to alleviate concerns about lost content.

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. Lexis and Westlaw have both successfully infiltrated law firms’ cultures and infrastructures over their many years of service.

Feit Consulting offers a variety of resources to help firms and organizations transition to sole provider. Firms and organizations can engage with Feit Consulting to provide project management direction, tools and resources to implement the change from two provider to one provider, or for some firms and organizations – flipping from one vendor to the other vendor. Feit Consulting will evaluate your specific needs to determine our role and pricing that is customized to your firm’s needs.

Flipping vendors or eliminating a vendor can provide substantial savings, however this process requires an intense amount of time and planning. Let Feit Consulting guide your firm or organization through the process. Contact Feit Consulting today to set up an initial consultation with our team of experts.

Feb 13

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

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