Jul 20

Feit’s 2020 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey: Some Surprising Early Results

By Alex West | Feit Consulting

By Alex West l  Feit Consulting

Market volatility and economic uncertainty is affecting law firms and decision-making across departments.  That is why we are so excited to have recently launched our annual Legal Information Vendor Market Survey, to better understand how this fast-changing market might be affecting purchasing for legal information products.

We are very pleased to have received responses from over 70 law firms to the Survey so far—but what is really getting our attention are some early signs of dramatic shifts in the market - in just the past 18 months since our last Survey.

 Take a look below at the changes in Vendor Satisfaction - since our last survey in 2019:

It was also interesting to see how the market is allocating legal information budget by vendor: 

On top of this, we have asked our respondents to look into their crystal balls to forecast how their budget allocation might change in 3 years – but to learn the answer to that question - and many more - you must take the survey!

Just as in 2019, participants who complete the survey receive a full copy of the final results - plus this year we've added the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Feit is giving away a gift card to 1 of every 10 participants - so your chance of winning is very high. With roughly 70 responses so far, we will be giving away at least $700.

 We hope you’ll be a part of this year’s survey. Participation is open now!

About the Author 

Alex West, M.B.A., Senior Vice President

As Senior Vice President, Alex guides client interaction and strategic direction for the Advising group at Feit Consulting. With an extensive corporate background in management and marketing at Fortune 500 companies such as Sara Lee, Hasbro and P&G, Alex oversees all Feit client engagements. With Feit Consulting's analytics and deep knowledge base in the legal information market, Alex optimizes customer experiences with strategies tailored to each Firm's individual needs.

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. 

Jun 01

Now is the time: Take control of your library

By Becky Bowman | Feit Consulting

By Becky Bowman  l  Feit Consulting

There were countless times over the course of my career as a law librarian I wished I could have stayed home and worked.  I recall cold icy mornings or bad hair days that made me long for the comfort of my home. Over the past few weeks, those wishes have come true. If your firm or company is forward thinking, some of you may have worked from home pre-pandemic as all firms are now dealing with staff working from home.  

For researchers, working from home has most likely been a smooth transition—and may continue to be. A request comes in, researchers are able to access needed resources electronically and begin to work on what will become the end product for the attorney; barring any sustained technical issues, the process is seamless.

But what about the physical library? The mail hasn’t stopped coming. Every day, it brings books, journals, newspapers; not to mention invoices and the thousands of advertisements vendors send out. How does all this get processed and how much money is being wasted as these books, journals, and newspapers pile up and collect dust?  

One of the main unfortunate side-effects of the pandemic has been economic, putting extreme financial pressure on many law firms. When there’s pressure on margins, management almost always comes to the Library/Resource Center with budget cuts. And as we look at the possibility of returning to the office, law firm leaders will be looking at that office overhead - one of the top expenses after salaries - and wondering:  do we need all this space?  What is the right balance of in-office and at-home staff?  Time will tell, but now is the time to evaluate your library and the direction it needs to take going forward.

To make sense of all this, librarians might want to consider engaging a consulting company. A consulting firm - if it’s unbiased - can help you gather information objectively and can make life a little easier for you and help you produce better results. An objective evaluation of services, resources, and operations will produce a clear picture of best practices and steps for moving forward. Most importantly, a consultant can help put you in a proactive position, offering solutions to management in a changing world.

If you would like to learn how Feit can help your firm look at the full picture and assess your library, reach out to us here.

About the Author

Becky Bowman, Law Library Consultant 

Becky served as the Chief Research and Information Analysis Officer for Am Law 100 firm, Baker Donelson for 32 years where she ultimately led a team of 5 to serve 750+ attorneys across 23 domestic locations. Becky's accomplishments at Baker were multiple, including transforming the library from print to digital, overseeing the efficient combination of 15 mergers and acquisitions of library materials, and successfully rebranding her department, and achieving buy-in from key stakeholders. Her exceptional experience is invaluable for clients as they assess the actual total cost and value of their library and research department including current print and digital collections, vendor contracts, as well as consider cultural and workflow disruptions or benefits in moving to an outsourcing vendor.

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.

Mar 20

Collection Re-balancing: Facilitating the Move from Print to Digital in Law Firm Libraries and Information Services

By Becky Bowman and Stuart Zimmerman | Feit Consulting

In this blog post, we drill down into some details as how to approach print reduction strategically—as well as a few reality checks that can be helpful along the way.

What to cut? How to decide?

The determination of which print resources are ripe for online replacement begins with an examination of current print spend by vendor in tandem with a review of online holdings. A tracking spreadsheet [sample below] is a useful tool for this process.

      Sample tracking spreadsheet 

Most firms will find that the bulk of their print spend is with some combination of the big four vendors; Thomson Reuters, Lexis, Bloomberg and Wolters Kluwer. Each of these vendors offers robust online services that include the majority of their print publications.

Using Resource Types [see box below] as a rough guide, calculate and plot the cancellation potential (high or low) of each title on the spreadsheet which, when sorted, will surface those titles with high potential for cancellation. Continue working down the list of print by vendor, reviewing online options and plotting cancellation potential. Not every print resource has a digital equivalent.

Licensing terms can vary greatly from vendor to vendor. Make sure that contracts/licenses are adequate to cover all who need access to each resource. Identify gaps in online content and/or any material contract limitations and see if there is a need to expand current contracts or purchase additional licenses.

Once the list of titles with high cancellation potential has been generated and the online alternatives identified and vetted the emphasis moves to a communication campaign to reach users who will be impacted by the elimination of those print resources with high cancellation potential.

Many users will be fine with the move to online and some will express concerns. Listen carefully while making final determinations. This is an excellent time to learn how resources are being used, and the value these resources bring to the firm, directly from the end-users themselves.

Reality Checks

  • The process of reducing print involves series of compromises and occasional hard decisions to navigate sometimes-competing goals. Be flexible and pick your battles.
  • Not everything needed is available online and just because something is available online doesn’t mean that it is accessible. Costs, inflexible licensing terms, and incompatible technologies can thwart the best plans.
  • It is not uncommon for firms to increase spending on digital media in order to realize print-cutting goals. Review budget impacts of needed contract changes, additional licenses, etc.
  • When needed publications are not available in digital/online formats, options are fairly limited; purchase and maintain print or rely on third-party sources.
  • Firms will need the flexibility to accommodate some print to achieve maximum efficiency.  

Conclusion

While there will never be a completely paper-free library, law firms are realizing good success in rebalancing their collections and actively managing the usage of online and digital resources while reducing their reliance on print to best fit their specific goals.

Feit Consulting offers Contemporary Library Solutionsreviewing law library operations and assessing collections to identify opportunities to improve utilization of information resources, maximize efficiencies and improve ROI.

 Contact Feit Consulting today to set up a free consultation

About the Author

Becky Bowman, Law Library Consultant 

Becky served as the Chief Research and Information Analysis Officer for Am Law 100 firm, Baker Donelson for 32 years where she ultimately led a team of 5 to serve 750+ attorneys across 23 domestic locations. Becky's accomplishments at Baker were multiple, including transforming the library from print to digital, overseeing the efficient combination of 15 mergers and acquisitions of library materials, and successfully rebranding her department, and achieving buy-in from key stakeholders. Her exceptional experience is invaluable for clients as they assess the actual total cost and value of their library and research department including current print and digital collections, vendor contracts, as well as consider cultural and workflow disruptions or benefits in moving to an outsourcing vendor.

About the Author

Stuart Zimmerman, Law Library Consultant

Stuart provides strategic input on library and research services in large law firms with a focus on library audits, the development of best practices for the delivery of library services, and the implementation of new generations of digital resources for research and library administration. Stuart brings more than 25 years of law library experience both in law firms and public law libraries. Prior to joining Feit Consulting, Stuart was Director of Research and Information Services for Davis Wright Tremaine LLP where he transformed a patchwork of individual law office libraries into a coordinated, efficient, contemporary, firm-wide library system providing high-quality research and library services across nine offices.

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