Sep 16

Findings from the LexisNexis Practical Guidance / Thomson Reuters Practical Law Focus Group Inquiry

By Feit Consulting | Feit Consulting

A Feit Consulting Consumer Insights Report

August 2021

After years of development and several iterations, is Lexis’ Practical Guidance ready for prime-time? This is the question that Feit Consulting recently explored in a series of focus group discussions comparing LexisNexis Practical Guidance with Thomson Reuters Practical Law.

For the focus group participants, the answer was … yes! Recently re-branded from Lexis Practice Advisor, Practical Guidance is winning attorney and librarian converts from Practical Law. Focus group participants found the organization and functionality on Practical Guidance to be better than Practical Law on many levels and the content quality on Practical Guidance to be sufficiently comparable to Practical Law. This is sweet news for the many firms choosing between Westlaw and Lexis, especially given Lexis’ attractive pricing.

Feit conducted four focus group sessions with a total of twelve focus group participants. The group was comprised of three attorneys and nine librarians/researchers, all experienced with both services. Demographically our group came from small firms (3), medium firms (5), large firms (3) and academic institutions (1). They were asked to complete a series of research exercises and then participate in discussion groups moderated by Feit Consulting. The group provided an excellent representation of the market delivering solid feedback from a variety of perspectives in a vendor-neutral setting.  

Download the full findings from the focus group inquiry here:

Apr 28

Marketing to Internal Clients: How to Engage the “Chair”

By Becky Bowman | Feit Consulting

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.

Dec 22

Patent Research: The Importance of Precision
A comparison of Docket Navigator and Lex Machina Data Searches

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting

Does AI outperform human search, or the reverse? This is the question Feit was partially engaged to answer by Docket Navigator.

Docket Navigator is a human-search driven patent litigation platform.  The purpose of the study was to identify and compare the key differences in the quality and quantity of research results of Docket Navigator against those of its main competitor in the market place, Lex Machina, which uses AI in addition to human editors. 

To coordinate the study, therefore, Feit Consulting assembled a team of four representative examples of LM users/patent research experts – each current employees on the research/library staff at Am Law 50 law firms and current/regular users of LM.  Our role, then, was to provide an environment where researchers could provide candid feedback with no incentive to weigh answers toward one vendor or the other.

The researchers were each given a set of 10 research questions drawn from real-world examples. Some questions were designed to elicit highly specific results, probing for the most-used IP/Patent outputs, to facilitate comparisons.

Feit monitored and compiled the users’ responses across the 10 research questions and determined for each of the 10 categories which platform outperformed the other.

Spoiler alert:  Docket Navigator outperformed Lex Machina in 9 out of 10 categories.

Full detail and commentary about each of the 10 categories measured, inclusive of commentary, are available in our white paper, “Patent Research: The Importance of Precision; A Comparison of Docket Navigator and Lex Machina Data Searches.” Fill out the form below to request a copy of the white paper. 

Dec 01

An Annual Report Can Raise Your Library’s Profile

By Alex West | Feit Consulting

As law firms and legal departments wrap up budget season, now is a good time to write an annual report addressing the state of library and research services operations and demonstrate how the library supports the organization’s overall business objectives. 

An annual report details everything that goes into running a successful Library and Research Services operation.  This proactive documentation provides information professionals an opportunity to educate leadership regarding:

  • Contributions the department has made to the success of the organization as a whole
  • Staff accomplishments and professional development activities
  • Departmental challenges
  • The state of the library and research services industry; e. g. highlight what is being done around AI, Data Analytics, Data Visualization.
  • Key COVID-19 response initiatives, including the acceleration to move to a predominately online environment

An annual report should be written as a narrative, rather than a report.  Its purpose is to engage the reader through good story-telling and engaging visuals. Incorporating infographics can help tell the story because they are eye-catching, visualize financial or metrics data in an a easy to digest format, and draw in audiences.  

Fill out the form below to request access to Feit Consulting’s Quick Guide: The Annual Library And Research Services Report.

Oct 01

Managing The Post-COVID Knowledge Resources Budget In An Era Of ‘Rogue’ Pricing

By — Jean O’Grady interviewed Michael Feit for Above the Law | Feit Consulting

Jean O’Grady interviewed Michael Feit for Above the Law on September 29, 2020. That article appears below.

Last month, Feit Consulting released a new report on the state of the market for major legal vendors Thomson Reuters. LexisNexis, Bloomberg Law, and Wolters Kluwer. Over the past 30 years, what was once known as the Computer Assisted Legal Research (CALR) market has been dramatically transformed by the integration of workflow, drafting, brief analysis, and analytics tools into knowledge-enabled insight platforms.

My interview with Michael Feit, founder of Feit Consulting, reveals how major legal information vendors have failed to adjust their pricing models to reflect the collapse of cost recovery following the Great Recession of 2008, when law firms faced a buyers’ market and CALR costs became almost 100% overhead.

According to Feit, the response of the two dominant players, Lexis and Westlaw, was to protect their revenue by eliminating “all usage-based pricing and published retail rates. From that point on, pricing from Lexis and Westlaw went rogue.”

As law librarians and knowledge managers prepare their firms’ post-pandemic budgets, Feit has shared insights and negotiation strategies in the interview that follows.

JO: How long have you been in the legal publishing industry?

MF: 30 years. (Wow!) I started my career working at Westlaw. I loved the experience. During the ’90s, it was so exciting and interesting being part of the paradigm shift in legal research from print to online. I finished the decade with Westlaw as Director of Large Law Firm Strategy. In that position, I could see the wide discrepancies in pricing already starting to emerge in the market, and I was advocating for a return to transparency. That is what prompted me to start consulting. I did not like clients being taken advantage of because they did not know the benefits other firms had achieved.

JO: How long have you been a consultant?

MF: I started consulting 20 years ago. I never thought the need for legal information consulting would endure this long. My expectation was that, eventually, pricing would have normalized and therefore need for consultants would diminish. Instead, pricing just got murkier.

JO: What has been the most positive change in the legal publishing industry?

MF: There [have been] many market-changing products emerging from new vendors and start-ups (such as Practical Law, Law360, Intelligize, Ravel, Casetext, Docket Navigator, etc.). Unfortunately, they are often acquired by larger vendors. It would be better for consumers if these new products could survive independently, but that isn’t the nature of the beast in this highly consolidated market.

JO: What is the worst trend that has a negative impact on law firm consumers?

MF: Ironically, since I benefit from it, the worst trend for law firm consumers has been secretive pricing. The need for consultants is largely due to the lack of transparent pricing. Secretive pricing truly hit its stride when the recession hit in 2008. Up until then, more than 90% of law firms had contracts with both Westlaw and Lexis. Law firms were able to afford to have both vendors as roughly 80% of online costs were being passed through to clients.

With the recession raging, firms looking to reduce costs started to only renew with one primary/preferred vendor and using the second one on a transactional basis, as a back-up. In response, to protect their revenue, Lexis and Westlaw decided to eliminate all usage-based pricing and published retail rates. From that point on, pricing from Lexis and Westlaw went rogue. Today, from firm to firm, prices for virtually all of Westlaw and Lexis products vary in an irrational way. Lexis, Westlaw, and, more recently, Bloomberg do not have price plans that can reasonably articulate how they arrive at pricing. This dynamic has had a very negative impact on law firm-vendor trust.

JO: Tell me about the timing of this year’s survey. Did you take advantage of the COVID disruptions to check the pulse of the market — or was it lucky timing?

MF: Both really. We usually field the survey in the first quarter of the year, but it became clear early on that 2020 would be a different kind of year. As COVID forced shutdowns everywhere and anxiety was peaking, we thought it best to let the dust settle a little. By early summer it had become clear that many of the adjustments lawyers and their firms made in response to the pandemic would be long-lasting, if not permanent. Postponing the survey by just a few months allowed us to ask questions to capture those changes and trends.

JO: What surprised you most about the survey results?

MF: I had expected to see a large number of firms who still had contracts with both Westlaw and Lexis looking to cancel one of these in their next cycle. I expected that more firms would be planning to cancel Westlaw — because it is so much more costly than Lexis. I was surprised the survey results showed that, instead, there are four times as many firms considering the cancellation of Lexis than Westlaw. Another interesting surprise was the endurance of print at law firms. The survey showed that pre-COVID, print still represented 18% of the average law firm’s legal information budget.

JO: What is the most important takeaway in planning budgets for the next three years?

MF: Everyone should use this moment to evolve past print and make sure there is a strategy to actually recoup some of the 18% spent on print. Also, try to avoid long-term contracts wherever possible. The market is too dynamic to lock in any one vendor. If you must lock in long term, make sure you have protective language, such as change of circumstances clauses.

JO: Do you anticipate any dramatic change in the legal information market over the next decade?

MF: The best opportunity for dramatic change would be the emergence of a viable competitor to Westlaw or Lexis; perhaps either Fastcase or Bloomberg.  I am hopeful.

Sep 22

The End of Books is Here—What Are the Steps to Take Now?

By Alex West | Feit Consulting

By Alex West l  Feit Consulting

COVID-19 has transformed the law firm market.  One of those significant, industry-wide changes is how COVID has essentially put an end to books.  The good news is, placing focus now on the diminishing value of print creates a valuable opportunity for your firm.

Non-digital assets which cannot be accessed remotely have been rendered useless. Even for in-office professionals, librarians are faced with challenges, such as potential new costs and disruption to sanitize shared objects such as books.

We’re seeing the data tell the story in our recent legal information market survey.

We asked respondents how much print made up the budget prior to COVID and what will happen after COVID. We were surprised by the enduring legacy of print. On average, print made up 18% of the current total legal information budget, down from 30% over the past 5 years.

Then, we asked respondents how their print collection budget has changed over time. We noted a significant decline in print, but we were once again surprised by print’s enduring legacy as shown below:

  • 1/3rd of our respondents said that 20% of their current budget is for print products.
  • 5 years ago, that same third of the market was spending 30% of its budget for print.

Finally, we asked respondents about their plans for print collections post-COVID, over 90% said they are getting rid of all print whenever possible.

90% is huge.  Many of those surveyed noted that savings won’t be achieved in the first year due to print contracts and print retention clauses. Foreseeing the end, the vendors with a large legacy investment in print, have slowed law firm cancellations of print, by creating obstacles to elimination:

  • Lexis utilizes print and off-line retention clauses to effectively handcuff firms, penalizing them for canceling print.
  • Westlaw’s LMA, probably the most successful cancellation inhibitor gave firms a substantial discount to keep print and provide ‘price protection’ (against Westlaw’s own price increases).
    • Firms without LMA’s saw their print costs rising >11% annually.

Our survey showed 57% of firms still had LMA’s with Westlaw, indicating that many firms have substantial print and will have to wait to receive savings due to their contractual obligation to pay for print for a certain period of time.

The expiration date for print is now Getting rid of something as ingrained as print can be difficult – especially during stressful times. But doing this exercise now is important.  What are the next steps?

  • Collection Review
  • Roadmap to a Future without Print

Feit’s library team is ready to help. There are tremendous cost efficiencies available to firms that make this transition effectively. If you’d like to learn more about how Feit is helping its clients, click here to set up a meeting.

About the Author 

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

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