Nov 16

Commoditization of Lexis & Westlaw

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider , White Papers

A product has been commoditized when there is no unique value that distinguishes it from competitors.

More simply put, a commodity is a product that can be substituted by another. Made by different companies, commodity products are similar in quality and results and are viewed as essentially interchangeable.

Even once-innovative products and services ultimately find themselves on the path to commoditization as they mature. Fierce competition motivates products to adopt their rival’s successful features, and therefore become more similar. While there may be preference for one or another, just like that of Coke and Pepsi, unique product benefits become less obvious.

In the world of legal information, Westlaw and Lexis have been and remain the market leaders. Until recently, midsize and large law firms universally believed that Westlaw and Lexis were complementary products. Each vendor had enough demonstrable unique content to support the notion that firms should retain contracts with both, particularly firms with diverse practice groups.

Over time, more firms began eliminating either Westlaw or Lexis, and the sole-provider trend emerged. Today, the percentage of large law firms with just one of these two providers is essentially 50%. The proverbial genie is out of the bottle. The market is demonstrating with its actions that Westlaw and Lexis are rapidly becoming interchangeable. Eliminating a vendor creates a great opportunity for firms to free up a large amount of resources and to enhance their legal information infrastructure with new products.

To quantify the extent and motivation behind the sole-provider trend, Feit Consulting conducted a comprehensive analysis of the entire large law firm market. This report concludes that Westlaw and Lexis are no longer complementary products. Rather, the retention of both of these vendors is an unnecessary luxury that most firms should forego.

To learn more about about this white paper or the Market Trends Series, click here.
Nov 15

Product Life Cycles of Lexis and Westlaw

By Michael Feit | Vendors , White Papers

There are four stages in the product life cycle: Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline. As a product or service evolves over its life cycle, so does its business strategies.

Feit Consulting’s recent report, Path to Commoditization, depicts how Lexis and Westlaw have progressed through their respective life cycles and the corresponding impact on pricing strategies. It examines the various strategies and tactics deployed by the vendors at each different stage.

The charts above illustrate Feit Consulting’s respective representations of Lexis and Westlaw, in relation to the timeline of their product life cycles since 1990.

More information about this report is available here. Limited time offer: 35% off the Westlaw & Lexis: Path to Commoditization report. Use discount code PATH35 when ordering.

Nov 14

The sole-provider option is more than a cost-cutting exercise.

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider , White Papers

The sole-provider option is more than a cost-cutting exercise.
 
Exploration of the sole-provider option shows firms how to pivot to a modern legal information model. Old traditions, such as passing through legal research costs and retaining both Lexis and Westlaw, are no longer the norm.
 
A holistic evaluation of your firm’s current legal information utilization and anticipated future needs will allow you to fully understand whether or not retaining both Lexis and Westlaw still makes sense. Examine what information is actually being used, by whom, and how.
 
Today, roughly 25% of large law firms have unfavorable legal information contracts. Lexis and Westlaw have infiltrated their clients’ culture and infrastructure after so many years of service. This makes the process of vendor elimination or flipping vendors complicated/excruciating for larger firms.
 
Firms that make the decision to go sole-provider and successfully execute will enjoy the benefits of savings, simplified work processes, elimination of redundancies, new complementary products, and an improved vendor relationship.
 
Click here for more information on Feit Consulting’s upcoming report, The Sole Provider Playbook.
Oct 28

Beware of 5-year contracts.

By Kate | Best Practices , Contract Negotiations

Negotiating with the vendors can be a frustrating, drawn-out and often unsatisfying process. For many of our clients, negotiating ranks with tax-time on everyone’s list of fun things to do. 
 
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? Additionally, prices are always changing, and for Lexis and Westlaw that change has been downward.
 
The second reason is trust. If you don’t trust your vendor enough to deliver a good deal every 2-3 years, why on Earth would you believe a 4-5 year offer is better?  
 
Finally, who knows what the legal information landscape will look like in 5 years? 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, generally 3 years or fewer.
Sep 22

Westlaw & Lexis: “Path to Commoditization” White Paper Concludes Firms Don’t Need Both Vendors

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider , White Papers

“Unless Westlaw or Lexis gain new ‘must-have’ advantages, most firms will have only one vendor going forward. Too many large law firms have already eased the fear that elimination of one of these vendors will cripple a firm or expose it to malpractice.

Feit Consulting projects that more than half of the remaining dual-provider firms will move to a sole provider in their next contract cycle. 

Declining online recovery rates will increase law firms’ costs even further. The elimination of a vendor provides firms with a rare opportunity to utilize savings to purchase other complementary tools that better enhance their legal information infrastructure. The cost exposure to the firms who retain both vendors is no longer justifiable.

Firms will continue to balance the overwhelming preference for Westlaw versus the low pricing of Lexis. Westlaw’s extreme popularity and better interface is a challenge to overcome for many firms, but the potential savings of eliminating Westlaw is too great to ignore. Lexis’ sole-provider satisfaction rates illustrate they are a worthy option.”

For more information about this white paper that describes the rise and fall of Westlaw and Lexis, click here.

Sep 15

“Sole Provider” Early Subscriber Opportunity to Collaborate with Feit Experts

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider , White Papers

Many firms have questions and concerns about whether their firm should explore, and how best to evaluate, whether the sole-provider option is the best for their firm.

The Sole Provider Playbook report provides critical tools for assessing potential content loss, gaining associate and management buy-in and much more. The report shares guidance on how to make this complex decision. This step-by-step guide walks firms through the entire sole-provider process, from concept to implementation.

Feit Consulting is offering a special collaboration opportunity for early subscribers. By subscribing pre-release date, firms will have the opportunity to ask Feit Consulting to cover any specific hurdle, question or topic related to vendor elimination. With over fifty firms expected to participate, every hurdle imaginable will be covered. Learn more here.