Tag Archives for " Westlaw "

Jun 21

Throwback Thursday

By Michael Feit | Vendors , White Papers

Flashback to 1994 when the “customer is always right”. The online legal information market was so much fun to be a part of during the mid-nineties, for both vendors and law firms. Law firms loved their vendors. In the go-go 90’s, everything was great. The market was super-charged everywhere.

By 1994, 95% of large law firms had both Lexis and Westlaw. Usage and revenue was increasing 20-75% annually. Firms enjoyed the “customer is always right” philosophy that both vendors embraced. Customer feedback was respected and encouraged. With costs being passed through to firms’ clients, it was a period of mutual admiration.

The competition between Westlaw and Lexis was fierce on all fronts. Both products were continually and rapidly enhancing with tremendous ongoing innovation. The products became more complete, with deeper and more archival content sets.

Healthy competition spurred each vendor to strive to match and surpass the other in content functionality. Lexis was favored for news and information, while Westlaw was favored for litigation. One vendor would announce a new feature, only to be matched and outdone by the other.

As growth accelerated and prices increased, the vendors worked even harder to ensure costs would not become a concern to law firms. Vendors created very successful programs to instruct firms on how best to develop and maintain strong online cost recovery.

It was a true win-win relationship for the vendors, law firms, and the lawyers.

Feit Consulting’s white paper, Westlaw & Lexis: Path to Commoditization tracks the progression of these two vendors and provides a future outlook. Learn more here.

Mar 01

The Wexis Duopoly Has Broken Down

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider , Vendors

Most firms no longer accept the notion that there is a need to have both vendors.  Vendor elimination may come with some initial hassles and inefficiencies.  However, when properly managed and successfully executed, the hassles associated with vendor elimination quickly fade and an abundance of new efficiencies are created.  This is a rare opportunity for firms to free up considerable resources, allowing for the purchase of new and exciting complementary products.

With most firms recovering less than 50% of their legal information costs, it no longer makes sense to have both vendors.  When you consider the redundancy, coupled with the mounting evidence that large law firms are successfully making the change – the case becomes clear.  The sole provider option is not only viable at most firms, including the largest, but it is becoming the norm.  And, perhaps, surprisingly, the vast majority of firms that have made the change are happier.

While eliminating either Lexis or Westlaw is not appropriate at all firms, we believe that every firm must at least entertain the idea as part of regular due diligence and good business practices.  Assessing sole provider viability provides a firm an opportunity to review, revise and refine its legal information strategy and potentially save significant money.

It is hard to imagine a law firm emerging today choosing to purchase both Lexis and Westlaw, given unreasonably high pricing for redundant products.  Similarly, there is no reason for your firm to feel imprisoned by the traditional dual provider model.  Implementing the change to sole provider can be a challenging process, but the payoff can be tremendous. 

Most firms no longer accept the notion that there is a need to have both vendors. Vendor elimination may come with some initial hassles and inefficiencies; however, when properly managed and successfully executed, the hassles associated with vendor elimination quickly fade, and an abundance of new efficiencies are created. This is a rare opportunity for firms to free up considerable resources, allowing for the purchase of new and exciting complementary products.
Feb 27

Of course usage matters!

By Michael Feit | Best Practices , Contract Negotiations , White Papers

Usage is the purest barometer of how valuable a tool is to an organization. How much you use any product or service is your best indicator of how valuable it is.

So maybe this is why legal information vendors no longer want to talk about usage. If it is clear that usage has declined, then discussing this would undermine any reasoning for an increase in your next contract.

When Lexis and Westlaw considered usage as a factor in pricing, many big-city and larger Am-Law firms had the highest usage. Therefore, these firms were unfortunately locked in at higher pricing than the rest of the market.

Today, while these vendors do not recognize usage as a relevant factor, this does not mean your firm should acquiesce.

If your firm is curious about metrics to use in contract negotiations and how your firm compares to the market, consider our next report, Optimizing Legal Information Pricing.

Jan 19

Conclusion from Feit Consulting’s Newly Released White Paper “The Sole Provider Playbook”

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider , Vendors , White Papers

The Westlaw/Lexis duopoly has broken down.

Most firms no longer accept the notion that there is a need to have both vendors. Vendor elimination may come with some initial hassles and inefficiencies. When properly managed and successfully executed, the hassles associated with vendor elimination quickly fade, and an abundance of new efficiencies are created. This is a rare opportunity for firms to free up considerable resources, allowing for the purchase of new and exciting complementary products.

When Feit Consulting first started writing The Sole Provider Playbook, our view was that for a majority of large law firms, the sole-provider option would not be truly viable. After diving into the factors contributing to the sole-provider trend, we have changed our minds. With most firms recovering less than 50% of their legal information costs, it no longer makes sense to have both vendors.

When you consider the redundancy, coupled with the mounting evidence that large law firms are successfully making the change, the case becomes clear: the sole-provider option is not only viable at most firms, including the largest, but it is actually becoming the norm. And, perhaps surprisingly, the vast majority of firms that have made the change are happier.

While eliminating either Lexis or Westlaw is not appropriate for all firms, we believe that every firm must at least entertain the idea as part of regular due diligence and good business practices. Assessing sole-provider viability provides a firm an opportunity to review, revise and refine its legal information strategy and potentially save significant money. Unfortunately, even for firms wishing to remain dual-provider, the short-term kick-out of a vendor might be the only way to achieve reasonable pricing.

It is hard to imagine a law firm emerging today choosing to purchase both Lexis and Westlaw, given unreasonably high pricing for redundant products. Similarly, there is no reason for your firm to feel imprisoned by the traditional dual-provider model. Implementing the change to sole-provider can be a challenging process, but the payoff can be tremendous.

To learn more about what The Sole Provider Playbook has to offer, click here.

Jan 18

The Surprising Sole-Provider Data!

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider , Surveys

For the first time since the early 1990’s, retaining just Lexis or Westlaw has become the norm. Today, nearly 51% of large law firms have opted to retain only one vendor. There are roughly 400 law firms with over 100 attorneys in the US. Within the last year, Feit Consulting collected data on 389 of these firms. The majority, 51% (198), now only have one vendor. 75 large law firms have eliminated Westlaw, and 123 eliminated Lexis. As contracts are negotiated continuously, there is expected minor fluctuations in both directions. *Data Source: 2016 Feit Consulting Research.

Jan 18

Why Recovery Rates Really Matter

By Michael Feit | Best Practices , Sole Provider , Vendors

For the majority of firms that still pass through costs, the true cost is not what you are paying to Lexis or Westlaw.  Instead, the true cost is what the firm was unable to pass through to clients.
 
If a firm is forecasting future recovery rates >80% for either Westlaw or Lexis the business case will show that elimination is not worthwhile. The closer a firm is to passing through and recovering 80% of the costs, the opportunity for savings derived from the elimination of a vendor is essentially eradicated. When recovery rates are high or the negotiated rates with Lexis and Westlaw are low, the costs to replace content and build workarounds, coupled with the hassles involved, would likely negate much of the benefit of going sole provider.
 
Beyond knowing what is the firm’s true costs and recovery rates today, does the firm have a projection for the future?