Currently, Westlaw’s position on contracts is your pricing is correct. One can anticipate receiving the standard 3-5% increase, no matter what the situation is. This is what one can expect for 2018. The exceptions to this are 2017 year-end proposals with 0-1% increases for contracts that are already priced high in the market, giving one the impression they are getting a good deal.
Westlaw has been able to sustain such increases due to their vast popularity. One-quarter of firms that had considered eliminating Westlaw ended up retaining Westlaw because of its popularity amongst attorneys. However, this success is dwindling. The inability to rationalize pricing according to events at the firm such as usage and demand will continue to alert firms to the value for the dollar. As word gets out that more firms are eliminating Westlaw, the House of Cards will fall. While currently it is very difficult to negotiation core pricing, we expect this to change if not in 2018, then in 2019.
Lexis on the other hand is a much more open negotiating partner. Because they do not have the popularity of Westlaw, they are always fighting against this. In the latter half of 2017, Lexis developed a bottom line on pricing. A new strategy enacted in 2017 that we will see carried through in 2018 is the inability to retain peripheral products without a core Lexis contract; this is especially true for AmLaw 200 firms. This policy will not work indefinitely. At its core, this could be a great strategy but in our opinion, it is too soon for Lexis to enact this now. They need more buy-in and ramp up of the new acquisitions; time to solidify their product offerings before cutting off firms.
Unless there are dramatic changes in the market such as product offerings or new competition, more firms will choose to eliminate one of these two vendors, with an even split equally divided between Lexis and Westlaw.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org