What Firms Say About Going Sole-Provider: The Good and Bad

By Michael Feit | Sole Provider

Jan 19
Below are positive comments and issues shared by sole provider firms who participated in Feit Consulting’s Sole Provider Survey.
 
Positive Comments
 
“Ability to support new and/or low cost providers/products.”
 
“No longer need to bill research to clients–best ever!”
 
“Due to the cost savings (almost $1M per year), we were able to switch to a billing model where we do not bill back the cost of legal research.” 
 
“In the end it’s all about the money.  There has been tremendous change in the industry since we moved to a single provider.  Users are requesting news resources; we now need to review news aggregating services.  The legal primary source battle is over; we won’t ever have dual access again.”
 
“Lexis has become a true partner, providing a suite of products for free.”
 
“No issues.” 
 
“We’re saving almost half a million dollars over the course of the three-year contract.”
 
“We saved significant dollars over the life of the multi-year contract yet we added expensive content formerly outside of contract along with bright shiny objects like mobile WSJ and free e-libraries to enhance user experience. We freed up dollars to purchase content from other vendors like PLI and Bloomberg with the money we saved by moving to one provider but not increasing online budget.”
 
“Attorneys stopped complaining when we made online overhead.”
 
“Cost savings generally quieted any user opposition.”
 
 
Issues Encountered
 
“Initially, librarians had to prove material was accessible on single vendor, when researcher had citations to other service only.”
 
“Passwords and training classes.”
 
“There are some items that are only on Westlaw – getting access to those now that we only have Lexis can be problematic.”
 
“There was some disruption and there continues to be complaints about usability and functionality.  But aside from those surface and less important difficulties, we have found Lexis’s primary law content to be unreliable on a regular basis.” 
 
“There were some who strongly opposed going to only Westlaw. However, after training almost all of them supported the change.”
 
“We have been a sole provider but switched from Westlaw to Lexis. A lot of attorneys were not happy, but Lexis is much cheaper, and the content is similar.” 
 
“Lexis is hiking up our costs for all our print and online services they own that we subscribe to.”
 
“There was some workflow disruption as training was needed for some people, but not major.”
 
“We had some opposition and content issues, but I would not consider either significant.”
 
“We lost access to a few items such as firm-wide Wall Street Journal access and Chisum on Patents.  It really hasn’t been an issue though.” 

About the Author

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 mike@feitconsulting.com