3/15/10

WestlawNext Pricing - Up To $3400 Per Hour!!

I finally found something on WestlawNext pricing from a Thomson Reuters document called "WestlawNext: Pricing Guide for Commercial Plans".  The pricing seems a wee-bit steep on my initial view, especially if you take the per minute charge and multiply them by 60 to get the hourly charges (like I did in the chart below.)  How about $3,300.00 and hour to view appellate court briefs?  Or, $3,400.00 to get a 50 state survey??
NOTE:  According to the document, this pricing was fixed back on  February 8, 2010 (that would be the launch date.)  The pricing is subject to change on a 30-day notice. This is generic pricing, and your individual contracts may not be the same as listed in this document.

Remember, these are WestlawNext pricing, this is a separate billing model from your existing Westlaw.com pricing guide.  Also, remember that WestlawNext gives you results from all of the WestlawNext databases, regardless of if those are in your contract. The good news is that you get a great results list that is comprehensive.  The bad news is if one of your users clicks on one of those results and views the document that is out of contract, the ancillary charges below kick in.  Whoa to the first-year associate that clicks on a 50-State Survey and reads it online for an hour or two!!  (Read the 'red bolded' section below the chart to see how these ancillary charges work.)  Remember to educate your users on the new pricing of WestlawNext (especially on the out of contract charges!!)

Ancillary Charges to View Documents on WestlawNext




 Content Category   Content Examples   Per Minute   Per Hour   Transactional   Document   Line
 Cases   state and federal cases   $13.33  $799.80  $13.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Statutes and Court Rules–State   state statutory compilations   $18.33 $1,099.80  $16.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Statutes and Court Rules–Federal   USCA®   $20.00 $1,200.00  $25.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Regulations–State   state administrative compilations   $15.00 $900.00  $16.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Regulations–Federal   Code of Federal Regulations   $20.00 $1,200.00  $25.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Administrative Decisions and Guidance–State   state attorney general opinions, state workers’ compensation decisions   $15.00 $900.00  $20.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Administrative Decisions and Guidance–Federal   decisions of the Board of Veterans’ Affairs,N.L.R.B., and E.E.O.C.   $18.33 $1,099.80  $25.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Administrative Decisions   and Guidance–RIA   RIA’s State and Local Taxes   $41.67 $2,500.20  $46.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Briefs   appellate court briefs   $55.00 $3,300.00  $85.00   $30.25   $.05 
 Secondary Sources–Journals and Law Reviews, Practice Guides, andJury Instructions   Law reviews, state jury instructions, practice guides    $33.33 $1,999.80  $30.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Secondary Sources–Premium State and Specialty Titles   Rutter Group publications, Florida Jurisprudence 2d, Business Transactions Solution   $38.33 $2,299.80  $42.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Secondary Sources–Premium National Titles   ALR®, C.J.S.®, American Jurisprudence 2d   $41.67 $2,500.20  $46.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Secondary Sources–Surveys   50-State Surveys   $       56.67  $3,400.20  $250.00   $30.25   $.05 
 Jury Verdicts and Settlements   summaries of jury verdicts and settlements   $       38.33 $2,299.80  $35.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Pleadings, Motions, and Memoranda   trial court filings   $53.33 $3,199.80  $75.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Trial Court Orders   court orders issued by state trial courts   $53.33 $3,199.80  $75.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Proposed and Pending Legislation   state session laws, text of current bills   $15.00 $900.00  $16.00   $16.50   $.05 
 Proposed and Pending Regulations   Federal Register, state administrative registers,text of pending regulations   $15.00 $900.00  $16.00   $16.50   $.05 
 News Sources–Basic   abstracts, archived publications   $11.67 $700.20  $10.00   $16.50   $.05 
 News Sources–General and Specialty Publications   newswires, regional newspapers, trade journals   $26.67 $1,600.20  $32.00   $16.50   $.05 
 News Sources–Premium   New York Times, Guardian, Euromoney   $30.00 $1,800.00  $36.00   $16.50   $.05 

Here is the summary from the document explaining the "Chargeable Events":
Chargeable Events
Summary
On WestlawNext, there are three broad categories of chargeable events:
• searching for documents
• viewing documents
• offline delivery of documents
The monthly fee you pay for your WestlawNext subscription covers searching for documents on WestlawNext, including searching content not included in your plan. A search of all core legal content, therefore, is included in your monthly fee, even though it may retrieve results from content not included in your plan.
The monthly fee also covers viewing documents and offline delivery of documents from content that is included in your plan. It does not cover viewing documents and offline delivery of documents from content that is not included in your plan. When you view or deliver documents offline from content not included in your plan, ancillary charges apply and you will be billed at the applicable rate for that content (see the ancillary charges chart).
When you click a link on WestlawNext to access content on Westlaw (e.g., Public Records), your WestlawNext session is suspended and current Westlaw pricing rules apply.
Documents in Folders
Documents in folders may be accessed at no charge for 12 months after the initial chargeable view.
• For users who have selected transactional billing, the initial chargeable view occurs the first time a document is viewed (within or outside of the folder).
• For users who have selected hourly billing, the initial chargeable view occurs the first time a document is viewed within the folder.
It is charged at the applicable transactional display charge for the document. Hourly billing (including communications charges) is suspended while browsing folders.
Documents in folders viewed after 12 months will incur the WestlawNext transactional display charge for the document then in effect.

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9 comments:

Lisa Solomon said...

Thanks for this informative post, Greg.

In Westlaw, there is a plan add-on called Results Plus. As I explained in my recent post about WestlawNext pricing (http://tinyurl.com/y8exfkv):

Basically, the ResultsPlus plan allows you to click on any of the documents you see listed on the right side of your Westlaw screen without incurring an out-of-plan charge (without ResultsPlus, you’d get an out-of-plan warning screen). Only the “first click” is free: while you can browse through the table of contents of the analytical source you’ve linked to at no cost, if you view any other section of the source from the table of contents, it will be considered out-of-plan (you’ll get a warning screen and can then choose to cancel or continue). At the preview meeting in Eagan, West explained that ResultsPlus was somewhat of an early step towards the development of WestlawNext (which extensively features suggested links to materials in databases other than what you may be focusing on).

More than a month after the WestlawNext launch, West itself is thoroughly confused concerning whether a plan similar to Results Plus will be offered in WestlawNext. My rep (and his manager) have told me there won't be a similar plan. As discussed here (http://tinyurl.com/yd4aash) and here (http://tinyurl.com/y8f3yej - in the comments), Kentucky State Law Librarian Jennifer Frazier's rep told her the exact opposite. And West itself has not deigned to address or clarify *any* pricing issues (including the Results Plus confusion) by communicating directly from the corporate level to customers.

As I also explained in my post, the Results Plus secondary sources are, in general, much more valuable than the vast majority of the sources included in the All Analytical plan or the National Secondary Sources – Premium plan (see http://tinyurl.com/ylp3mhk). Therefore, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, forget about WestlawNext and add Results Plus to your current Westlaw plan. Alternatively, if you decide to go outside of plan on WestlawNext, make sure you have your out-of-plan preferences set to transactional pricing rather than hourly pricing.

Greg Lambert said...

Thanks for the tip Lisa! It would seem that either the local reps are "making it up as they go" or the overall goal for pushing out WestlawNext is to be vague and confusing on pricing, but rock-solid and sharp on the presentation of the product. I would imagine that the Westlaw.com and ResultsPlus products will slowly fade away over the next 3-5 years.

It is really good to have a platform like this to help quash some of the confusion that's floating around on this product release.

Joe Hodnicki said...

Great find Greg. Westlaw will be priced out of existence. That's what vendors do when they want to get rid of legacy systems. 3-5 years is a good guestimate. It's what I was thinking too, meaning one last round of 3-year contracts. Depending on when one's is up, the renewal price will be substantially higher to stay with Westlaw. Like it or not, we are dealing with used car sales tactics.

The big question is will there be fixed-rate contracts in the WestlawNext-only era or has TR Legal turned back the pages of time to when costs were utterly variable and depended on users pushing a button (in this age, clicking a mouse).

Teresa said...

I have a small 6 person firm and had a WestlawNext presentation recently. I was pretty impressed with the product but was also extremely skeptical of the pricing given the fact that I think we already pay to much. My rep told me that the upgrade to WestlawNext would probably come to between $60 and $100 per attorney per month (with the requirement of another 3 year contract renewal, I'm sure). I have yet to see a hard numbers proposal yet though. We have ResultsPlus and will probably make do with that until our current contract is up (another 2 years) and see where the market is at that time.

Carolyn Elefant said...

I'd like to know where I can sign up for my share of royalties from the appellate brief data base. I had no idea that it cost so much extra - pretty ironic since it's entirely crowdsourced material paid for by clients.

Martha said...

Greg, at the WestlawNext preview here in Boston, one of the reps said point blank that they were phasing out Westlaw.com. So get ready to open your wallet.

Martha

Lisa Solomon said...

Things are getting curiouser and curiouser. When I sat down today to take a close look at the "updated prices" that my West rep provided to me on March 5, I discovered that the purportedly "updated prices" actually include an entirely new proposal that includes Law Reviews & Journals and Results Plus - both of which my rep previously told me would not be offered in WestlawNext. I have written back seeking clarification on this issue; once I receive clarification, I'll post about it on my blog.

The new proposal - which includes all of the components that are part of the plan for which I currently pay $514/month on Westlaw - is priced at $804.18 on WestlawNext. This represents a 59.6% increase, which is not a "modest premium" by any stretch of the imagination.

Jennifer Frazier said...

I am still trying to get more information from my rep on ResultsPlus and how it transfers to Related Documents on WestlawNext. I'll post something as well when I get more information.

Anonymous said...

The corporation that I work for subscribes to Westlaw Public Records and I can say with certainty that to some extent they do make up the pricing as they go. We pay a monthly flat fee for their public records usage. Several years ago they attempted to double our contract price on renewal. They offered to discount my department's usage if I could convince other departments to order their services. If I was unable to convice anyone, the contract price would stand as the doubled amopunt. I refused.
I had 2 outside contacts inquire about new service for exactly the same plan we had, an attorney's office and a collection agency and both were quoted lower plan amounts for the same service. I presented this to our local rep who then cited our "high usage" as the reason that our plan price had doubled. Right after she left our office I called the corporate office and spoke with a customer service rep who reviewed our usage and assured me it was not high at all. Our plan was renewed that year and the minimum upcharge.
This year our plan was again up for renewal. We have a different local sales rep but the story was exactly the same. We have excessive usage and therefore our annual flat fee plan has increased accordingly. My department has downsized from 4 staff members to 2 since the last contract renewal. Yet our usage on the 4 password flat fee plan is still too high.
The new rep decided that we would only be eligible for a one year contract renewal at the same annual rate, and they would work closely with us to get our usage down.
Last month, a month into the new contract renewal, she sent me an email remarking on how low our usage was for the month. We have been so busy that neither of us in the department has had time to use the service.
Today, I took a call from a different person in the home office who said that they were our account rep and they would like to talk to us about our usage, because it is extremely high. I said, "really, how much did we use in April?" She said, "2.35 hours." I hung up.
I have never dealt with a company that sells a flat fee service, and then penalizes the buyer for using it. $280.00 for 2.35 hours, for 2 people, in a month. Really?!

 

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