As we previously noted, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell (MH) and LinkedIn were putting together a deal to integrate their services on some level. This news was first noted on Kevin O’Keefe’s blog, and discussed elsewhere by Larry Bodine and others.
Well – the deal is public now. LexisNexis announced the deal and gave some hints at what it means. Cutting through the press release lingo, we get to:
When searching martindale.com for attorneys, users will see LinkedIn icons within the profiles of attorneys who are members of that network, and within the law firm profiles when attorneys from that firm are LinkedIn members. If the martindale.com user is also a member of LinkedIn, he or she can access the LinkedIn connection with the designated attorney by clicking on the LinkedIn icon. Doing so presents the user with information about the person, as well as common LinkedIn connections between the user and the attorney. In future updates to LinkedIn, abstracts and links to Martindale-Hubbell articles and other content will be distributed through the LinkedIn network.
1 – It appears that lawyers will need to opt-in to show their LinkedIn profile from Martindale. Otherwise, I am not sure how MH would verify the user’s identity. Even then, they may have some authentication issues.
2 – The ‘who knows whom’ feature could extend the value of both services. It would help current lawyer LinkedIn users broaden their networks. But this will be dependent on #1.
3 – LinkedIn may benefit from the content distribution provided by MH, but it seems more benefit is poised to flow MH’s way, given the greater number of lawyers already in LinkedIn.
I suppose I am skeptical that this deal will ultimately bring value. In one sense it could bring two different groups of lawyers together – old technophobes and young tech-savvies. But I’m having trouble seeing how either group will find value in crossing this divide.
It’s like putting a Mercedes dealership next to a skateboard park. Each group will look over the fence in curiosity, but won’t see a reason to switch their rides.
(OK – that was stretching the metaphor engine.)