In the recent Law Technology News Vendor Satisfaction Survey, it seems that the users of the low-cost legal research service Fastcase give it an 87.5% “Excellent Price for Value” approval rate. Compare that with the users of Westlaw (12.7% “Excellent Price for Value”) and Lexis (14.3% “Excellent Price for Value”). Granted, there were a lot more participants in the Westlaw (n=181) and Lexis (n=147) than were in the Fastcase survey (n=8), but let’s face it… most attorneys feel that they can’t use anything other than Wexis to do research. However, there is rumblings even in large law firms to take advantage of resources like Fastcase, Loislaw, Casemaker and Google Scholar in order to reduce the overall costs to the firm and the clients. Fastcase has worked very hard to break the attorney’s belief that Westlaw and Lexis are the only resources that they have at their disposal to conduct quality legal research.
Many of the librarians I’ve talked to lately say that there they are being asked more and more to train associates to use and understand the benefits of resources like Fastcase and even (or rather, especially) Google Scholar. I’m thinking this isn’t just a fad… it is a trend. We’ve mentioned before that you are stupid if you aren’t using these resources in some capacity at your firm, especially if you get these free through your state bar association!! As a law librarian you really need to get on top of these products and understand how to use them, and how to train others to use them. This is one of those situations where your skills are needed by your firm in order to help push costs down.
Congrats to Fastcase for scoring an “Excellent” rating in 7 out of 10 categories. Here’s hoping that next year’s survey shows them catching up to the Wexis vendors in number of responses!