Law Technology News (LTN) is reporting this morning that LexisNexis (LN) will be reducing their headcount by approximately 500 employees in various locations in the United States. You can read the item here.  LTN is reporting that the statement was issued by Marc Osborn, senior director of communications for its Research and Litigation Solutions unit.  LN had not responded to my request for more information at the time of this post.

I wonder if this due in part to the adoption rate of Lexis Advance not meeting expectations?  I’m not aware of solid data on this point but I do know that Lexis seems to be experiencing challenges similar to those experienced by Thomson Reuters with WestlawNext.  I have some thoughts on this but will leave that as a post for another day.

UPDATE:
I just received this response from Marc Osborn at LexisNexis in response to my queries:

LexisNexis continuously reviews its needs, operations and other factors to identify what resources and services are necessary to optimally support our customers and improve business operations. As a result of this ongoing process, we regularly build teams in certain areas of the business and reduce in others to be able to deliver next-generation solutions to customers.

UPDATE #2:

Reed Elsevier is the parent company of LexisNexis.  A cursory review of the Reed Elsevier Interim Results for 2Q 2013 indicates that revenue declined during the first 6 months of 2013. The transcript of the quarterly earnings call to analysts also referred to a decline in growth at the Earnings per Share (EPS) level.  Although it would be interesting to see the effect LexisNexis had on these numbers, it wasn’t available at this time.  Unfortunately, it is common for businesses to reduce expenses in order to increase (or prop up) EPS rather than find ways to address the decline in revenue.  This is a temporary solution at best.  Depending how this is done, this can result in the business being ill prepared to meet customer demands or to keep their products fresh and relevant.

I’m going to make this post short and sweet. American Lawyer Media (ALM), stop acting like this is 2002 and quit with the Pop-Up Ads on your site. There is a good reason why Internet Explorer created a Pop-Up blocker in 2004!!

Nina Platt reminded me this morning of just how annoying and counter-productive these are when you’re trying to actually read something on an ALM site and you have to navigate through the pop-ups and the over-zealous ad placements on the page. I count two pop-ups surrounded by four additional ad placements. We all understand that you need to get ad revenue… but be a little more classy about how you do it, okay?? And LexisNexis, it makes you look bad, too.

Count ’em… 2 Pop-Ups and 4 Inset Ads

I watched an excellent presentation by Anil Dash to the Berkman Center at Harvard where he talks about the craziness of Terms of Service that we take as “law” and how there is already a massive civil disobedience being conducted by the youth when it comes to YouTube and copyright violations. He talks about searching for the words “no infringement intended” on YouTube and how he sees it as poetry. He says that youth are basically saying:

I’m not trying to step on your toes, and I know there is some reason I shouldn’t do this, but the world needs to see this video and I’m going to put it up. 

We all know it is going on. We all know that it is blatant copyright infringement. However, we tend to write it off as just a fad, or just something that comes with the technology advancement, and not actually thinking of it as a solid form of social disobedience where a large number (millions??) of people are taking action to show that they think that sharing the information trumps the rules/laws and they are just going to start breaking that law because they either feel it shouldn’t apply to them, or that their need to share is greater than their need to follow the rules.

After a long email thread with a number of my friends about the Lexis move to convert some of their publications to ePubs and eliminate the paper versions completely, I started to wonder if there is a similar revolution brewing in the library world. Librarians tend to be solid rule followers. They tend to follow contracts and terms of service to the letter and snap at those that try to skirt the rules. However, as the formats change and we are forced to accept those changes without some sensible alternatives, and as the contracts become more restrictive, or the terms of service become more limited, will there be those that begin to put their own version of “no infringement intended” on these services (for, they really can’t be called “products” any longer), and make them accessible to the people they need to share them with?? Will there come a group that says:

Look, I’m not trying to step on your toes, and I am paying a fair price for your product, but your actions are making it very difficult for me to get the content to the right people, and I’m going to fix that in spite of your rules.

Take a look at Anil Dash’s presentation (around the 56:44 mark it will start at the “Civil Disobedience” section.) This section only takes a few minutes to watch. I suggest that when you have an hour, to take a look at it in its entirety. There are a number of relevant issues that he addresses of how the Information Age is shifting, and many of us are not even realizing it.

Happy Library Week!! My thanks to Katie Brown for pointing out the Anil Dash presentation.

Anyone who has been around the legal publishing industry for any amount of time shouldn’t be surprised by the news that came out this morning. Knowledge Mosaic announced that it has been bought by LexisNexis and will continue as a “stand alone” product, as well as eventually being brought into the LexisNexis platform. Knowledge Mosaic has a great reputation and is known for its customer service and personal approach to its business. Just looking at the Knowledge Mosaic blog shows the type of personality the company has. You know, kind of like what GSI was before it got gobbled up into the mega-structure of Thomson Reuters.

The initial reaction from many law librarians has been “oh no… there goes the nice pricing.” We’ll see how the integration goes, and how much of Knowledge Mosaic’s personality gets absorbed into the LexisNexis mega-structure.

Here is the press release that went out earlier today.

Knowledge Mosaic Acquired by LexisNexis

January 3, 2012

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

We are happy to launch the New Year by letting you know that LexisNexis has acquired Knowledge Mosaic.

As Knowledge Mosaic clients, you already know that Knowledge Mosaic offers a robust platform for transactional, securities, and federal agency research. If you also use LexisNexis services, you are familiar with the powerful legal research and litigation solutions it provides. Now, working together, LexisNexis and Knowledge Mosaic will combine their strengths to provide you with the most comprehensive suite of transactional, regulatory, and litigation solutions on the market.

We want to emphasize that as a result of the acquisition, your current Knowledge Mosaic service and agreement will not change. You will continue to have the same full and unlimited access to the Knowledge Mosaic research platform and news service, along with Knowledge Mosaic customer support and training.

In the future, LexisNexis plans to continue to offer Knowledge Mosaic as a standalone product. However, we will also integrate Knowledge Mosaic content and tools with other LexisNexis solutions such as Lexis Advance and Lexis Practice Advisor.

“At Knowledge Mosaic, we are excited to join forces with LexisNexis, because we know this partnership will only accelerate the pace of both our content acquisition and our product and technology innovation. Our customers can only benefit,” said Peter Schwartz, Founder of Knowledge Mosaic.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact either your Knowledge Mosaic or your LexisNexis representative.

To those of you, who are new to LexisNexis, welcome. We look forward to working with you. To those of you who already use both Knowledge Mosaic and LexisNexis services, thank you for your business. We are excited to continue to serve your needs going forward.

Regards,    

Bob Romeo                                                                 Peter Schwartz

CEO, Research & Litigation Solutions                        Founder

LexisNexis | Legal & Professional                              Knowledge Mosaic, Inc.

Image [cc] mattlary

It was a rough time for the Empire. 

Online case services were multiplying fast and furious.  Yes, even their vaunted reporter system had been compromised.  The beginning of the end began in the late 1990’s, when even the Courts had ruled against them.  It became more important than ever to just hold on, to jealously guard what was left from the encroaching armies of Competition. 

First, a little background:  This is about the use of parallel citations.  Legal documents, in my experience, use case law to support arguments made and positions taken.  And it’s important that the case is properly cited to both point to the source of the discussion and provide a way for the reader of the document to confirm (or deny) the reasoning made by the author.  In most cases, the author will add parallel or additional citations from non-official sources as a courtesy for their readers.  There are some judges that do require these to be included but I believe it is done for the reasons outlined above. Online services also routinely include citations to other services as well as their own without regard for the effect it may have on their own business, a practice that can only be described as extending this courtesy.

Now to the event that prompted this posting.  A letter recently obtained by 3Geeks was sent out by Westlaw outlining the possible issues surrounding the use of their WL cite for unpublished decisions by Lexis Nexis  as part of displaying the various parallell citations associated with a particular opinon.  The letter references an advertising campaign trumpeting the availability of parallel citations, with this one spotlighted, for unpublished opinons.  They also imply that these cites can only be presumed to be accurate only on their platform (Westlaw).  Frankly, I’m not sure why they weren’t flattered by the tacit acknowledgement of their competitor that their brand was respected enough to reference.

Parallel citations from other publishers have been routinely used by both Westlaw and LexisNexis for several decades.  Both have made a name for themselves as an accurate purveyor of legal information (including citations) that set them apart from such services as Google Scholar.  Although I am sure that Westlaw feels that this response is justified, I think that to respond to what is really a common industry practice indicates a surprising degree of desperation.  When asked by 3Geeks to respond, Lexis stated simply that these “parallel citations are lawfully obtained from reliable and accurate sources and are subjected to the same high quality editorial processes used for all of our case law collection.”  The Westlaw letter reminds me of the Daffy Duck/Bugs Bunny cartoon where Daffy must have the entire treasure of Ali Baba to himself and literally shows how small he is as a result.

As a research professional,  I find it difficult to understand how, or why, there would be any limitations on the use of parallel citations from any source.

Both the Westlaw letter and the Lexis response are included for your reference below:

Geek #1 and I had the opportunity to get a preview of the new Lexis Practice Advisor (LPA) Corporate Counsel Module. Now you might wonder why the two of us would care about such a product, given our roles in large firms. Well … it’s precisely those roles that make this new tool an interesting development.

We have previously reviewed LPA versions on 3 Geeks and found the product platform to be useful. We especially appreciate how the product targets segments of the legal market versus trying to be all things to all people. Given the name – Corporate Counsel – this version is obviously focused on in-house lawyers.

However, in-house lawyers are actually a diverse group. So Lexis took this a step further in to the segment and targeted a general business practice for in-house counsel. So the product is focused on meeting the day-to-day demands of a general transactional in-house lawyer.

And it does it well. The content and tools are on target for this segment. The content is centered on hundreds of legal forms, such as agreements, contracts and other transactional instruments that include checklists and related content. This material allows in-house counsel to respond to the needs of their internal business unit clients quickly and effectively. In addition to rich content, the service includes a human element – for questions related to the content and its use.

Does this type of tool take business from lawyers? Probably – but that’s a good thing. When I hear lawyers refer to legal work as ‘commodity’ this is really what that mean. This is a relatively low-value type of service, but it meets immediate and pressing needs and solves very real problems for clients.

My bottom-line: It is both interesting and refreshing to see Lexis developing a service like this and targeting the client side of the market with it. I think this service will definitely benefit in-house lawyers. Part of the interesting aspect of this will be seeing if (or more likely when) other providers will start selling legal-related products directly to clients. This product has the potential to validate that market approach. I could see other players taking advantage of similar high-pain, price sensitive markets that lawyers have essentially abandoned.

In a news day full of law firm mergers, there is a smaller merger that just happened that will cause some adjustment for those of us that deal with court filings. CaseFileXpress and LexisNexis File & Serve were spun off and now are a brand new company called File & ServeXpress.

Here’s the announcement I just received:

Dear Valued CaseFileXpress Client,
We have exciting news to share with you!
Today, CaseFileXpress® and LexisNexis’ File & Serve® were acquired by a newly formed company, File & ServeXpress, becoming the leading provider of e-Filing and stand-alone e-Service solutions to the legal industry—servicing over 165,000 users across 275 jurisdictions and processing more than 45 million documents annually.

File & ServeXpress, based in Irving, Texas, will continue to offer e-Filing and e-Service solutions that fit all types and sizes of courts, cases and practice areas and universally compatible e-Filing systems that connect directly to existing court document and case management systems.
As a client of CaseFileXpress, you will receive the same delivery team and 24×7 support and service that we have provided for the last nine years. This transfer of ownership will have no impact to your account and all of the following will remain the same:

As we work to combine the two companies, our focus will be to continue implementing requests from clients including, but not limited to, technology improvements, access to more jurisdictions, additional service offerings, and expanded customer support. We will continue to communicate with you as changes occur.

Thank you for your business, and we look forward to continuing our relationship as your business partner.

Sincerely,
Tamerlane Carter

Tamerlane Carter
File & ServeXpress
Image [cc] smohundro

The bankruptcy of Dewey and Leboeuf just keeps on giving us more and more information on how much they owe legal information providers like LexisNexis and Westlaw. This week, it’s Lexis’ turn. In three documents* (I get a “The document is not available.” when I try to get to the actual filing), Lexis seems to be on the hook for a cool $3,806,301.97, covering LexisNexis, Matthew Bender, and Portfolio Media (owner of Law360.)

Ouch! Once again, this shows that legal information isn’t cheap. We’ll have to keep an eye out for the Thomson Reuters’ portion of the tab.

11/05/2012 611 Transfer Agreement FRBP Transfer Agreement 3001 (e) 2 Transferors:LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.(Claim No.904, Amount 3,520,328.30). To Banc of America Credit Products, Inc.. filed by Thomas T. Janover on behalf of Banc of America Credit Products, Inc..(Janover, Thomas) (Entered: 11/05/2012)
11/05/2012 612 Transfer Agreement FRBP Transfer Agreement 3001 (e) 2 Transferors:Matthew Bender & Company, Inc.(Claim No.905, Amount 146,748.67). To Banc of America Credit Products, Inc.. filed by Thomas T. Janover on behalf of Banc of America Credit Products, Inc..(Janover, Thomas) (Entered: 11/05/2012)
11/05/2012 613 Transfer Agreement FRBP Transfer Agreement 3001 (e) 2 Transferors:Portfolio Media, Inc.(Claim No.906, Amount 139,225.00). To Banc of America Credit Products. Inc.. filed by Thomas T. Janover on behalf of Banc of America Credit Products, Inc..(Janover, Thomas) (Entered: 11/05/2012)

[emphasis added.]

*Thanks to the ‘little birdy’ that pointed these out to me!!

Above The Law received an internal memo from Foley & Lardner’s CEO, Jay Rothman dated back on August 6th that announced the Foley’s Records Department would be outsourced to Williams Lea, a business process outsourcing company. To those inside the world of law firm records departments, this may or may not be a surprise to anyone that a firm has decided to outsource the function of handling documents, especially paper documents, to a service provider like Williams Lea. Looking at the presentations (PDF) that Foley’s Information Compliance Manager, Dana C. Moore, has been giving lately, it would appear that Foley has been planning a streamlining of the Records Department for a while. In fact, it is interesting to note that Moore’s title changed back in April from Records & Information Compliance Manager to simply Information Compliance Manager. The process change was stressed in Rothman’s memo:

Our rationale for making this decision is straightforward. The Firm is migrating away from records management processes that focus on the physical file to an environment where, in most cases, the electronic version of a document is the official record. Williams Lea has significant experience designing and implementing imaging processes, and our goal for the next three years is to re-configure and re-train the operations staff to adapt to the use of imaging technologies and work flows. Williams Lea is well-suited to implement these solutions and to provide the training and support that the records management personnel will need to be successful in the future. (emphases added)

Best of luck to those on staff at Foley in landing jobs at Williams Lea.

The second tid-bit of news that came out in the letter from Jay Rothman was his mentioning that Foley is now a Lexis-Only shop, apparently dropping Westlaw as part of an overall initiative.

Consistent with our strategic plan, we asked various Firm administrative leaders to identify and implement changes to streamline the processes that they oversee, with a focus on becoming more efficient and cost effective. The resulting initiatives are aligned with our overarching objective of delivering exceptional client service and promoting innovation in our work processes and staffing models. All of these efforts are intended to position our Firm for long-term success. The decision to migrate to a single source research provider for library services (Lexis) is a recent example of one of these initiatives. (emphasis added)

For many of us in the law library world, we’ve been waiting for a BigLaw firm (Foley falls in at #45 in the AmLaw100 revenue rankings) to pull the trigger and go to a single legal research provider. Now we have someone to use as an example. Now that the seal is off that bottle, it will be interesting to see how many other BigLaw firms finally start looking seriously at dropping the two-vendor legal research model and start going as a Westlaw, Lexis, or even Bloomberg Law only shop.

Toby and I had a great lunch today where we discussed everything from the current state of the music touring business to what will happen when Mayor Mike goes back to his day job of running Bloomberg. One of the topics along the way to the Bloomberg end of things was if Reed Elsevier spun off LexisNexis, who would be the absolute strangest buyer we could think of that could actually invigorate the product and turn the legal research and publishing industry on its ear. The topic was an offshoot of Jason Wilson’s post from yesterday on Should Reed Elsevier sell Lexis-Nexis? and from Robert McKay’s The End of Legal Publishing on Wednesday. This is simply a hypothetical, we have no knowledge of anything going on behind the scenes at Lexis, so don’t read too much into it.

Here are some of the ideas that popped into our heads (with some of the reasoning… or lack-thereof… behind it.

  • Bloomberg Law — mostly because it looks like they are making a run at Lexis’ market share. Why not just plunk down the coin now and skip the battle altogether?
  • Associated Press — A news organization owning a legal information provider isn’t new… maybe they can succeed where others have failed?
  • An E-Discovery Vendor — with all the advances in e-discovery tools, what could a Recommind do with all the content housed in those databases?
  • Google — For a company that would like to index all the world’s information, this would be one piece of the pie they’ve only taken little bites of. Why not eat the whole thing?
  • Amazon — this is a company that has built a well run distribution service. Is this something that could be run in their cloud based services?
  • Apple — Not that we think that Apple wants this, but I could really see them selling caselaw for 99¢, or you could pay $9.99 for the entire volume
  • Microsoft — Somehow I’m envisioning a repeat of Encarta
  • IBM — Actually, I liked this idea (probably because I came up with it.) I would love to see IBM put a “Big Data Guru” like Jeff Jonas on a project to take all the data that LexisNexis has, and put it into one giant pot, stir it up, and start finding relationships in previously unrelated data. 
  • Yahoo! — Pretty much the same reasons as Google, but Yahoo! needs something to make it more competitive and profitable. 
I’m sure we named off a few more companies, but that’s all I can remember now that my burger is kicking in and I’m a ready for an afternoon nap.
Any other suggestions for where a hypothetical LexisNexis sale should go??