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Tracking New and Intriguing Websites and Products for the Legal Profession
Updated: 3 hours 5 min ago

What Is Innovation in Law? Take this Very Short Survey

3 hours 28 min ago

Seems as if everyone talks about innovation in law. But what does it really mean?

At the upcoming annual conference of the American Association of Law Libraries, Jean O’Grady, author of the Dewey B Strategic blog, is moderating a panel on embracing sustainable innovation.

To help the panelists better understand what innovation means in law firms and legal organizations, Jean has prepared a very brief survey. She hopes to hear from a broad cross-section of line managers across organization types and functions.

To read more about the survey, see Jean’s post.

To take the survey, go to Survey Monkey. The deadline for completing it is July 1.

LawNext Episode 43: LexLab’s Alice Armitage on Teaching Innovation and Mentoring Startups

6 hours 58 min ago

As director of applied innovation at UC Hastings College of the Law, Alice Armitage oversees two innovation-focused projects at the law school: LexLab, a multifaceted innovation program for students, startups and the broader legal tech community; and Startup Legal Garage, a program offering free legal assistance to early-stage technology and biotech companies.

LexLab has three areas of focus: building a concentration in law and technology for students; setting up an incubator for legal tech startups on campus, a space where students and alumni can interact with entrepreneurs; and hosting regular large and small-scale community events. The incubator recently graduated its first cohort of startups.

In this episode of LawNext, Armitage joins me to discuss these programs and her thoughts more broadly about teaching innovation and mentoring startups. She also talks about the challenges startups face, the importance of promoting diversity among startup founders, and the role of technology in enhancing access to justice.

Armitage was the first woman editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal before becoming a tax attorney in Washington, D.C., first with Arnold & Porter and then as international chief counsel at the Internal Revenue Service, where she worked on developing tax policy for complex cross-border financial transactions. She left law for a period to start two companies of her own, before coming to Hastings, where she is also a professor of law.

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LawNext Episode 43: The AALL’s Femi Cadmus on the Changing Face of Law Librarians

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 15:00

“We are not your grandfather’s law librarian.” As president of the American Association of Law Libraries, Femi Cadmus makes that point emphatically. Her organization recently completed it first-ever AALL State of the Profession report, an in-depth look at what information professionals do and how they do it. The report’s bottom line is that technology is making the role of the law librarian more diverse and more essential than ever before.

As the AALL prepares to convene in Washington, D.C., in July for its annual meeting, Cadmus shows LawNext host Bob Ambrogi to discuss the state of the law librarian profession and the evolving role of information professionals in law firms, corporations, law schools and government.

Born in New York and raised in Nigeria, Cadmus is currently at Duke University School of Law, where she is the Archibald C. and Frances Fulk Rufty research professor of law, associate dean of information services and technology, and director of the Michael J. Goodson Library. With almost three decades in law libraries, she was formerly at Cornell University, where she was Edward Cornell law librarian, associate dean for library services and professor of the practice. Her earlier experience includes positions at the law schools at Yale, George Mason University and the University of Oklahoma.

Cadmus’ educational background includes an LL.B. from the University of Jos, Nigeria, B.L Nigerian Law School; an LL.M. (Law in Development) from the University of Warwick, England; and an M.L.I.S. from the University of Oklahoma. She is admitted to practice in New York.

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The State of Legal Blogging and Podcasting: My Guest Appearance on the Lawyerist Podcast

Sun, 06/09/2019 - 22:26

Sam Glover recently had me as his guest on the Lawyerist Podcast, where we had a conversation about the current state of legal blogging and podcasting. If you’re interested, you can listen to it above.

Practice Management Platform Litify Raises $50M in Series A Funding

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 12:15

Litify, a law firm practice-management technology built on top of the Salesforce.com platform, has raised Series A funding of $50 million in a round led by Tiger Global Management, the company said this morning.

The company will use the financing to create a product for corporate legal departments, as well as an “off-the-shelf” product for smaller law firms.

“This infusion will allow us to increase our investment in our customers’ success including accelerated migrations and a broader product offering, expand our platform to service a larger set of law firm types and sizes, and support our vision ot transform the way law firms operate,” founder Reuven Moskowitz said in a tweet.

In a tweet this morning, founder Reuven Moskowitz

Litify previously closed a $5 million funding round in 2017 and $2.5 million in 2018.

Law firms can use Litify’s platform to automate marketing, client management, intake, matters, documents, referrals, reporting, and finance.

According to its website, its customers include Morgan & Morgan and The Hawkins Law Firm.

10-Year Relationship Between Microsoft and Integreon Underscores Role of LPOs in Legal

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 14:30

A major trend in the legal industry has been the growth of alternative legal service providers and, in particular, legal process outsourcing companies. A 2019 report by Thomson Reuters documented the accelerated growth of ALSPs in recent years, noting that two years ago, the sector was still nascent and poorly defined, but that now ALSPs make up a market that is “better defined, quickly growing, and broadly adopted.”

News today from Microsoft Corporation and the legal process outsourcing company Integreon underscores the extent to which major corporations are working with LPOs.

The two companies have revealed that, over the course of a 10-year partnership, Integreon has grown its Microsoft operation from a single U.S.-based specialist team in 2009 to now providing managed legal services across five delivery centers on three continents and in 14 languages worldwide.

Microsoft first contracted with Integreon in 2009 to support its Global Contracting Office (GCO) with a team based in Fargo, N.D., providing contract lifecycle management (CLM) services. There, Integreon implemented a team for drafting, negotiating, and managing certain categories of Microsoft’s high-volume, low-risk procurement contracts. That relationship has continued ever since, with Integreon operating as an extension of Microsoft’s GCO, while expanding both the in-scope categories of contracts and range of services provided.

A year later, in 2010, Integreon took over Microsoft’s internal help-desk services, while gradually expanding both its geographic coverage and languages supported. During 2013 and 2014, Microsoft worked with Integreon to select and install a new CLM system, after which Integreon took on the role of providing ongoing administration and intake support for the new platform. Microsoft also engaged Integreon to provide contract review, data abstraction and migration of about 22,000 agreements to the new system.

In 2014, Integreon opened offices in Mumbai to support Microsoft contract administration services, and then in 2017, opened offices in Manila to support Microsoft in the APAC region.

In 2018, Integreon scaled up to take on an increased volume of Microsoft’s contract reviews to ensure compliance with the GDPR data protection regulation.  Most recently, Integreon has worked to support and maximize Microsoft’s own tools, such as its automated contract helpdesk LexiBot, and to leverage new technologies such as, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence tools such as Kira.

As of today, according to the two companies, Integreon:

  • Employs nearly 80 dedicated Microsoft associates who review up to 24,000 contracts annually.
  • Manages up to 90,000 contract entities in Microsoft’s CLM platform annually and completes up to 14,000 contract help desk resolutions per year.
  • Operates five delivery centers for Microsoft in Fargo, N.D., Charlotte, N.C., Bristol in the U.K., Mumbai, and Manila.
  • Provides support in 14 languages including English, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

In announcing this news today, Bob Rowe, CEO of Integreon, said that he is proud of the decade of results Integreon has achieved on behalf of Microsoft.

“Microsoft and Integreon have built a strong partnership based on trust, quality and performance, and we are committed to securing that relationship and evolving it in a positive direction,” he said.

Jason Barnwell, Microsoft’s assistant general counsel-legal business, operations, and strategy, talked about his company’s work with Integreon on a recent episode of his Business of Law podcast.

“Our global contracting office supports the procurement and contracting legal team within our corporate legal group,” he said. “This service allows our legal department to serve Microsoft’s need for procurement contracting velocity, volume, and compliance. Integreon is a critical partner for this work.”

Webinar Tomorrow: Why Firms Are Flocking To The Cloud — Security And Simplicity

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 11:33

Tomorrow I am moderating a webcast that will look at the advantages the cloud offers law firms, with a focus on security and ease of use. The webinar is hosted by Above the Law and sponsored by Tresorit, the cloud-storage company. Following are full details.

Never before have law firms faced greater pressure to protect data security. Regulators require it. Clients demand it. But firms must also accommodate their lawyers’ increasing mobility, their desire to work across devices, and their need to collaborate internally and externally.

More and more, law firms are recognizing that there is only one viable option that offers both the data security they require and the mobility their lawyers expect — the cloud. Recent years have seen a clear trend of firms of all sizes moving their documents to the cloud, including many of the world’s largest firms.

Cloud storage provides the highest level of encryption for a firm’s documents while allowing lawyers to securely access and share documents from any location. It also reduces firm’s internal costs for purchasing and maintaining IT infrastructure.

In this webinar on June 5, panelists will discuss the data-security challenges firms face, how the cloud addresses those challenges, and how to move your firm to the cloud. Topics to be covered include:

  • Law firms’ legal and professional obligations to protect client data;
  • The most significant cybersecurity threats law firms face;
  • The vulnerabilities of law firm data;
  • Recent trends in legal industry use of the cloud;
  • General advantages and disadvantages of the cloud;
  • Understanding security and encryption in the cloud;
  • What security features to look for in a cloud vendor;
  • The economics of cloud storage vs. local storage; and
  • Tips for securing data in the cloud and daily practice.

The webinar is hosted by Above the Law and sponsored by Tresorit, the ultra-secure place in the cloud to store, sync, and share files easily from anywhere, anytime.

The presenter for the program will be Tresorit co-founder and CEO Istvan Lam. I will be moderating the program.

Register for the webinar today. Can’t make the date? If you are unable to join the live webinar, it will also be available as an on-demand link.

LawNext Episode 41: Tom Bruce on 27 Years of Disrupting Legal Information

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 17:59

Disruption is a word that gets thrown around easily these days. But the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School truly was a disruptor. Founded in 1992 with the mission of making legal information available to everyone without cost, it was literally the first legal site on the Internet. It continues strong today, with readership last year of 32 million individuals in 246 countries and territories.

On this episode of LawNext, we talk with Thomas R. Bruce, who is retiring June 30 after 27 years leading the LII. In 1992, Bruce and former Cornell Law Dean Peter W. Martin founded the LII. They codirected it until Martin retired in 2003, after which Bruce continued as sole director. The LII blazed the trail of publishing law online for free, inspiring the creation of some two dozen similar organizations throughout the world, and carrying the banner for the right of citizens to have access to the laws that govern them.

Bruce says he is most proud that he was able to break the monopoly on legal information held by commercial publishers. “The time was ripe for change, and we were the first to use the Web to try our hands at it.”

A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Tom started his career as a stage and production manager before joining Cornell Law School as director of educational technologies. The first seeds of the LII were sowed, Bruce once wrote, with two gin-and-tonics, consumed by someone else. The rest, as they say, is history — a history Bruce recounts in this episode.

Related links:

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Casemaker Unveils Major Redesign of Its Legal Research Platform

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 15:00

The legal research company Casemaker is today introducing a major redesign of its legal research platform called Casemaker4, with a more modern and responsive design, more intuitive navigation and faster search.

The new version is available to all subscribers beginning today. Upon log-in, the platform will continue to default to the prior version, but the subscriber will be able to select to switch to Casemaker4. Any preferences the user has set will also move to the new system.

For now, each time the user logs in, it will default to the old system. Eventually, the default will change to Casemaker4, but with the ability to revert to the old system.

“The new platform is informed by several years of user feedback and an extensive beta testing process,” said Sarah Gorman, Casemaker’s chief operating officer. “The response from the last round of beta was overwhelmingly positive and we are extremely excited to now open up Casemaker4 to our entire subscriber base.”

In redesigning its platform, the company said that it sought to achieve two goals. First, it wanted to improve search speed, modernize the interface to enable more intuitive site navigation, and upgrade design responsiveness to better accommodate mobile devices.

At the same time, it wanted to retain features and design elements that existing users like and minimize changes that could be disorienting to users.

“We were determined to only add features that would matter to our users,” said Dan McCade, chief information officer, “and to not throw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak.”

I was given a preview demonstration of the new platform last week by Gorman, McCade and Khristina Williams, support and marketing manager. I have not yet tried it myself.

Improved Searching and Browsing

The first thing a user will notice is that the home page has been redesigned in a way that makes it easy to begin a research session either by searching or browsing.

For browsing, the user selects a jurisdiction, and then can drill down through materials and documents for that jurisdiction in either of two ways. A tree view presents libraries in the left pane that can be clicked to expand to show subsections and specific documents. A list view presents selections in the center of the screen and lets you click on specific libraries to drill down.

Browsing statutes in tree view.

From what I saw in the demonstration, these browsing options are particularly useful when viewing statutes. You can easily jump from a view of a statute to an archive view showing previous versions, an annotator view showing cases that cite the statute, or back up to the higher level table of contents. From the navigation bar at the top of a document, you can also jump easily to a specific section of a statute, which is helpful for long statutes.

The search bar has also been enhanced. Among other things, you can now select to search a specific federal circuit. Before, you could search only across all federal circuits. You can also select to search any state or any state plus the associated federal courts.

The search bar now has a type-ahead feature to suggest possible searches.

A user can set any jurisdiction as a default, and the search bar will default to that selection. A nice feature is that blue text in the search bar tells you what library you are searching. If you set a default, it will show that. If you select a different jurisdiction to search, it will remind you of that until you clear or change that selection.

The new advanced search options.

A change I think many users will appreciate is that there is always a “breadcrumb trail” at the top of the page showing you how you have navigated to where you are. So if you start at the top level of a jurisdiction’s statutes and make your way down through chapters and sections, you can click anywhere on the trail to return to that point. Previously, Casemaker forced to you return to the beginning and navigate from there.

By clicking in the search box, you can open a drop-down that provides a number of options for advanced search and for refining a search. The drop-down also lets you see a history of all your recent searches and provides tips on improving a search query. As you type a query in the search box, it will give you suggestions for completing what you are typing.

Search results for cases show frequency of citation and any negative treatments.

A nice feature in the search results page is the addition of graphs next to each case that show the frequency with which that case has been cited. This is a good indicator of the relative importance of the case. You also see the thumbs up or thumbs down that indicates if a case is good law or has been cited negatively.

Users can now set alerts for updates and changes.

Another useful new feature is the ability to set alerts and have them delivered via email. Alerts can be set for changes and new developments in cases, statutes and administrative codes. (There is a limit on the number of alerts a user can set, but those who gave me the demonstration were not yet sure of that number, saying they believed it would be five.)

Other Notable Features

Some other notable features of Casemaker4:

  • Shareable links. Get a link to any document that you can share, and the person with whom it is shared will be able to view the document, even without a Casemaker account.
  • Rate this document. Users can rate cases and other documents as a way of crowdsourcing the usefulness or significance of the document. Ratings are anonymous and shared with other Casemaker subscribers.
  • Associate search with client. When you begin research, you can associate it with a client or matter. Until you change that, everything you do in that research session will be saved to that client in your search history. Search histories are saved indefinitely.
  • Greater user control. The new Casemaker gives users much more control over their defaults, allowing them to set defaults for the start page, their searches, their browsing preferences, and other options.
  • Better integration of Casemaker Digest. This feature – which offers summaries of cases written by Casemaker’s editorial staff – has been renamed Case Digest and is now easier to find, thanks to a new “Case Digest” tab.
  • Sort search results by court level. A new option for sorting search results is by court level. This sorts first by federal courts, beginning with the Supreme Court on down, and then by state courts, beginning with the state’s highest court and on down.
  • Reveal on hover. When viewing a statute that references another statute by numerical citation, you can hover over it and see the name of the statute. Similarly, in the legislative history, you can hover over a reference to a prior act and get the name of the act.
  • Link-out boxes. Whenever in the navigation a document is listed, you can either click to view the document in the same window or click a link-out icon to open it in a new window.

To help users with the transition, Casemaker says it has developed all new training videos and help materials. In addition, it says it will have customer support staff at the ready to answer questions and provide assistance.

Bottom Line

I am currently away on travel, so when I get back, I will try the new Casemaker4 for myself. Based on the demonstration I saw, however, the new version appears to be a notable improvement in search and ease of navigation, with several useful new features added to boot.

For any non-subscriber interested in trying it out, the company is offering a free five-day trial through its website.

D.C. Bar Mulls Rules Changes Governing Technology Competence, Data Storage

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 18:20

A committee tasked with reviewing the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct has recommended adoption of revisions designed to underscore that a lawyer’s duty to provide competent representation extends to use of technology.

In addition, the committee has recommended changes to make clear that a lawyer’s duty to protect the confidentiality of client information includes the responsibility to protect against unauthorized access, such as through hacking.

Related: States That Have Adopted the Duty of Technology Competence.

The recommendations from the Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee of the District of Columbia Bar follow from the committee’s review of the recommendations of the ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission, which was charged with reviewing the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct in the context of advances in technology and globalization.

The work of the 20/20 Commission led to a number of changes in the Model Rules, including the revision of Model Rule 1.1, Comment 8, which provided that a lawyer’s obligation to remain competent encompassed “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”

The D.C. committee, in its report, recommended against adopting the language of Comment 8. Because D.C.’s Rule 1.1(a) already required a lawyer to have the “legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation,” the committee was initially concerned about selectively listing a specific skill such as technology.

Ultimately, however, the committee decided to address the issue in a comment to Rule 1.1 — but not Comment 8 as in the Model Rules.

The Committee recommends that adding the words “procedures, and technology” to existing D.C. Rule 1.1, Comment [5] would sufficiently address competence in keeping abreast of technological changes, i.e., cloud computing, as well as the requirement of certain courts to use technologies such as e-discovery and e-filing.

The specific amendment proposed by the committee reads as follows, with the change underlined:

Thoroughness and Preparation

[5] Competent handling of a particular matter includes inquiry into and analysis of the factual and legal elements of the problem, and use of methods, procedures, and technology meeting the standards of competent practitioners. It also includes adequate preparation and continuing attention to the needs of the representation to assure that there is no neglect of such needs. The required attention and preparation are determined in part by what is at stake; major litigation and complex transactions ordinarily require more elaborate treatment than matters of lessor consequences.

Protecting Client Confidences

The D.C. committee also considered recommendations of the 20/20 Commission that resulted in amendments to ABA Model Rule 1.6 regarding confidentiality of client information.

Under the 20/20 amendments, Model Rule 1.6(c) was revised to require that a lawyer “shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”

In addition, comment 18 was amended to make clear that the rule requires lawyers to “take reasonable measures” to prevent unauthorized access to and disclosure of information related to a representation and to provide additional guidance on the factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer’s efforts in this regard.

The D.C. committee concluded that D.C.’s existing rule 1.6(f) adequately addressed a lawyer’s obligation to prevent unauthorized disclosure of client confidences and secrets, meaning disclosure from within the firm to outside. But it determined that the rule did not address unauthorized access initiated from outside the firm, such as hacking.

For that reason, it proposed the addition of language designed to cover the lawyer’s duty to prevent unauthorized access (again with the changes underlined or crossed out):

Rule 1.6 (f) A lawyer shall exercise reasonable care to prevent:

(1) A lawyer shall exercise reasonable care to prevent the lawyer’s employees, associates, and others whose services are utilized by the lawyer from disclosing or using confidences or secrets of a client, except that such persons may reveal information permitted to be disclosed by paragraphs (c), (d), or (e); and

(2) the unauthorized access to confidences or secrets of a client.

In keeping with this recommendation, the committee also recommended revisions to Rule 1.6, Comment 40. As it currently stands, the comment addresses a lawyer’s obligations with respect to the transmission of client confidential information, but not the storage.

The proposed revisions to comment 40 serve two primary purposes, the committee said. One is to make clear that it applies both to transmission and storage. The other is to provide additional guidance on the factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a lawyer’s conduct in transmitting and storing information.

Acting Competently to Preserve Confidences

When transmitting a communication that includes information relating to the representation of a client transmitting or storing confidences or secrets of a client, the lawyer must take reasonable precautions to prevent the information from coming into the hands of unintended recipients. This duty does not require that the lawyer use special security measures if the method of communication or storage affords a reasonable expectation of privacy. Special circumstances, however, may warrant special precautions. Among the fFactors to be considered in determining reasonableness of the lawyer’s expectation of privacy conduct in transmitting or storing that information are: include the sensitivity of the information; and the extent to which the privacy of the client information is protected by law or by a confidentiality agreement; the cost of the security measures; and, difficulty in implementing the safeguards. A client and a lawyer may agree that the lawyer will implement special security measures beyond those required by this rule. A client may give informed consent to forgo security measures that would otherwise be required by this rule. A client may require the lawyer to implement special security measures not required by this rule or may give informed consent to the use of a means of communication that would otherwise be prohibited by this rule. For a lawyer’s duties when sharing information with nonlawyers outside the lawyer’s own firm, see Rule 5.3, Comments [3]-[4].

The committee completed its report and recommendations in February and put them out for public comment, with the comment period having ended April 19. The recommendations now go to the D.C. Bar Board of Governors, which will decide whether to submit the recommendations to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which sets the rules of practice within D.C.

Sonderegger Named to Lead Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory in the U.S.

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 17:33

Dean E. Sonderegger, a veteran of both the legal and software industries, today was named senior vice president and general manager of Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. (LRUS).

A division of Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory internationally, LRUS encompasses legal markets, legal education, healthcare compliance and reimbursement, corporate compliance and international products.

Sonderegger, who will report to Stacey Caywood, CEO, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, has been vice president in charge of legal markets and innovation since joining LRUS in 2015. Before that, he was with Bloomberg BNA for 13 years, where he oversaw strategy and marketing for software products.

Sonderegger is a familiar face to anyone who regularly attends legal technology conferences and industry events, where he often speaks on topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, the evolution of the legal profession and leading business transformation.

At LRUS, he has been credited with spearheading product innovation, with a focus on the rapid development of digital products and services designed to enhance legal professionals’ efficiencies and workflows.

“It’s a true honor to lead LRUS across all five business lines, and to continue to serve our customers in exciting new ways during this time of transformation in the legal and compliance professions,” Sonderegger said in a statement. “With our strong customer focus and significant ongoing investment in both content and software solutions, we are dedicated to continuing to find new ways to help our customers achieve the best outcomes.”

Major Merger Makes E-Discovery Provider An $800M Public Company

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 18:15

Electronic discovery company KLDiscovery says it has entered into an agreement to merge with Pivotal Acquisition Corp., a public investment vehicle, in a deal valued at $800 million that will result in KLD becoming a publicly listed company.

Headquartered in McLean, Va., KLD’s management team, led by CEO Chris Weiler and CFO Dawn Wilson, will continue to run KLD after the transaction, according to the announcement of the deal. Dan Akerson, former CEO of General Motors, will serve as chairman of Pivotal’s board of directors. Pivotal chairman and CEO Jonathan Ledecky will remain on the board as vice chairman.

KLDiscovery was formed after LDiscovery LLC, a company owned by investors The Carlyle Group, purchased Kroll Ontrack in 2016 in a $410 million all-cash transaction. Initially branded KrolLDiscovery after spinning off Ontrack as a separate data-recovery business, it was rebranded in 2018 as KLDiscovery.

Both The Carlyle Group and and another majority shareholder Revolution Growth will retain and roll over their shares.

According to KLD, customers for its cloud-based services and technology include 65% of Fortune 500 companies and 95% of the 100 largest U.S. law firms. It has 43 offices in 20 countries.

With approximately 54% annually recurring revenue, it projects approximately $310 million in revenue and 36% growth in adjusted EBITDA to $75 million for 2019.

Price Wars in Legal Research Mean Deals for Small Firms; I Compare Costs

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:33

LexisNexis has quietly introduced transparent, flat-rate pricing for one- and two-lawyer law firms, with plans starting at $75 a month. This is good news for solo and small firms, and reflects the increasing array of legal research options they can choose from. But exactly how do those options stack up?

The long-established legal research companies LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters face growing competition from alternative upstarts, especially in the small-firm market. Last year, seeking to expand its sales among smaller firms, Casetext introduced Casetext for Small Law, featuring a reduction in its monthly subscription price to as low as $65 for the first attorney and then $55 for others.

Meanwhile, Fastcase and Casemaker continue to offer free access to their services through affinity deals with bar associations and low subscription rates for attorneys who want to purchase access. Both companies continue to add content and features designed to make themselves more competitive with Lexis Advance and Westlaw.

Given this, I wondered how these subscription deals stack up against each other. Here is what I found. Scroll down further for a chart comparing prices.

Lexis Advance

Let’s start with the new pricing from Lexis Advance. That $75-a-month plan comes with a couple conditions. First, to get that price, you need to sign up for three years. If you want to sign up for just a year, it is $108 a month. Second, it covers only your state’s cases and statutes. To get both state and federal, you will need the next pricing tier, which is $125 a month for three years, or $148.84 a month for one year. A premium plan adds expanded access to law reviews and journals and costs $200 a month for three years or $246 a month for one year.

If your research takes you outside your plan, then a whole other pricing schedule kicks in, with document charges for accessing different types of research materials ranging from $10 to $289.

On top of that, there is a monthly “administration charge” of $25 for firms of up to five attorneys. It appears that this is a per-firm charge, not a per-attorney charge.

Interestingly, it appears that LexisNexis raised these prices since first introducing this plan in April. An April 25 Casetext post about the new Lexis plans showed lower prices, with that $75 plan I mentioned above costing just $55.

Westlaw

Westlaw’s pricing page shows that its lowest-tier plan for solos, called Essentials, is $96 a month and requires a one-year contract. For two attorneys, that plan is $130 a month. It includes only cases and statutes for your state. The next tier, Plus, adds federal cases for the federal circuit in which you practice and various other federal and state materials.

The cost of the Plus plan varies according to the state in which you practice. In Massachusetts where I am, it costs $292 a month for one attorney or $393 a month for two, with a one-year contract. In California, the monthly cost is $356 for one attorney or $481 for two. In Idaho, the monthly plan is $230 for one attorney and $309 for two.

If you want a plan that includes all state and federal caselaw, Westlaw offers “custom” options that allow you to choose the materials you need. I created a custom subscription that includes all federal and state cases, but no secondary materials such as treatises. The cost of that in three states I checked — California, Idaho and Massachusetts — is $277 a month for one attorney with a one-year contract or $374 for two attorneys.

All of these prices are for “classic” Westlaw, not the new Westlaw Edge, and apply only to new customers.

Casetext

The pricing introduced last year by Casetext is straightforward. For one attorney, it is $65 a month if billed annually, or $89 if billed monthly. Each addition attorney (up to 10) is $55 per month annually, or $73 if billed monthly. Paralegals and support staff are free.

The Casetext subscription includes unlimited access to all its databases and features, including all federal and state case law, federal and state statutes, federal regulations and — as of this week — all state regulations, some administrative agency decisions, its CARA A.I. service and its new SmartCite feature.

Fastcase

Many lawyers are entitled to free access to Fastcase and Casemaker through affinity deals the companies have with bar associations. Here in Massachusetts where I practice, for example, I get free access to Fastcase as a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association. But if you do not have free access to Fastcase or Casemaker and want to subscribe, both companies offer options.

For lawyers in smaller firms, Fastcase has two plans. Its Appellate plan is $65 a month or $695 a year (about $58 a month) and includes federal and state appellate cases, statutes and regulations. Its Premium plan is $95 a month or $995 a year (about $83 a month) and adds federal district and bankruptcy courts.

Fastcase has been developing an expanding collection of secondary content from bar associations, legal publishers and other sources. Access to these materials is not included in its monthly subscriptions, but users can purchase individual subscriptions based on their interests through the Fastcase eBook Store.

Casemaker

For those who wish to purchase access to Casemaker, the price depends on the state in which you practice. For most states, there are two subscription options. The base level gets you basic Casemaker for $60 a month or $600 a year ($50 a month). The higher level, with access to the full CasemakerPro, costs $95 a month or $950 a year (about $79 a month), and adds features such as Casecheck+, Citecheck and Casemaker Digest.

For Massachusetts, where I am, the price is lower, with access to the full CasemakerPro for $30 a month or $300 a year ($25 a month).

Plans Compared

Comparing this plans is not apples to apples, since each varies in the coverage and materials provided. But if a one- or two-lawyer firm wanted a plan that provided access to all federal and state appellate cases and legislation, here is what it would cost per month for a monthly subscription or per year based on a annual subscription.

Monthly Subscription One Lawyer Two Lawyers Lexis Advance $173.84 $253.00 Westlaw $277.00 $374.00 Casetext $89 $162 Fastcase $65 $130 Casemaker $60 $120 Annual Subscription Lexis Advance $2,086.08 $3,036 Westlaw $3,324.00 $4,488 Casetext $780 $1,440 Fastcase $695 $1,390 Casemaker $600 $1,200

Some notes about these numbers:

  • Lexis Advance. The minimum plan is annual, so there is no month-to-month subscription. Access to federal and state materials requires the Enhanced plan, for which the minimum one-year contract is $148.84 a month for one attorney or $228 a month for two attorneys, plus a $25 per month administrative fee. So the monthly cost is $173.84 for one or $253 for two. The annual cost are those amounts multiplied by 12.
  • Westlaw. I used the cost of the custom plan that I created to include all federal and state case law and statutes. Additional materials are also included.
  • Casetext. The monthly cost is $89 for one attorney and another $73 for the second attorney, for a total of $162. The annual cost is $65 x 12 for one attorney plus $55 x 12 for the second attorney.
  • Fastcase. All Fastcase pricing is monthly, with no minimum contract required. The price shown above is for its lowest tier Appellate plan.
  • Casemaker. The prices shown are for its lowest tier and apply in the majority of states. It appears that attorneys in states where the bar offers Casemaker are not able to purchase it on their own.
Bottom Line

I cannot emphasize enough that price is only part of the comparison among these services. Each offers different collections of materials and different tools to assist in your legal research. If you are in the market for a legal research service, you should carefully evaluate what each offers and whether it matches your needs.

Related: LawNext Episode 3: Casetext’s Founders on their Quest to Make Legal Research Affordable

A Tech Ethics Opinion that Misses the Mark

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 21:35

When a bar association ethics committee goes to the effort of issuing an opinion reminding lawyers of their duty to be competent in technology, I would normally be full of praise.

But a recent ethics opinion from Louisiana misses the mark in two significant ways, in my opinion. It takes too limited an approach to when the duty kicks in, and then takes too narrow an approach to the scope of the duty.

I explain in my column this week at Above the Law: Ethics Opinion Misses the Mark on Tech Competence.

LawNext Episode 40: Gillian Hadfield on Redesigning Our Legal Systems

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 17:00

A lawyer, economist and scholar, Gillian K. Hadfield has devoted much of her career to studying how legal systems can be improved to ensure they meet the needs of the people they are meant to serve. In her book, Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy, she argues that the complexity of today’s global, digital economy has pushed law to its limits, making it too expensive, too complicated, and too far out of touch with our needs.

In this episode of LawNext, host Bob Ambrogi speaks with Hadfield about her book and her proposals for reinventing the legal system. They also discuss her ideas for addressing the access-to-justice gap, her recent research on ensuring the safety of artificial intelligence, her belief that private investment is essential to sparking innovation in law, and her work with the Utah Supreme Court to launch a regulatory sandbox to test many of her theories.

With both a J.D. from Stanford Law School and Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University, Hadfield is currently based at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Rotman School of Management, where she teaches courses in legal innovation and design, responsible development and governance of AI, the origins and evolution of the law, and contract law and strategy.

She is a faculty affiliate at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Toronto and the Center for Human-Compatible AI at the University of California, Berkeley. She has served as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Technology, Values and Policy and Global Agenda Council on Justice and co-curates the Forum’s Transformation Map for Justice and Legal Infrastructure.

She was appointed in 2017 to the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Education and is a member of the World Justice Project’s Research Consortium. She serves as an advisor to The Hague Institute for the Innovation of Law, LegalZoom, and other legal tech startups.

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Wilson Sonsini’s Tech Subsidiary, SixFifty, Releases First Product, For Calif. Privacy Compliance

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 15:00

In February, I reported here that law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati had launched a software subsidiary, SixFifty, to develop automated tools designed to make legal processes more efficient and affordable for businesses and individuals. Today, it is releasing its first product: SixFifty Privacy, a suite of tools to help businesses comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

“The CCPA is an industry-changing law,” SixFifty President Kimball Dean Parker told me during an advance demonstration. “It fundamentally changes how companies are supposed to treat data and the rights consumers have to protect data.”

LISTEN: LawNext Episode 32: Kimball Parker, Head of Wilson Sonsini’s New Tech Subsidiary SixFifty.

Parker and his team developed SixFifty Privacy based on guidance from lawyers in WSGR’s Privacy and Data Protection practice. The application assists companies with four key components of CCPA compliance:

  • Documents, enabling companies to generate all required policies and compliance documents.
  • Requests, providing a dashboard through which companies can collect, manage and fulfill consumer requests to delete, access, or restrict sales of their data.
  • Data mapping, to help companies identify how data enters their systems and where it is stored.
  • Training, to provide required training to all employees who interact with consumers or handle consumer information.

Using this platform, a company can lay the foundation for its CCPA compliance within 15 minutes, Parker said.

The application creates a consumer-facing portal branded with the company’s logo.

The application creates a consumer-facing portal through which companies receive requests. The company can brand this with its logo and customize certain features of it. Because the law applies only to California residents, the portal will ask consumers to verify their residency before allowing them to submit a request.

Companies can manage consumer requests through a dashboard.

SixFifty provides a set of templates, developed in conjunction with WSGR attorneys, for responding to consumer requests. SixFifty provides new customers with five hours of implementation assistance to help companies customize these templates or develop their own, and make other adjustments to the platform and its set-up.

Companies can create all policy and contractual documents required for compliance.

SixFifty also provides all the policy and contractual documents required for CCPA compliance. The platform walks a company through a series of questions in order to create the documents. Once a question is answered, the information is saved and can be used again wherever it is needed. The final documents are generated in Microsoft Word. If legal developments result in changes to any of the document templates, SixFifty will notify the company to generate the updated document.

Training is presented through a series of short videos.

For the training, the platform provides a series of short videos, each followed by brief quiz questions. All the videos were developed in conjunction with WSGR attorneys, Parker said. All training is logged and the company can generate a report at any time of who has started and completed the training.

Pricing

For a company to hire a law firm and technology-development firm to create everything SixFifty Privacy offers would cost in the range of $250,000, Parker estimates. In setting pricing for this application, his goal was to allow companies to obtain everything they need a tenth to a fifth of that cost.

For SixFifty Privacy, the pricing will vary based on the size of the company, the ways they collect data, and other factors. Here is the breakdown:

  • For the core compliance documents, $7,500, plus a yearly renewal fee of $2,000 to reflect WSGR’s periodic updates to the documents.
  • For the consumer requests portal, $5,000 for 500 requests and then increasing from there. Companies would buy requests in bundles.
  • Training is in the range of $50 to $100 per seat, based on how many seats the company has. A seat means the employees who actually take the training, not the overall number of employees. The law requires that the training be renewed every year.

“We’ve really thought through, what does the company need, what are the core functionalities, and how do we make it as easy and affordable as possible,” Parker said.

Future Plans

While SixFifty Privacy is not the only CCPA compliance tool on the market, Parker says it comes with one major competitive advantage: “This has the knowledge from one of the world’s best privacy practices baked in.” On top of that, he believes this application is the most affordable and easiest to use.

And as other states adopt data-privacy laws of their own, the platform will be updated to handle them.

Parker is the lawyer who developed the innovative LawX design lab at BYU Law School together with the school’s dean, D. Gordon Smith.  (I have written a number of posts about LawX, which you can find here.) Under Parker’s mentorship, the LawX lab last year released SoloSuit, an online tool to help those who cannot afford legal services respond to debt collection lawsuits.

At the law firm Parsons Behle & Latimer in Salt Lake City, Parker and Porter formed an innovation subsidiary, Parsons Behle Lab, where they developed GDPR IQ, a tool that generates all the legal documents a company needs to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation.

In February, WSGR announced the launch of SixFifty and the naming of Parker to lead it. At the time, Parker told me that, once it completed the privacy application, SixFifty would turn its attention to other projects, including in the area of access to justice.

That remains true, Parker told me, explaining that the software that underlies SixFifty Privacy can be adapted to a range of uses. “Our minds are spinning with how to use these technologies for access-to-justice issues,” he said.

Bloomberg Law Expands Its Litigation Coverage With New Practical Guidance Content

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 17:00

Last year, I wrote here about legal research service Bloomberg Law’s introduction of a library of more than 30 Practical Guidance suites, collections of practice tools, checklists, timelines and annotated forms covering more than 200 topics, including GDPR, health care, cybersecurity, corporate and commercial transactions.

Today, Bloomberg Law is rolling out an expansion of those suites with new Practical Guidance resources focused on litigation. As it is launching today, the new Litigation Practical Guidance focuses on responsive pleadings and motions, with overviews, checklists, sample forms and sample filings related to responding to a complaint; amending, joining and countersuing; and motions such as to dismiss or for summary judgment.

In the works — but not yet launched — are additional litigation-related Practical Guidance suites on special defenses and discovery.

As part of today’s roll-out, Bloomberg Law is also unveiling a Litigation Resources page, which organizes litigation-related research tools and reference materials, including statutes of limitations, jury instructions, court rules, laws, and regulations.

This includes a guide to state statutes of limitations that can be both browsed and searched. All of this litigation content is also integrated with other litigation-related tools on Bloomberg Law, such as Points of Law, Smart Code, and the Dockets database.

Oddly, however, there appears to be no seamless way to access Bloomberg Law’s litigation analytics from these new Practical Guidance pages — something that Bloomberg intends to fix, I was told during a demonstration yesterday.

Within the Litigation Practical Guidance, a user will find:

  • Overviews, checklists and forms to help litigators identify the legal and procedural issues pertinent to a matter.
  • Related content, with links to other relevant Practical Guidance suites, research tools, legal materials, reference materials, and practice centers.
  • Integration with Points of Law, a Bloomberg Law feature that lets users quickly find key legal principles.
  • Integration with Smart Code, providing current judicial interpretations of statutes, rules and regulations.
  • Practice Tips, for guidance on best practices.
  • Access to court dockets, including to find examples of similar motions.

During a demonstration yesterday, Bloomberg Law President Joe Breda said that today’s announcement represents a significant expansion of content and a new direction for Bloomberg Law. While the service is known for coverage of areas such as tax, labor, employee benefits and intellectual property, litigation has not been a primary focus, he said.

While the company has been gradually bulking up litigation-related features over the past few years, it spent the last year on developing the kind of foundational content litigators need, Breda said. Leading that effort has been Mindy Rattan, a former litigator with Baker Donelson and McKenna Long & Aldridge.

As with everything on Bloomberg Law, this new Litigation Practical Guidance and the accompanying Litigation Resources section are available to all subscribers at no additional cost.

Nominations Open For 2019 Changing Lawyer Awards, Recognizing Drivers Of Change in Legal

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 18:36

Nominations are now open for The Changing Lawyer Awards 2019, recognizing individuals, firms and companies in the legal industry for their role in embracing and driving change, whether through new technology, service models, or behavior.

This is the second year of the award and the third year of The Changing Lawyer, an annual publication that started as a collection of articles exploring the changes taking place in the legal industry. The awards, sponsored by Litera Microsystems, are designed to recognize and celebrate those individuals and organizations that have best embraced and championed change.

The awards recognize achievement in four categories:

  • The Law Firm of the Year award recognizes the law firm that has most successfully reimagined the way it serves its clients.
  • The Legal Innovator of the Year award recognizes the individual who has driven the most significant change and provided strategic vision within their firm.
  • The Disruptor of the Year award recognizes the alternative legal service provider or legal tech supplier that has most successfully disrupted the broader legal profession.
  • The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes an individual who has been influential throughout their career as a champion of change, demonstrating a commitment to driving the evolution and beneficial impact of technology within legal services.

Once again this year, I will serve as one of the judges. The other judges are:

The deadline for nominations is July 10. Nominations can be submitted on the awards website. Winners will be announced at ILTACON 2019 in August.

Maine’s New CLE Rule Gives A Tepid Nod To Technology Competence

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 14:50

As regular readers of this blog know, I track the states that have adopted the duty of technology competence for lawyers. As of this writing, 36 states have done so. In addition, two states have revised their CLE rules to require ongoing technology training for lawyers.

Maine has done neither — it has adopted neither the duty of technology competence nor mandatory tech CLE. However, as of May 1, a new CLE rule took effect in Maine (Maine Bar Rule 5) that at least gives an aspirational nod to technology competence, albeit a tepid one.

The new Rule 5 replaces Maine’s former CLE rule in its entirety. The first paragraph sets out the purpose of the rule:

To maintain public confidence in the legal profession and the rule of law, and to promote the fair administration of justice, attorneys must be competent regarding the law, legal and practice-oriented skills, the standards and ethical obligations of the legal profession, and the management of their practices. The purpose of minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) requirements is to promote and sustain competence and professionalism and to ensure that attorneys remain current on the law, law practice management, and technology in our rapidly changing society. These rules establish minimum requirements for continuing legal education, accreditation criteria, and compliance procedures.

The key phrase there — which I’ve highlighted — is that the purpose of setting minimum CLE requirements is to “ensure that attorneys remain current on the law, law practice management, and technology.”

An admirable purpose, no doubt. Oddly, however, the rule never again mentions technology. It specifies that attorneys must have at least one credit hour in ethics and professionalism and one in avoiding harassment and discriminatory conduct. But no requirement related to technology.

The rule provides guidance on what CLE programs must cover. To be accredited, it says, they “must have significant intellectual or practical content designed to promote attorney competence and must deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law, ethics and professionalism, or law practice management.” But again, there is no requirement that programs cover technology, let alone mention of technology.

I contacted Aria Eee, counsel to Maine’s Board of Overseers of the Bar, to make sure I was not missing something in Maine’s rules. She confirmed that this is the only reference to technology. She wrote:

Maine attorneys are encouraged to attend CLE programming that provides education on safe and effective ways to use technology in law practice. Attorneys will receive credit if they attend such CLEs and the program has been approved by the Board’s CLE committee. But the tech aspect is not a requirement, rather more of an aspirational CLE goal.

So the stated purpose of the rule, in part, is to ensure that attorneys remain current on technology. But there is no express requirement of competence or training in technology. The rule creates no obligation for attorneys to be technologically competent. But at least it creates an aspiration. And that, I suppose, is better than nothing.

 

Another Legal Tech Startup Is Shutting Down

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 17:57

Last week, I reported that legal tech startup Tali will be shutting down, effective June 30. Now I have another shut-down to report — SupportHound, a spousal support calculator for Oregon attorneys that used real cases to calculate how much and how long a spousal support award should be.

SupportHound was founded in 2016 by Julie Gentili Armbrust, an attorney and family law mediator in Oregon. The site uses data collected from actual cases to analyze the financial situations of parties going through a divorce and recommend a suggested support award. The suggestion forms a data-driven basis for negotiations with opposing counsel.

In an email last week to SupportHound customers, Armbrust said that she had made the difficult decision to shut down the site.

“I don’t have the energy or the passion to run two successful businesses,” she wrote. “Of course, it is more complicated than that … and also as simple as that.”

The site is no longer accepting new subscriptions and it will shut down entirely on June 6. Customers entitled to refunds will be issued pro rata refunds on June 6.

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