Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lexis Practice Advisor Bulks Up with new M&A, "What's Market" and Securities Content, Adds New Functions and a "Crowdsourcing" Twist

"The new normal" in law firms demands a relentless focus on efficiency. Even complex transactional work offers opportunities for process improvement. Lexis is expanding the offerings of Practice Advisor and taking aim at market share now held by Practical Law Company (PLC) a UK company which was recently purchased by Thomson Reuters.

Lexis Practice Advisor is a separate application from the LexisNexis research service, but it draws on some of the prime intellectual content behind the paywall to provide practical guidance on transactions. It also leverages Lexis Advance functionality including the search algorithm, filters, alerts and folders.

New Modules Today Lexis is announcing the addition of two modules: Mergers & Acquisitions (with Market Tracker), and Securities & Capital Markets. Prior modules include: Business & Commercial, Financial Restructuring & Bankruptcy, California, Corporate Counsel

According to Lexis executives, they set out to develop an easy intuitive product which optimizes workflow and mitigates key pain points of the transactional practitioner:: simplify the routine processes, reduce the learning curve, jump start the drafting process.

The Practice Advisor provides, Step by step guidance, how-to, checklists, model documents. Commentary is written by experienced practitioners who are both internal and external authorities.

"Crowdsourced" Content. Like PLC Lexis has hired experienced practitioners to develop the content. Here comes the crowd. Unlike PLC they have hired practitioners at Amlaw 100 firms to write the practice materials."The meet our authors" section discloses who is providing editorial content. This is the first workflow tool I can think of which combines commentary  from both internal and external experts.

Lexis Practice Advisor – Mergers & Acquisitions with Lexis Market Tracker

The Lexis Practice Advisor Mergers & Acquisitions module covers the key areas of M&A transactions such as Public Company M&A, Private Asset Acquisitions, Private Stock Acquisitions and Private Mergers. It addresses the core activities of an M&A attorney – from structuring and planning a deal, handling preliminary agreements and conducting due diligence, to drafting and negotiating the main purchase or merger agreement, signing and closing. Built and managed by a team that includes experienced former Am Law 100 M&A attorneys, the Mergers & Acquisitions module also features content contributions from lawyers at Amlaw 100 firms. The advisor includes a variety of forms including: standard templates, annotated forms and negotiated forms. The forms are interactive and allow lawyers to add terms which are applied throughout the draft which can then be saved in Word.

Lexis Market Tracker

Lexis Market Tracker tool,  offers real-time insight in the M&A market with granular searching of  over 1,000 recent deals using over 900 deal points. Lawyers can search, compare and analyze relevant deals, negotiated terms, structures and provisions, enabling them to accelerate and optimize their deal negotiations and executions. It allows lawyers to analyze deals by law firm or deal terms. The filtering features allow lawyers to save hours of time in identifying and comparing deal terms conforming to specific criteria. The deal results can be downloaded into a spreadsheet. Searching by law firm  name allows a lawyer to see what terms opposing counsel has agreed to in a similar deal. One of the more advanced features shown below, illustrates how the report can compute analytics "on the fly" showing metrics for termination fees in Health Care  industry deals.

Termination fees in Health Care Industry

Lexis Practice Advisor – Securities & Capital Markets

The Lexis Practice Advisor Securities & Capital Markets module addresses the primary elements of securities transactions, including Private Offerings, IPOs, Rule 144A/Reg. S Debt Offerings and Follow-on Offerings and key filings, such as Proxy Statements and Periodic Reports. Featuring contributions from lawyers at preeminent law firms. The module offers legal analysis, cases, codes and SEC administrative materials, such as no-action letters, as well as compliance and disclosure interpretations and releases for key federal securities law topics. It also includes 50-state coverage for important issues under Blue Sky Law.

Up Next Additional releases this year will include Real Estate and Intellectual Property. They can be purchased as an annual all-inclusive subscription .Modules are available as stand-alone products or in conjunction with other LexisNexis subscriptions.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Practice Innovations: The "Legal Project Management" Issue

The March  issue of Thomson Reuters Practice Innovations is out. Articles focus on legal project management in various contexts, Litigation, Knowledge Management, Research, Process Improvement.

Here are links to the articles:

Process Improvement and Legal Work Product by Silvia Coulter, LawVision Group

Distressed Litigation and Legal Project Management by James Buckley and Aileen Levanton, Qlex  Consulting Inc.

Organizational Project Management in Law Firms By Don Philmlee, Legal Technology Consultant

Intersection of Knowledge Management and Legal Project Management by Lisa Kellar Gianakos Pillbury Winthrop Shaw Pitman

Have it Your Way Unique Approaches to Legal Project Management By Sharon Melt Abrahams, Foley and Lardner

Research Services Management: Strategic Sense by  Linda Will, Thomson and Knight

About Practice Innovations

Monday, March 18, 2013

Before Women Could "Lean In" The "Good Girls" Had to Revolt: Newsweek Researchers Rebelled 43 Years Ago This Week

Newsweek  Cover March 23, 1970
On March 16, 1970 Newsweek ran a cover story "Women in Revolt" about the nascent women's movement. To the editors, it was a distant and exotic fringe movement. That same day 46  female Newsweek researchers  and their lawyer Eleanor Holmes Norton held a press conference announcing that they were filing an EEOC lawsuit against Newsweek.  This was the first female class action lawsuit. It charged Newsweek with discrimination in hiring and promotions. Newsweek had effectively constructed a female ghetto: the "research department," full of female graduates of prestigious schools who could clip, fact check and research, but not analyse, write or report, and never ever rise to editor. Newsweek had developed a segregated system of journalism that divided research, reporting, writing, and editing roles solely on the basis of gender.

Primary Sources. I tried to track down the original complaint or any primary sources associated with the suit. According to a  librarian at the EEOC reading room, the case did not go to trial, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the 46 women and Newsweek on August 26, 1970 resolving the complaint. The complaint is considered "private" and is unavailable to the public.

Luckily, one of the litigants, Lynn Povich, tells the story of the revolt in her 2012 book, The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace.

Setting the Stage It was the "swinging 60's" Mod Squad and Laugh-In were on TV, The Beatles were still together,  the  Viet Nam War would last 5 more years...being a researcher at Newsweek was considered a "pretty good job for a girl...." It didn't even require typing. But... it also provided no career path. These top tier college grads were slotted into a dead end track at the magazine. Since it's founding, Newsweek's editorial staff included "girls' known as "checkers" who researched and verified facts. Years later the term was upgraded to "researcher,"  but in fact, the male writers and editors referred to  them as "Dollies." But being called a "Dollie" was nothing compared to the overt sexual commentary that was permissible at  Newsweek (and most  workplaces) at the time. In 1970, there was no name for this kind of behavior - it appears to have not even been mentioned as a factor in the lawsuit. The notion of the "hostile work environment" was decades in the future.

Norton and the Newsweek researchers
Photo © Bettman/Corbis.

What Problem? We Don't See a Problem. The all male editorial hierarchy at the magazine were completely flummoxed when they heard about the lawsuit. After all,  they supported the  civil rights movement!  The problem was invisible to them! They had not hired radical feminists. The researchers were  women  who wore hats and white gloves to church. They were  women of their time and culture who had stumbled into a societal breach between  the old and new worlds.They had the courage to do something they had not been raised to do. They asked "why not me?" Not all of the researchers wanted to be writers or editors. Some of the women simply wanted their research activities to be given equal status to  the traditionally male roles, such as reporting. They also  agreed that the women  who wanted upward mobility should have the path cleared for them.

The male leadership could not understand that they were doing anything wrong. Even after they settled  with the researchers, there were no material changes in the mobility of women into the writing and editorial ranks. The women had to sue a second time in order  to force the editors to begin to offer reporting, writing and editorial opportunities to the researchers.

"Which Side Am I Supposed To Be On?" Katherine Graham the Publisher and owner of the  Washington Post Company  and Newsweek, when told of the lawsuit - inquired,'"Which side am I supposed to be on?" Well, she was even more conflicted than that.  In 1969 Graham had been interviewed by Women's Wear Daily and made this statement: "I think a man would be better at the job I'm in than a woman." In fairness, Graham was thrust into the position after the death of her husband who had succeeded her father in "the family business."  She was the only woman to be in such a high position at a publishing company, she had no female role models and had difficulty being taken seriously by many of her male colleagues and employees.

Lean In 2013. Sheryl Sandberg's book. Leaning In: Women Work and the Will to Lead: challenges us to wonder why  women outpace men in educational  achievements, but are still under  represented in the C suite and on corporate boards. Yet I hear an echo of Katherine Graham's insecurity and ambivalence in Sandberg's words almost half a century later:"I still face situations that I fear are beyond my qualifications, I still have days when I feel like a fraud."*

Which leads one to wonder, what does this all mean for legal information professionals?

*I recommend reading Deborah Tannen's "You just don't understand me: Men and Women in Conversation," I read it about 20 years ago, but I am pretty sure she addresses gender differences in dealing with insecurity, and expressions thereof...

Note: Jamie Furillo provided research assistance, dare I say "fact checking" this article!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Libraries Shrinking? Not So Fast! A Tipping Point for eBooks?

20,000 pages of health care regulations

Just when  we all thought libraries were shrinking, along comes the new health care law . The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 clocks in at over 2,000 pages. I have always wondered about the ratio between the length of a statute and the volume of regulations it's implementation will generate. Well we may have the beginnings of a metric. Yesterday I came across a photo of the health care regulations which have been generated by the Affordable Care Act  to date. As of March 13th, the new health care law has generated 20,000 pages of regulations.So the working ratio at this point is that 10 pages of regulations are generated  for every one page of law. 
Could this result in major reshifts of libraries as we try to make room for  the additional volumes of CFR?

 Could These Regs be Tipping Point for eBooks?

Since the IRS will be enforcing compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I am trying to envision now many volumes will be added to the already massive IRS code and regs which is compiled into a 9 volume set by one major publisher.  Will publishers be issuing the new  tax code  and regulation's sending the books with wheeled brief case?  Or ---will the sheer weight of the tax laws and regulations accelerate the adoption of eBooks by the legal profession.?

What's Up With Lexis? They Are Buying Gulp - - Books!

Lexis Quietly Acquires a Collection for Oxford University Press

This past week Lexis quietly acquired the a collection of  55 titles  from Oxford University Press US Law Division.  Now before you get too excited here’s the bummer – the collection does not include one of my personal favorites, the Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations by Yale Law Librarian, Fred R Shapiro. ( I was assured this was not completely "off the table for the future.)The  Oxford titles include publications primarily in the Intellectual Property area. Another 30 publications  covering IP, Corporate, Environmental and Insurance Law will be added over. the next two years. These publications will become part of the LexisNexis portfolio of legal products. LexisNexis will develop e-book and online versions of this content – which  to date has only been available in print format.
 I spoke with  Steve Errick, VP & MD LexisNexis Legal & Professional; Errick described this acquisition as part of a  strategy to enhance Lexis analytical content offerings and to make them available in a variety of formats including, online and ebook offerings.

Errick noted that LexisNexis sells their e-books directly on their own web site, via Overdrive Lending solution and through Amazon. Since Lexis introduced e-books and print titles for sale on Amazon, over 40% of their sales through Amazon is e-book sales. Law student texts, practice titles in Criminal Law, Family Law and Property Law are among the leading categories sold through Amazon.
 What's The Strategy?

Errick described this acquisition as part of a  strategy build authoritative commentary and analysis to  to be integrated with Practice Advisor . Practice Advisor is in head to head competition with Thomson Reuters which recently acquired Practical Law Company. Both companies are making major plays in the lawyer productivity space. Both PLC and Practice Advisor are designed to help lawyers enhance efficiency ie reduce the amount of time billed for drafting documents.These products provide templates, workflows, commentary and checklists.The addition of high quality analytical materials will be a key component in the development of this product.

Errick saw the opportunity  with  Oxford as mutually beneficial because the company didn’t have a great strategy for the legal marketplace. The Oxford titles will compliment the existing Matthew Bender treatise collection which Lexis Nexis will be intergrating into the Practice Advisor platform.

Karin Lieber,Sales, Strategic Accounts at LexisNexis – describes the search for content as an almost  archeological  effort. They are searching for "jewels of content which they need to put in the right setting." IIf they can't acquire all the content they need, they will devlop new content in-house to fill any gaps.

By Contrast Thomson Reuters....
It was only two month ago that Thomson Reuters announced they  shifting their focus away from  being a content provider to being a solutions provider. This was followed up in February with an announcement that they had  sold Foundation Press. Foundation was  the premier casebook publisher  of books with the distinctive navy blue buckram covers with gold tooled lettering which curved the spines of many a law student for generations. In early February Thomson Reuters has completed the sale of our Law School Publishing business to Eureka Growth Capital.

The Race For Content Diverges
So while LexisNexis and ThomsonReuters have some divergent approaches to the acqusition and retention of content, I can easily predict this will not be the last acquistion of 2013.

Friday, March 8, 2013

To The Summit and Beyond: The Top Ten Reasons to Attend SOS: Shaping Our Success

Not the official logo :-)
Joan Axelroth and I will be Co-Chairing the PLL Summit in Seattle on July 13th. You can register at this link.

The Top 10 Value Propositions for Attending the AALL PLL-SIS Summit IV

SOS: Shaping Our Success - July 13, 2013

AALL Annual Meeting Seattle, WA

The Private Law Libraries Summit, now in its fourth year, continues as a vehicle for examining the impact and opportunities presented by change. Last year, we looked at changes in the business and practice of law and envisioned what those changes mean for the future. This year, we explore how to take charge, shaping ourselves as well as the services we provide to meet these new world demands. In the morning, a keynote address designed to get our creative juices flowing will be followed by a panel discussion addressing librarian roles: how do we identify, adopt and promote the roles that add value to our organizations? How do we brand ourselves as the owners of more than books and online contracts? In the afternoon, interactive breakout sessions will investigate the practical aspects of social media, the art of selling and the user experience. Participants will be better able to shape their success by defining the roles and developing the services that add value to our organizations.

Now on to the top 10 value propositions for attending....

10. Escape the brutal July heat and spend time in “cool” and beautiful Seattle, Washington.

9. Attend the destined-to-be amazing Bloomberg/BNA Welcome Reception on Friday evening.

8. Grants are available to attend the Summit! Stay tuned to the Summit blog for more information.

7. Networking, networking, networking!

6. Opportunity to attend two out of three interactive afternoon workshops/programs.

5. Get practical advice on leveraging social media to enhance your role and services.

4. Get useful tips on increasing yourresource utilization and library traffic by enhancing user experience.

3. Uncover awesome techniques for selling management on your latest ideas for enhancing library services.

2. Hear from an amazing lineup of well-known and influential keynote, luncheon and educational program speakers.

And the number 1 reason….

You will leave armed with tips on how to take charge and shape your success as a provider of information that meets the new world demands you are facing in fresh and innovative ways!

Visit the PLL Summit Blog to get more information, or apply for a grant to attend the Summit. Click here to register for the conference. Please note that it is a pre-conference of AALL and you must check the appropriate box on the annual meeting form to register for the Summit.

In order to provide access to a wide audience, we have secured a venue that can accommodate up to 300 attendees. We encourage members to register early so they can be a part of this invaluable one-day conference.

If you have additional questions please contact the co-chairs, Joan Axelroth
or Jean O’Grady

Thank-you to our generous sponsors: Bloomberg Law/Bloomberg BNA, Thomson Reuters, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, and LexisNexis.

National Puzzle Day Legal Research Crossword Answers

Here are the answers to the National Puzzle Day  Legal Research Crossword Challenge which was posted in January.. Sorry no winning entries received this time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Let the Lawyers Beware: Just Because You Wrote it Doesn't Mean You Own It

Everyone is building their brand these days. Writing  articles for publication is a common form of marketing outreach which demonstrates the special expertise of the lawyer and firm. It  can put the lawyer and firm name in front of existing and potential clients  who read trade or specialized legal publications. In order to maximize the residual benefits authorship, it is important to carefully review the publisher's standard contract. It might be logical to assume that  the lawyer and firm retain rights to the publication, but  it ain't necessarily so.

Getting Less Than You Didn't Bargain For
It is not uncommon for lawyers to write articles and expect no monetary compensation from the publisher. They benefit from the opportunity to showcase their expertise or special insights on an emerging legal issue. It is perhaps an overreach for a publisher to claim rights beyond the initial publication, but that doesn't mean they won't do it. The lawyer may accidentally give away all future opportunity to reuse the publication for personal or firm benefit. To state the obvious you must...

Read the Fine Print

Recently I have encountered two different specialty newsletter publishers who had approached lawyers  and solicited articles for publication in  their commercial trade publications. I discovered that in both instances, the publishers standard contract required the lawyer to transfer ownership of the article to the publisher.
The appalling implications of this are that the firm either has to ask for permission and possibly pay a royalty to make routine future use of the publication. This means::
  • You can't publish it on the practice group page of the intranet
  • You can't publish it on the firm's external website 
  • You can't distribute it internally to your colleagues 
  • You can't forward it to your clients 
  • You can't reprint it for in house educational materials 
  • You can't reprint it for a client seminar 
  • You can't reprint it as a marketing handout
In short -- the attorney and firm might find themselves creating intellectual capital and then for a lack of due diligence, end up paying a third party for the right to reuse the publication for the most routine marketing and educational opportunities.

Just Ask
It is important to negotiate the terms of ownership or the licensing terms to assure that the attorney and or the firm retain the right make all future marketing and educational uses of the publication. Many small publishers don't have an in-house counsel and can not afford to hire counsel to renegotiate custom terms.  If the publisher will not renegotiate the standard terms, they may agree to an addendum or side letter  prepared by the author which amends the standard terms. Ideally the contract should restore ownership to the author and  modify any license to assure unencumbered use of the publication for marketing and educational purposes. If the publisher won't negotiate it may be best to explore other publishing options..

 The Negotiator
As libraries have grown more digital, professional librarians have developed a high degree of expertise negotiating content licenses and can be an excellent resource in reviewing licenses for publications and negotiations with publishers. If you have such in house talent, don't be afraid to tap your resident negotiator.