Sunday, September 25, 2016

ABA Magazine Honors Dewey B Strategic Blogger with a "Legal Rebels" Profile For "Leading Lawyers Through the Tech Maze"

Dewey B Strategic and I were recently honored with a "Legal Rebels" Profile and podcast on the ABA Journal website "Dewey B Strategic's Jean O'Grady  Leads Lawyers Through the Tech Maze."

Here is an excerpt:

Most people see librarians as the quiet personification of technical obsolescence. Jean O’Grady is out to change that.

Far from sitting in a dusty room full of outdated books and CD-ROMs and telling visitors to keep quiet, the senior director of research and knowledge at DLA Piper in Washington, D.C., is at the forefront of pushing the legal industry toward embracing technology as a means of enhancing the practice of law. Through her acclaimed blog, Dewey B Strategic (which has been selected for the ABA Journal Blawg 100 every year since 2012), as well as through numerous public appearances and interviews, O’Grady informs lawyers about what the current legal tech landscape looks like and what kinds of innovative tools are at their disposal...

"While the blog is named for someone from the past, O’Grady is focused squarely on the future. “I think we are about to see a spectacular growth in innovation,” she says. “Analytics will allow lawyers to ask completely new questions like ‘What will happen?’ instead of just ‘What happened?’ Lawyers will have to speed up their adoption and embrace of analytics.”" Read the full article here.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

LexisNexis Acquires Intelligize: Intelliize + Lex Machina = A Bigger Data Play?

Yesterday LexisNexis announced their intent to acquire Intelligize -- one of those start up gems that came late to the SEC research party and became the "belle of the ball."  Well really, it was  completely different kind of SEC research product that  not only provided deep faceted searching of documents, but introduced powerful algorithms which produce unique insights into SEC comment letters, no action letters and standard  corporate filings.  Today I had the opportunity to discuss the Lexis- Intelligize deal with Jeff Pfeifer, Lexis VP of Product Management and Todd Hicks, CEO of Intelligize.

Intelligize and Securities Mosaic? Do Customers Need Both? In 2013 Lexis bought another "boutique" securities product  with a loyal following called Securities Mosaic. It is hard to see why Lexis would retain both Securities Mosaic and Intelligize, especially when one of them, Intelligize is driven by  more sophisticated technology. Here is a clue. Securities Mosciac will move into the Intelligize organization where both products will be managed by Todd Hicks the current CEO of Intelligize. In today's call, Hicks indicated that they plan to take time and conduct  "a thoughtful assessment of the  product roadmaps for each product" before determining if the products should be merged or remain separate.  For the remainder of 2016, both products will operate separately within LexisNexis North American Research Solutions organization. In January the two product teams will come together within LexisNexis under the leadership of Todd Hicks.

Intelligize and Lex Machina for Securities - the Bigger Data Play?  Less than a year ago LexisNexis purchased Lex Machina  a litigation analytics product.  It seems unlikely that it is a mere coincidence that the first non-IP module for Lex Machina  was focused on securities law and it launched only six weeks ago.  The more interesting alignment of Lexis products may be the convergence of these two securities data sets powered by algorithms and data: Lex Machina for securities litigation  and Intelligize for securities transactions.  Could  a marriage of Intelligize and Lex Machina for Securities Litigation create a whole new breed of legal intelligence platform? Imagine a product that identifies the documents and clauses that are most vulnerable to litigation. Imagine a product that analyses SEC filings and predicts events such as shareholder activism, takeover targets and lawsuits!

Lexis Content Acquisition Strategy. For the past few years LexisNexis  has been collecting legal content gems - Law360, Lex Machina, MLex. Instead of integrating them into the massive LexisNexis organization, each company has remained a stand alone operation retaining their entrepreneurial culture, their key talent and their client relationships. Core Lexis content is being leveraged to enhance the offering of the smaller companies. At some point it would make sense for  - Lexis to start aligning some of the content synergies between the acquired gems. Are they ready to to that?

Why Lexis and Intelligize Agreed to the Deal?
According to Jeff Pfeifer, Lexis VP of Product Management, Lexis has been focused on developing solutions that provide deeper insights using machine learning and analytics. That is.... insights which can't be achieved with traditional text searching. Pfeifer anticipates that Intelligize content will be used to enhance existing Lexis products such as Lexis Practice Advisor and Lexis for Microsoft Office. Pfeifer also described how Lexis Search Advantage  and Intelligize could be combined to enhance internal firm document  research using "clause level analysis." This feature  would enable firms to analyze their own deal documents and compare documents and clauses with peer data sets. This functionality would have an application both in drafting and deal strategy.

According to  Todd Hicks, Intelligize had other suitors, but chose Lexis because of the company's commitment to letting Intelligize remain a stand alone company while making Lexis content and technology available for product enhancements. Hicks anticipates that as a Lexis subsidiary they  can accelerate  the product enhancement pipeline. Hicks indicated that product enhancements are likely to focus on improving drafting tools, expanding regulatory products. Since Intelligize recently  launched an exempt offerings module, Hicks indicated that they would explore creating an international exempt offerings module which would include offerings from non-US stock exchanges.

Like many of my colleagues, I feel a twinge of sadness as I watch the arc of another small startup move from  scrappy innovator to hot property for acquisition. At least we can look back at how Lexis has handled, Securities Mosaic,  MLex, Law360 and Lex Machina -- to see that those companies and products have retained their identities while expanding content and functionality under the Lexis umbrella.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lex Machina Launches New "Easy Button" Analytics Apps to Compare Judges, Courts and Law Firms

Lex Machina is not a hard product to use. It is loaded with data and offers lawyers an infinite landscape of  data permutations. As I have often said "lawyers don't want research products that make them feel like they are wiring a powerplant. They want to flip a light switch." In 2014 Lex Machina launched three desktop '" apps": the early case assessor, the motion kick starter and the patent portfolio evaluator.  These are the "lightswitchs" of litigation data discovery. Today they are announcing the release of two more "apps" the court and judges comparator and the law firm comparator.
Each of these new functions takes what was formally a multistep process and provides a " fill in the blanks" template which in one click produces a set of charts comparing  up to 4 courts judges or law firms using custom selected criteria.

The Court and Judges Comparator

This function allows a lawyer to compare up to four districts or judges. There are two basic "use cases" for this app. One is forum selection:  comparing  trends in districts in order to determine the most  favorable jurisdiction in which to file. The other is to compare an assigned judge to alternate jurisdictions for when  considering a motion to transfer. In each scenario up to four judges and courts can be compared along multiple criteria: trends in case filings, assessing the expertise of the judge, average time for a  preliminary injunction grant, average time to  dismissal,  average time to claim construction, average time to summary judgment,  average time to trial.

The Law Firm Comparator

This new app can be used by outside counsel in selecting law firms as well as by law firms seeking new business. A law firm can compare themselves to three other law firms across multiple criteria  including: volume of cases, number of open cases, number of terminated cases, party roles, success rates and remedies. GCs can compare existing outside counsel with competitor firms using these same types of metrics.

Even though the apps makes the production of comparative charts easy,  the expertise of a lawyer is still required to assess the meaning of the data and trends produced by the comparators.

The Lex Machina apps are "an add"  on to the Lex Machina subscription.

When I interviewed Owen Byrd, Lex Machina's Chief Evangelist and General Counsel for this post he indicated that the engineers  at Lex Machina
would continue developing what he refers to as "easy buttons" for lawyers. New apps could include comparators for parties and individual attorneys-- which I agree would be welcome additions to the comparator family.

Keep the "easy buttons" coming!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ravel Law Enhances Caselaw Search with Motion Filters

Last week Ravel Law announced a significant new enhancement to their caselaw research product. This new feature will enable subscribers to filter caselaw by  more than 90 motion types. Cases can now be searched by motion,  topic or  US Code section citations. 
Ravel's Motion Filters
Ravel employs advanced search algorithms to provide unique visual analytics in displaying caselaw search results.
Ravel Caselaw Analytics

Free the Law   Last year Ravel  partnered with the Harvard Law School on as special project to make all US caselaw available to the public. Ravel offers a free caselaw platform which currently includes all federal caselaw and the complete archive of caselaw from several states. They are working with the Harvard Law Library to complete the scanning of approximately 40 million pages of cases from the Law Library collection. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Ravel also offers premium subscribers a "judges analytics" module which provides insights into judges precedential behavior in writing opinions.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sara Glassmeyer Named One of ABA Magazine's 2016 Legal Rebels

Awards should not be announced over long holiday weekends. I almost missed the publication of the ABA Magazine 2016 Legal Rebels.

 I was delighted to see that lawyer/ librarian and information provacateur Sara Glassmayer was at the top of the list. Glassmeyer  who is currently a Research Fellow at the Harvard  Library Innovation Lab published the first census of  digital state primary source materials earlier this year. I reviewed Glassmeyer's "census" free legal information last January. The report outlined the substantial shortcomings and inconsistent availability of "free"primary source information from each of the 50 states.

Additional Rebels in the legal information field include:

Guriner Sangha, lawyer and serial entrepreneur has been highlighted in Dewey B Strategic for founding two inf Intelligize and LitIQ.

Jimoh Ovbiagele  one of the founders of Ross Intelligence, the AI legal research system which has been grabbing headlines all year.

Also of note:

Deborah Read, managing partner at Thomson Hine's profile highlighted the important role of the firm's library and knowledge resources in helping her prepare for her new role as managing partner and transformation agent.

Congratulations to all the 2016 Legal Rebels! See the complete list of "rebels" and read their profiles here.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

BloombergBNA: Maybe the Fault Is not in the Gatekeepers But in Your Product Strategy?

On Tuesday BloomberBNA’s President David Perla published a post on Above the Law lashing out at law firm “gatekeepers.” I am a big fan of the Bloomberg products and I think Perla brought a necessary entrepreneurial perspective to BloombergBNA. But Perla’s post was uncharacteristically condescending and well... snarky...which made me wonder if BloombergBNA was facing some kind  crisis or to use Perla’s phase “an inflection point.”  Was Perla really  suggesting that Bloomberg’s inability to displace Lexis and Westlaw was  the result of “ gatekeepers” and not at all the result of Bloomberg’s own market miscalculations? In fairness, most of these miscalculations predate Perla’s tenure….

When Bloomberg Law was re-launched in 2011, I interviewed Lou Andreozzi, the first BLaw CEO. Andreozzi anticipated that Bloomberg Law would take “significant  market share” away from Lexis and Westlaw. It is now 5 years later and I think it is safe to say that  BloombergLaw has not significantly eroded Westlaw or Lexis market share. Andreozzi’s  statement was made before Bloomberg purchased the Bureau of National affairs publishing company – so today some of Bloomberg BNA’s market share would be attributable to BNAs “preexisting  installed base of subscribers.”  Since Bloomberg is a private company there are no public filings to be examined. But one way to assess market penetration would be to compare how many ALM 100 law firms have enterprise contracts for each of the three major legal research platforms.  I am aware of fewer than 10 ALM law firms that have signed enterprise licenses for the full BloombergBNA legal research platform.* Lexis and Westlaw remain entrenched in the vast majority of ALM 100 law firms.

In my opinion Bloomberg Law should have been adopted by more law firms by now. It weaves business and legal content together seamlessly-- but this unique approach was not enough to overcome the market's primary objection. Bloomberg Law entered the market at the worst possible time – at the height of the Great Recession. Then Bloomberg executives made some strategic decisions which I believe have had a lasting and significant impact on the company's ability to displace its competitors.

1.      The product was priced too high.In 2009 when Bloomberg Law launched, the market was ready for a disrupter… at the right price.  Although Bloomberg Law was only partially built out, it was priced on par with Lexis and Westlaw. Lexis and Westlaw enterprise contracts had ballooned between 1980 and 2000 because online research costs were being passed along to clients. By the time Bloomberg Law launched, clients were pushing back and online costs were viewed as overhead to be born by law firms. Bloomberg was right that  lawyers were ready to stop billing clients for online research but wrong about the price they would pay to achieve that goal. Bloomberg didn’t recalibrate the Lexis and Westlaw price benchmarks down to a level which could be easily absorbed as overhead by a law firm.

2.       The citator problem. Bloomberg Law launched as a litigation research product, but lawyers didn’t understand or trust the product's citator. There were early problems with the citator which slowed adoption of the citator even after the problems were corrected.

3.       Courts wouldn’t accept Bloomberg Law citations in briefs. As recently as 2015, most federal judges were not accepting Bloomberg Law citations in briefs. This is serious shortcoming for a product which is sold with a premium price tag. It also meant that firms “had to” maintain a subscription to Blaw’s competitor products. It is simply hard to me to believe that Bloomberg could not have done something to accelerate the federal judges access to Bloomberg Law... Seven years is a long time for a major product to lack this major "use case."

In recent years Bloomberg has moved beyond being a caselaw research system. Bloomberg Law Transactions offers very sophisticated workflow and analytics capabilities. But the shortcomings outlined above had already burned through  some customer confidence and good will. Bloomberg executives, even to this day seem reluctant to "own" the impact of these product shortcomings.

Missing the Early Big Data Opportunity. Maybe Bloomberg should have started with a product for transactional lawyers rather than one for litigators. In 1982, Mike Bloomberg successfully disrupted the financial data market when he  launched Market Master (later renamed the Bloomberg Business terminal) to compete with Telerate  and Reuters. Bloomberg decided to go beyond reporting market prices and started adding calculation functions to the terminals.
As a company rooted in “big data” and analytics, Bloomberg was ideally positioned to launch a truly disruptive early “big data” product for transactional lawyers …. But instead …  they loaded and coded gigabytes of caselaw and attempted to compete with Lexis and Westlaw in the well established and increasingly commoditized case law research market. Was that the most innovative and "disruptive" approach to the legal market? Seems odd that Perla  would find  fault in law firm customers rather than in his company's strategic choices in pricing and product development.