Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year: Sharing the Magic of a Streaming Wilderness Wonderland

I needed a "DC detox" so I have spent my holidays in the mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Not turning on the cable news. Not watching tweet streams. I ended 2016 with a "living Christmas Card" experience... taking a two hour dog-sled ride... in sub zero a snow storm... through the wilderness of the Grand Teton Mountains.

I definitely recommend adding this to your "Must Do List."

Enjoy  26 seconds of that ride:

Legal Notice Caveat - I want to warn you that the legal notice  you are asked to sign is scarier than the ride itself. As I scanned the document I noticed the warning of "run away dog teams." I assume that the rest of the list included things like:  avalanches; unexpected encounters with large stationary objects (boulders, trees); unexpected encounters with large  moving objects (snow mobiles, plows); unexpected encounters with wildlife (bears, cougars, wolves), sudden ejection, sled rollover...getting separated from your guide and lost in a blizzard.....helicopter rescue experiences...

Thanks to the Continental Divide  Dogsled  Adventures musher and guide Billy for a fantastic close to 2016!

Happy New Year! Wishing you a wonderful 2017.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in Review: IMHO The Highlights and Lowlights in the Legal Information and Law Libraries

I am sure I am forgetting some major issues and trends but it has been a bruising year for me personally and for the country in general. I am intentionally avoiding politics... too much which is simply inflammatory has been said already.

goodbyeIt does seem as if there was an unusual number of "iconic achievers" passing on -- whether you liked them or not -- Justice Scalia, Fidel Castro, Nancy Regan, Mohammed Ali... all left their mark.  I was particularly saddened by the deaths of ... a favorite author- Pat Conroy; a favorite singer/composer - Leonard Cohen;  a favorite actor - Alan Rickman; and  shocked by the sudden passing of the mother-daughter "odd couple" Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. I digress...

Here are the  issues that have bubbled to the top as I have reflected on the legal publishing industry and the issues impacting legal information professionals in 2016.

In My Humble Opinion.....

The Most Over-hyped  Legal News Headline: "Robot Lawyers."  oh pul-ese! I routinely talk to legal start-ups and it has become abundantly clear that they could generate months  of hyperbolic news copy if they were marketing nail clippers for lawyers...all they have to do is add the word  "robot"   to their marketing materials.

The Most under-hyped  Feature Award - "Westlaw Answers" is really quite cool and yet not only did TR fail  produce a "robot lawyer" press release, they have barely told their customers that it exits. It is buried on a  Recent Enhancements page.

The Oops Award -   In April Thomson Reuters  alerted  Westlaw subscribers to "non material" caselaw errors in over 500 cases, caused by a software glitch.

The It's About Time Award - Goes to the US Congress for finally appointing a  female to be  the Librarian of Congress:  Carla Hayden. Extra points because the is an actual MLS credentialed librarian,  who had worked in public libraries before being appointed to  lead the world's greatest library.

The  One More Jewel in the Crown Award - Goes to Lexis  for continuing its acquisition strategy by adding yet another high quality product -- Intelligize to it's portfolio of premium content.

The "I Saw Brexit Coming Award"  is shared by Wolters Kluwer  for publishing the first Brexit treatise and MLex for the first Brexit Newsletter.

The "Whoopee Cushion" Award - Is shared by law firms which outsourced knowledge strategy and the consultants who sold them this lame "library solution."  Process can be outsourced, but effective strategic planning for knowledge services requires a seat at the management table. Shame on the consultant-purveyors of this short-sighted,  self-serving strategy and shame on those law firms who bought it.

Don't Mess with Librarians Award - I can't help but think that he was just having a bad day. But David Perla's "Gatekeeper" post on the Above the Law website launched  a  tweet storm of outrage. The post appeared to be an attack on the key decision makers in law firm knowledge strategy and procurement. Maybe there is no connection but....shortly after the post blew up  the blogosphere, Scott Mozarsky replaced Perla as President of Bloomberg Legal Division.

Show Them the Money Award - AALL releases a Digital White Paper "Defining ROI: Law Library Best Practices" offering practical  tools for measuring and defining the ROI  of law libraries written by leading information professionals. (Disclosure - I was an editor of this publication)

The Internet Legal Research Reality Check Award- Sarah Glassmeyer for her thorough  examination of the  risks, quality and content limitations of state legal materials on the open web in her 50 State "census."

Knowing When to Move On Award - goes to American Lawyer Media which I hope will take my advice to have published it's last Annual Law Library Survey in 2016 and replace it in 2017 with a forward looking survey focused on Law Firm Knowledge Services and Strategy.

We are Still Not For Sale Award - Goes to Hein Online for remaining an independent company which produces high value, reasonably priced resources for the legal community.

The Half a Loaf is Better Than No Loaf Award goes to AALL President Keith Ann Stiverson and the AALL Board for salvaging the "rebranding initiative" when the members rejected the "Association for Legal Information" name change. The Board quickly moved to adopt  an updated logo: AALL/Your Legal Knowledge Network.

If any of you want to submit your own awards the  for outstanding/outrageous highlights and lowlights of 2016 I will add them to the list - with or without attribution.

Reader Contributed Awards:

How about the OMG, Sock-It-To-You Award to Bloomberg Law for penalizing firms with modest Bloomberg Law seat license numbers, doubling costs for librarian access, and pumping up the cost of their legacy-to-practice center -Brenna Louzin

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Top Dewey B Strategtic Posts for 2016: In Case You Missed Them

 The most popular posts of 2016 focus on innovative products leveraging Augmented Intelligence, analytics and advanced algorithms to enhance productivity. Another theme focused on the transformation of law libraries and the role of information professionals.

1. Westlaw  answers looks a lot like AI to me. Westlaw releases major new features: and it's all in your contract. 

2. BloombergBNA Maybe the Fault is not in the Gatekeepers but in Your Product Strategy?

3. Breaking news Thompson Reuters reveals non-material case for errors: offers customer remedies: prepare for incoming!

4. Thompson Reuters re-brands as "the answer company" leveraging Watson unveils E discovery point, practice point and perm id

5. Start Stop Survey Product Results: Ravel Judges Analytics and Wolters Kluwer's Cheetah Voted Best Products.

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

7. Throwing law firm intelligence out with the books?

8. American Lawyer 2016 library survey: libraries are still shrinking: please rename the survey in 2017 so you can ask new questions?

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

10. Practice point: Thompson Reuters promises trusted answers and workflow tools what the transactional lawyer

11.  Citation fingerprints, celestial footnotes and opinion sourcing: Casetext launches CARA

12.  BloombergBNA Launches Litigation Analytics: Should Lex Machina Be Worried?

13.  Ravel Law Enhances Caselaw Search with Motion Filters

14.  BloombergBNA Leadership change: Strategic Insights from CEO Greg McCaffery, and Legal Division President Scott Mozarsky.

15.  Lex Machina launches antitrust litigation module and  Releases Report on Antitrust Litigation. 

16.  Thomson Reuters Contract Express: Document Assembly Made Easy.

17. The first legal publisher offering the Brexit book is€¦ Walters Kluwer: who will launch the first Brexit newsletter?

18. Free legal information is not risk free for attorneys or the public: the Glassmeyer state legal information census examined.

19.  The first serial legal entrepreneur strikes again: Gary Sangha , Intelligize founder launches  Lex check computational linguistics for legal drafting.

20. AALL Releases Digital White Paper: Defiing ROI: Law Library Best Practices

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Nostalgia: It's the 75th Anniversary of Bing Crosby Singing White Christmas on the Radio

Bing Crobsy's Merry Christmas album, provided the soundtrack of my childhood Christmas rituals. We decorated the tree and exchanged presents to the sound of Bing  crooning White Christmas,  Christmas in Killerney and Mele Kalikimaka --the Hawaiian Christmas Song

 Until today, I was unaware of how the song  achieved its iconic place in American culture and consciousness.
White Christmas  had been around for a while no one paid much attention to the song until December 25th, 1941.  That was the day when Bing Crosby sang White Christmas on The Kraft Music Hall radio show-- just 17 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. America was entering  World War II and  Bing's version of White Christmas became  a favorite  request on the Armed Services Radio Network. Today it holds the Guiness Book of Records title for the most popular Christmas song.

This iconic Christmas song had been written by Jewish American songwriter Irving Berlin . Berlin is reported to have told his secretary: “Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!”

If you have a hankering for Christmas nostalgia watch Bing sing  the song and use his pipe to make chimes ring from Christmas tree decorations--- I forgot about that scene....

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The 4th Annual Start/Stop Survey is Open: Share Your Wisdom With Your Colleagues!

Today the 4th Annual  Dewey B Strategic "Start/Stop Survey" is open. You the readers have provided the insights and trends which have made the "Start Stop Survey" one of the most popular blog posts of each year. . Here are links to the  2013 , 2014 and 2015  product  and process  results.

Take the 2016-17 Survey HERE
Let the cheers and raspberries roar. Share your insights into the hope and the hype of legal information and legal technology market. Did your firm hire a "robot lawyer"? Did your team develop an in-house app? Are you driving analytics into the practice of law?

 We routinely assess new products, new processes, new roles,  new organizational options, new expectations.  Let's help each other decide what's worth doing. Let's leap boldly into the future together. Share your insights. What were your victories, false starts or  plain old bad choices. Share your hot tips,  short cuts,  projects and best practices.

Make Room For Value. The speed with which old processes and assumptions become obsolete is accelerating. We can only deliver more value by eliminating or streamlining the routine, the redundant and the unexamined. 
Invest in the Future. Since law firm budgets remain flat, the best  way find the budget for innovative new products, is to eliminate redundant products and low value products.

The Wisdom of Colleagues. In the spirit of collecting the wisdom of colleagues please let us know what processes and projects you  started or stopped in 2016 or will start or stop in 2017. Which products  will be tossed and what have you selected as the "must have" new product for 2017?
Anonymity Results will be aggregated and there will be no attribution to any individual person or organization without the express written consent of the respondent.
The Poll: Please take the brief 9 question survey here.
The Survey will remain open until January 20th.  The results will be summarized and published on this blog. Thanks in advance to all participants.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Manzama Developing Signals Platform: Predictive Business Intelligence For Law Firms

In 2004  I was interviewed by EContent magazine and asked -- if I could accomplish anything in my career, what would it be.

 Here is my answer:

 "I'd like to be an information climatologist. I'd work with vendors to design information services for determining what is likely to happen next by pulling trends together. Imagine if someone could have known that Enron was about to happen?"

I never imagined this would be possible in my lifetime... but here I am today writing a post about a product called Signals. A company called Manzama  is developing Signals and working with a handful of law firms to develop and refine  algorithms which will tease out patterns  and momentum from exabytes of news  stories, public records, court filings and social media posts  to generate predictive signals. These custom "signals" will alert law firms to  leading indicators of risk and opportunity  for business development. Today everyone consumes the same headlines.  Manzama wants to provide an "early warning system"  by monitoring the "vital signs" of individual companies or industries. Basically we are talking about a product which will enable law firms to pitch a client before they know they have a problem!

Over the past decade information professionals have introduced curated news platforms which  have helped to compress the lag between events and awareness. No lawyer wants to be the "last to know." Law firms which have survived the great recession remain intensely focused increasing their market share through cross selling their services to existing clients and luring clients away from other law firms. Lawyers can not afford to miss trends and the opportunities.

What is Manzama ? Manzama has offered a "listening platform" which tracks, digests  and delivers news which is focused on companies, issues and industries of interest to individual lawyers. Manzama has been one of the first products to provide a visual trend analysis tool.

Manzama analyses trends

I recently spoke with Manzama Co-founder and CEO, Peter Ozolin. Ozolin describes his new product this way. " The goal of Signals is to use algorithms to identify activities or indicators what signal opportunities for law firms."  It will basically help lawyers move up the opportunity chain.

Pitch New Clients Before They Know They Have A Problem
Ozolin is planning to offer a tool which will make the law firm business intelligence functions more proactive.  Signals will employ data driven models to inform decision making. Key indicators related to a business or industry will signal that a trend is forming. Law firms subscribing to Signals will be able to plan business development activities in advance of a need. E,g, it could enable a lawyer to reach out to a client or a potential client and build a relationship before an impeding crisis explodes. Ozolin also sees Signals as adding value to existing client relationships by providing lawyers with deeper insights into the clients company, industry and competitors.

Manzama Is Tracking Risk Indicators

Manzama has hired a director of data science who is building data predictive models that will analyze patterns and momentum which converge into a unique signal - alerting lawyers to opportunity before the first news headline is written!

Manzama is not alone in the legal predictive space but they are one of the first to focus on ingesting and  analyzing a broad content landscape including news, social media, public records,  regulations and litigation to generate patterns of risk and opportunity. Lex Machina,  Ravel  and BloomergBNA are offering predictive insights  into judges and courts. Lexis is offering a legislative product which predicts the likelihood of enactment.  I plan to keep my eye on Manzama Signals as it evolves into a full fledged product offering.

We appear to be standing on the edge of a predictive revolution. I  predict that in 5 years predictive tools will be core to the practice and of law.

Peter Ozolin can be reached at:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ravel Law Launches Court Analytics Module: Hosts Launch Webinar Today

Ravel has just announced the release of a new Court Analytics feature that will be available to subscribers as an "add on" feature. Ravel will be hosting a launch webinar today Monday, Dec. 5th  at  11 am est 2 pm est and "your truly" will be providing commentary on the rise of legal analytics in legal practice.

Ravel's Court Analytics

December 05, 2016 11:00 ET

Ravel Law Launches New Analytics for US Court System

First Platform to Offer Analytics for All Federal and State Courts

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - December 05, 2016) - Ravel Law, a legal research and analytics platform, today announced the launch of Court Analytics, a first-of-its-kind offering that provides an unprecedented view into the caselaw and decisions of state and federal courts.
Ravel's Court Analytics answers critical questions that litigators face in developing legal strategy. By analyzing millions of court opinions to identify patterns in language and case outcomes, Ravel empowers litigators to make data-driven decisions when comparing forums, assessing possible outcomes, and crafting briefs using the most important cases and rules. Complex projects that used to take hours or days of research can now be done in minutes, with answers that deliver richer intelligence and detail.
"Court Analytics offers law firms a truer understanding of how courts behave and how cases are tried. Attorneys can inform their strategy with objective insights about the cases, judges, rules and language that make each jurisdiction unique. The future of litigation will be different, and we're already seeing changes -- with top attorneys combining their art of lawyering with our science, to advance their arguments in the most effective way possible," said Daniel Lewis, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ravel Law.
Court Analytics applies data science, natural language processing, and machine learning to evaluate millions of court decisions spanning hundreds of years from over 400 federal and state courts. Its features include:
  • Search and filter caselaw by court, 90+ motion types, keywords, and topics.
  • Predict possible outcomes by identifying how courts and judges have ruled on similar cases or or motion types in the past.
  • Uncover the key cases, standards, and language that make each court unique.
With Ravel's analytical research tools, lawyers can take advantage of never-before-seen insights, such as:
  • Judge Susan Illston in the Northern District of California grants 55% of motions to dismiss, same as the district average, whereas Judge Lucy Koh grants 63% and Judge William Alsup grants just 49%.
  • The Second Circuit is most likely to turn to the 9th Circuit for persuasive caselaw, and then to the 5th and 7th Circuits.
  • Measured by citations, Judge Richard Posner truly is the most influential judge on the 7th Circuit. One of Posner's most widely cited decisions is Bjornson v. Astrue, an appeal from a district court decision affirming the denial of social security disability benefits by an adminis­trative law judge. The most important passage of that decision is on page 644, as it deals with the Administrative Law Judge's "opaque boilerplate."
  • The California Court of Appeals has ruled on more than 1,000 cases that deal with the right of privacy. The two most important precedential decisions the courts rely on in such cases are California Supreme Court cases: White v. Davis and Hill v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Court Analytics adds to Ravel's analytical research suite, alongside the award-winning Judge Analytics tool, which identifies the rules, cases, and specific language that a judge commonly cites, and Case Analytics, which finds key passages within cases and shows how they are interpreted. Using the Ravel platform, attorneys can gain insights customized to the unique circumstances of their case at every step of their research process. All three features are available today ( via paid subscription (for individuals and organizations).
Ravel's subscription-based services are enhanced by the "Caselaw Access Project," the company's ongoing collaboration with Harvard Law School to digitize the school's entire collection of U.S. caselaw, one of the largest collections of legal materials in the world. Through this project, millions of court decisions are being digitized and added to the Ravel platform. This database of American law serves as an underlying data set that people can search and view for free in Ravel, in addition to using Ravel's paid technologies to derive insights.
Ravel will be hosting a launch webcast to share more details on Court Analytics on Monday, December 5, 2016, 11:00 AM PST (2 pm EST). Register here to learn more:
About Ravel Law
Ravel is a legal search, visualization, and analytics platform. Ravel empowers lawyers to do data-driven research, with analytics and interfaces that help them sift through vast amounts of legal information to find what matters. Established by lawyers in 2012, Ravel spun out of interdisciplinary work between Stanford University's law school, computer science department, and Ravel is based in San Francisco, and is funded by New Enterprise Associates, North Bridge Venture Partners, Ulu Ventures, Experiment Fund, and Work-Bench.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Thomson Reuters Releases a Predictive App Analyzing Litigation for Traders--- Not for Legal Market?

I have recently been  musing on the powerful predictive insights that could be generated by  combining legal and business event data and mapping historic correlations between litigation and financial data. It is a terrible thing to be blessed with ideas and but lack the technical skills for execution.
Imagine my surprise when I came across a press release from Thomson Reuters describing  a new "app" they were making available to their financial services customers. The app uses  legal data from Court Wire to not only alert traders to lawsuits against companaties they follow, but the app provides historical data on market and business events following similar litigation in the past.

 The Legal market has been using  Thomson Reuters Court Wire and competitor products to track litigation for more than a decade. Recently Thomson Reuters offered customers of their Eikon financial services product a new Court Wire app. The Court Wire application offers traders special features which are unavailable in the legal market. Court Wire app provides users with  customizable, timely alerts and search criteria, visual movement of real-time and historical price changes, summaries of complex legal cases, and, utilizing Eikon charting and reporting tools, the ability to create interactive visualizations and competitive analysis. These features are all designed to provide traders with a streamlined and efficient workflow.

Here is the most interesting feature. According to the press release, "The app provides automatic alerts in a trader’s stock portfolio when a lawsuit has been filed against a corporation and charts historical data to show how the stock prices of other companies and industries have reacted in similar circumstances. This analysis empowers financial professionals to make quick, informed investments."

What is baffling to me is that this is not simultaneously being offered in the legal market where there is an insatiable appetite  for insights which can provide a business advantage. Is it not obvious that lawyers are also interested in predicting business as well as legal risks?

This is the total  no-brainer. When will the similar insights be offered to the legal market. Could not TR's alignment with IBM Watson be used to drive deep correlations and insights between litigation in a while I do to you but events.

I asked if Thomson Legal could comment on the CourtWire app and find out if they planned to release a similar app to their legal customers.

  Leann Blanchfield, vice President, product development provided this response: "I can't speak to what we have in the pipeline, but I can speak to the integration of content that has been happening across Thomson Reuters to bring relevant data to customers from products serving professionals in other markets. A recent example is the integration of certain business data from Eikon — part of our Financial & Risk business — into our business development solutions, including Monitor Suite and Business Development Premier.

This work is made possible by Open PermID, which Thomson Reuters has been using company-wide to improve internal data federation. The Thomson Reuters Permanent Identifier is a machine readable, 64 bit number used to create a unique reference — which will never change over time — to a piece of information. The PermID helps us, as well as our customers and partners, handle data management challenges, eliminate mapping inconsistencies, reduce operational risk, and streamline end-to-end workflow processes across various platforms. As we discussed with you in January at our Innovation Summit, we are also making a subset or of our PermIDs available to anyone through an open license. 

The integration of Court Wire on the Eikon platform and Eikon data in our biz dev products is driven by the same spirit that drove the creation of Practice Point, a product launched this year that puts Westlaw and forms content into a Practical Law-inspired, task-oriented solution."

This answer does not suggest that there will be a CourtWire/Eikon app offered to the legal market any time soon, or at least they are not ready to say.. but let me be the first to say I think the legal market would also welcome an app which provided insights into the correlations and consequences of ligitation on business entities and industries following similar litigation.