Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year From the Nation's Capital: Home of the "Cliff": A Comic Counterpoint.

I recently discovered a BBC comedy called Yes Minister which is a biting satire of government "efficiency" and bureaucratic decision making. Although it is now more that 25 years old  and set in the UK, it seems wickedly a propos of the  current crisis.

As we watch Congress and the President struggle with the "fiscal cliff" here are a few brief clips from Yes Minister that I hope will give you a chuckle..

Government Policy Policy

Empty Hospital 1

Empty Hospital 2

Wishing you all a  very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Survey: Does Your Law Firm Recognize Staff Expertise and Contributions on The Firm Website?

I included an incorrect link to the survey on law firm websites. My apologies. The survey is studying the inclusion and recognition of non-lawyer staff talent and contributions on law firm websites.

Here is the corrected link to the brief survey. The Survey will be open until January 15th and results will be reported here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Is it Time for Law Firms to Market "Non Lawyer" Expertise and Contributions?

At the PLL Summit this year, lawyer and  law firm consultant Jordan Furlong pointed out that the law firms are the only institution that define half of their employees by "what they are not."  Law firms are neatly divided into lawyers and non-lawyers. Furlong's blogpost The Non-Lawyer Gap in Law Firms Narrowing or Widening,  suggests that this division does not optimize collaborative teamwork or deliver the highest level of efficiency. Although clients are pressuring firms to engage in creative staffing  in order to enhance efficiency, how many firms actively promote the value of their  "non-lawyer" support teams? Firms routinely  brag about their use of outsourced or offshore teams, but remain silent about the many talented "non-lawyers" who contribute experience, efficiency and unique talents to client support. Are firms overlooking the marketing value of half of their own institutional talent pool? Is this omission perpetuated  by Furlong's observation that, lawyers can never entirely forgive staff for their "original sin" of  lacking a law degree.

Making Staff Talent Part of the Pitch When Burr & Forman Launched their new website in November, they issued a press release announcing that their new website included more than 40 videos  highlighting  both lawyers and staff. Burrr & Forman is a 300 attorney regional law firm with offices in 9 cities in the southeast US. Their press release states that the videos and new interactive features on their website were developed as a result of client feedback.

Highlighting the Library Director and Research Support!  Library Director Helen Walker and library staff and services are featured in three sections of the website, including  "Working at Burr," "Advanced Work Place" and "Summer Associates."

Watch Summer Associates  provide  commentary noting that  the library staff are among the most valuable resources available to them.

What are Other Firms Doing?

Is Burr & Forman  pioneering a new trend? Respond To This Brief Survey

Results will be reported in mid January.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wolters Kluwer Launching Daily Reporting Suite: Built for Collaboration and Copyright Compliance

There is nothing radical about a leading legal publisher jumping into the fierce competition for current awareness market share. What is radical in WK's announcement is the casual, almost off- handed reference to "automatic copyright compliance."

WK Trusts You - Yes They Really Trust You!

Every publisher, pronounces their profound commitment to supporting lawyers and improving workflow. They build tools for collaboration but generally exclude clients (anyone outside your organization or your network) from being permitted users of the licensed content. And who do lawyers most want to collaborate with? CLIENTS!

One of the things that has driven me batty over the years is the disconnect between product licensing and workflow. If you send a lawyer content - you need to assume that they need to share it.  WK is removing the "licensing handcuffs"and stating unambiguously that lawyers are free to share content with colleagues and clients. Hallelujah!

Over the years this is something that law librarians have to deal with on an ad hoc basis. A lawyer wants to share "hot news" with their client. No leading publisher has had an efficient system to deal with this. A response may come in a few hours... or a few days. Worst of all is the " the wink and a nod approach"... we will give you permission .... we won't come after you - trust us - but we can't put it in writing...."

 I asked Bob Lemmond, Vice President of Wolters Kluwer, Law and Business about the rationale for this dramatic break with traditional position of newsletter publishers.  Lemmond indicated that it is a recognition of the nature of lawyers workflow. "It is imperative that we support lawyers collaboration with each other and with their clients." WK also expects to be soliciting content from law firms for distribution on their platforms.

Wolters Kluwer Daily Reporting Suite
 Last  July I wrote a post about  the release of two new daily newsletters from Wolters Kluwer on Employment and IP Law  which would also available on Westlaw due to a special agreement with Thomson Reuters.

Today's release expands and re-brands the daily  newsletters as part of a growing suite of current awareness products which are focused on the "hottest" practice and most complex practices..  The Daily Reporting Suite which includes:: Antitrust, Securities Regulation, Health Law, Employment Law and Intellectual Property. All of the newsletters except Securities Regulation will be available on the Westlaw Next platform.  Securities Regulation will require a direct subscription from Wolters Kluwer.
Pricing Without quoting any numbers, Lemmond assured me that WK will be offering Information professionals a  pricing  package for the bundle of all the products would be "very compelling."

The Content These daily news services will deliver breaking news from both the federal and state level, the latest rulemaking and updates on litigation as well as a complete summary of the daily legal news.

Mobility Rules The products will be delivered via email, RSS feed, and mobile apps for iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.

Here are the features outlined in the press release
  • Daily email summaries written by knowledgeable attorneys and industry experts with links to the full text of any new cases, regulatory or statutory developments, and breaking news
  • Seamless access to information from ANY mobile device without being prompted for logins/passwords. Other legal news services require logins creating unnecessary time delays. 
  • The ability to customize content by topical area and jurisdiction so users can view the content that is the most relevant to them
  •  Built-in copyright permissions that permit legal professionals to instantly share information with clients or colleagues without having to download or reassemble information.
  • Time-saving mobile apps with customizable home page, ability to filter by topic/jurisdiction, note-taking capabilities, favorites folders and email functionality
  • A searchable archive on Wolters Kluwer’s proprietary online content delivery platform, IntelliConnect.
The expansion of both the content and delivery platforms suggest that Wolters Kluwer is targeting a legal "newsletter" niche currently dominated by   Bloomberg BNA and Law 360. However WK seems to have focused more on customization of both content and delivery from the start than their competition have.  They are clearly ahead of the entire market in embracing the need to allow lawyers to legally "socialize" their content.