Thursday, March 26, 2015

A New Breed of Information Strategists: Driving the Knowledge Engine in Law Firms

Image result for ilta peer to peer professional evolutionThe Spring issue of  ILTA's Peer to Peer magazine is devoted to the  topic of "The Professional Evolution." Articles address the changes impacting, IT, Professional Development, Diversity, Marketing, Pricing and other management professionals in law firms. I contributed the article covering the transformation of law librarians and information professionals. The editors of Peer to Peer shortened the title of my article to "Info Professionals Connect Knowledge" 

Lawyers have traditionally been in the business of selling hours, but today's client want to buy results, not attorney time. The new buyers market is forcing firms to identify ways of driving efficiency and process improvement. Information professionals  who live at the intersection of content and technology are uniquely  positioned to help. Law librarians who have redefined their roles beyond the "boundaries of the book stacks;" are driving intelligent resources and analytics into each practice are and administrative function. Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The 2014-15 Start Stop Survey Results: The Products. Out with the Old. In With the Innovative: Lex Machina Best New Product. Fastcase/HeinOnline Best Innovation

 In December I offered readers the opportunity to respond to a survey on products and processes that they started/stopped in 2014 or planned to stop or start in 2015. This year readers were also given the chance to describe products or features they are waiting for vendors to provide.

What s the best NEW PRODUCT you became aware of in 2014?

 Responses to the question “What was the best “new product that you became aware of in 2014?"  is remarkable because of the variety of responses.The one feature that is common to many new products is that they are leveraging big data to provide analytic insights.

It appears to me that the legal information market is experiencing a great reawakening. Innovators in both start up and in well established companies are recognizing the power of data to offer new insights. The competitive pressures in the legal market seeking practice efficiencies and actionable insights for business intelligence and client related matters make it ripe and receptive to these new offerings.

 Lex Machina which provides IP litigation analytics got the most votes for best new product. It was followed by PacerPro which is streamlining and eliminating some of the inefficiencies of using the official government Pacer website.

  • Lex Machina
  • PacerPro
Other new products mentioned in the survey are:

  • Westlaw Intelligence Center
  • Basecamp
  • Quatrove
  • Mlex,
  • Benchmark Judges
  • Deal Data Point
  • CaseText.
  • RavelLaw
  • West's Business Law Center
  • WestlawNext
  • FiscalNote
  • Neudesic Firm Directory
  • Investor-State Law Guide
  • PatBase Analytics
  • Bloomberg Law.
What was the BEST FEATURE/FUNCTION added to an information resource in 2014? 

The most cited “best new feature or function" added to an information resource in 2014 was the collaboration between Fastcase and Heinonline. Fastcase although not quite a start up is still a relatively young, still edgy newcomer to the legal information market. They offer low cost access to  primary law using an innovative search algorithm and offering visual displays of search results. The William S  Hein Company is a very old, family owned business with roots in serving the traditional library needs for more scholarly and esoteric research materials including law reviews, treaties,. Government documents and historical treatise. But since cases and academic materials have a perfectly symbiotic relationship, one feeds off  and informs the other, Hein and Fastcase deliver a low cost suite of core research materials. 

The second most cited product feature was Westlaw Next’s simplified pricing. This is an issue near and dear to my heart. This was the topic of the blogpost/diatribe against the complexities of online research pricing which I raised in “ The Myth and the Madness of Cost Effective Lexis and Westlaw Research Training” which put  “ Dewey B Strategic" on the map.

The best innovations or new features are:
  • Fastcase/HeinOnline collaboration
  • Predictable pricing in Westlaw Next
Additional product enhancements cited:

  • Intelligence Center Upgrade to Westlaw Monitor Suite.
  • Favorites in Lexis Advance
  • The enhancements made to Lexis Advance.   It is now easier to find the databases and content you need.
  • New Lexis Advance platform - cleaner and with requested enhancements
  • Docket Navigator's analytics
  • Wolters Kluwer Intelliconnect’s browser search feature.
  • Ability to create custom pages in WestlawNEXT
  • Collaboration/personal saved documents space in WestlawNext Canada
Features cited without mentioning a specific product:

  • Seemless collaboration and email tracking with tagging feature
  • Data analysis tools becoming more widely available on more litigation support review platforms and review tools
  • Increasingly prevalence of dashboards.
Name the New Products which you plan to rollout 2015 

  • Lex Machina
  • Room reservation system
  • Quatrove
  • Automated Reviews, Learning Management System
  • Lexis ebooks via Overdrive
  • Darts-IP
  • Lexis Practice Adviser
  • Considering moving to a cloud storage product for our DMS
  • Password management software
  • Firm directory/experience database.
  • Electronic resource management software (e.g., OneLog, Research Monitor, etc.)
  • Aggregator (Convergence) to automate CI/current awareness efforts
  • Research Monitor and Research Hub (for mobile)
  • Custom workflows within our Relativity environment.
  • West KM as a federated/enterprise KM tool.

 What PRODUCT did your department/organization STOP using in 2014?

There was no real trend here. There is no one product that a lot of firms are dropping; The only thread I see connecting the various responses is that they are for the most part products which have been around a long time and which support  core research activities. Two are directories (Lawyers Manual and Marindale) which are clearly marginalized by web based resources.  But generally it looks like a list of products that were probably cancelled to cut the budget or in favor of a competitor. There is nothing on the list which suggests a new and innovative product was tested and found to be not worth the cost or not up to the hype. 

  • Lexis
  • BNA stand alone databases
  • File&ServeXpress
  • Lawyers Diary and Manual
  • Westlaw
  • RBSource
  • Intelliconnect Tax Library
  • Martindale
  • Equilar
  • West LegalEd Center
  • Infomart News
  • Windows XP
  • Deal Proof
  • Westlaw Business
  • 10K Wizard
  • Concordance
  • Loislaw
  • Ozmosys 

Name any PRODUCTS you PERSONALLY STARTED using in 2014 

These responses also covered a wide range of products. The majority of these products focus on process improvement rather than research. There was also an interesting mix of products that were more likely for personal use. These are listed separately below.

  • Lex Machina 
  • Practical Law
  • Lync for video  meetings
  • Bloomberg law
  • Benchmark Litigation
  • Camtasia web recording software for short tutorials on library resources
  • WLN - benchmark reports
  • SimpleMind (process mapping tool)
  • Windows 8.1
  • Eagle Eye
  • Intelligize   
  • Litigation Monitor
  • Manzama
  • PTAB Trials

Products For Personal Use
  • Fitbit
  •  Fage yogourt.  I'm not joking
  • Giving up hotels in favor of Airbnb
  • Giving up taxis in favor of Uber and Lyft
  • Giving up GPS device in favor of Wayze apps
  • I got my first iphone and I really like watching HBOGO on it
  • I started reading print books instead of reading books on my Kindle
  • Pay by Phone traffic meter app
  • iPad Air
  • Carbonite - online backup

Listen Up Vendors. Product ideas. Describe a PRODUCT/SERVICE you would like to see developed, which doesn't currently exist. Here are the recommendations:

  • I want a universal thumbprint or iris reader to get me into all of my work and personal applications. I use the available technology but it is just not good enough. I still spend way too much time recovering and resetting passwords.
  • Cataloging records for individual products in Bloomberg
  • Auto-Meta tagging system to mark items for practice groups or legal issues.
  • A product that will give you a comprehensive Reverse Whois report. We use Domain Tools but it doesn't compile the data in a report. Mark Monitor isn't as complete.
  • Is like a one-stop-shop for our group to organize requests and be able to see who is doing what. Being able to EASILY bill time would be great.
  • A search service that is publisher agnostic, allowing searches of materials from many publishers using a single search technique.
  • CaseText should adds second half to cover EDGAR.
  • Reincarnation of defunct ITC Research database
  • Vendor neutral all-inclusive news database
  • A competitor to Platt's newsletters
  • A service that would give a comprehensive comparison of periodical/news content/coverage from Lexis, Westlaw and EBSCO.
  • Graphics embedded in periodical literature from Lexis and Westlaw
  • Legal ebooks on a single universal platform for multiple users
  • Attorney-oriented reviews of KM technology that compare features of certain products systematically. For example, point-by-point on Recommind vs. FAST vs. HP Autonomy
  • An OverDrive-like service for private libraries with the option to manage and serve the library's own digital content.
  • Real time-searching of docket documents; not docket entries.
  • An ediscovery project management tool. More true practice support applications.
  • More IP authenticated searches available on WestlawNext-Links from WestKM documents without login.
  • A database that allows a search by party name across all federal and administrative patent proceedings, that can then be loaded into Excel.
Thanks to everyone who responded. As much as I try to stay aware of new products, my colleagues have once again shared insights, experience and recommendations about products which  which had  flown under my radar or not registered as products warranting a serious look or critical reassessment.

Part 1 of the survey results were published on March 20th: The Start Stop Poll Results 2014-2015 Processes and Initiatives: Workflow Improvement In, Print Continues Its Freefall.

The original survey was posted on December 15, 2014.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Start Stop Poll Results 2014-2015: Processes and Initiatives. Workflow Improvement In, Print Continues Its Freefall.

Thanks to everyone who responded to this year's poll. I will be reporting the results in two parts. Today I am reporting on processes and on Monday I will be reporting on which new products are making the grade and which products may be starting a slide into oblivion.We are once again being offered a chance to learn from the "Wisdom of Colleagues."
START. The initiatives that were most often cited as priorities in  2014 and 2015 are: Client monitoring initiatives, workflow process improvements and personalized "high touch"outreach to lawyers.

STOP Print is still under fire. All manner of print is being tossed, books, subject files and periodicals. The challenge of completely eliminating the routing of print newsletters was noted repeatedly--- even when a digital version is available - lawyers fight to keep newsletters coming in print. "But I prefer reading from a velum scroll!"

Another recurring theme was  improving workload tracking. In many cases this involves eliminating generic workload tracking  software (access, excel) or IT help desk software which doesn’t quite fit the workflow needs as well as  ditching manual tracking processes in favor of custom research tracking software.

 Here is the  list of  additional services which were  stopped in 2014 or will be stopped in 2015:

  • Manning the reference desk.
  • Giving up IT help software in favor of research software.
  • RFID tagging of books.
  • Webinars replaced with SharePoint training gadgets.
  • LibGuides
  • Recording user passwords ("Forgot your password?" is now ubiquitous).
  • We stopped using a filing service
  • We cut way back on links in our Virtual Library.
  • We centralized techical services functions in our main office, eliminating redundant processes in 11 offices.
 Which organizational initiatives were started in  2014?

  •  Software is being deployed to streamline workflow and analysis of workflow and resources:( Ref Tracker Illumen, Onelog and Quattrove).
  • Software which is being implemented to track use of digital resources include Research Monitor, Onelog and Quattrove.
  • Competitive intelligence initiatives are using Manzama and Linex.
Here  are additional responses:
  • Research Services started producing the highly formatted and structured CI reports and reports on all proposed lateral partners.
  • Research Monitor Administrative center provides real time digital resource usage data.
  • Started using ResearchHUB, the Research Moniotr module for mobile apps and websites.
  • Started a Twitter  and Linked-in accounts for the  Info Center.
  • New SharePoint portal
  • Added contract management data  to InMagic Genie module
  • Set up a digital library of Bender IP titles
  • Rebranded department from Library and Information Services to Knowledge & Research Services
  • Changed library staff titles to Director of Knowledge & Research Services and Knowledge and Research Services Assistant respectively.
  • West KM
  • Created Library App of the Week cards to promote library apps.
  • Process mapping litigation and counseling tasks.
  • Use of Summation Pro
  • We created CUI's for Westlaw (Find and Print, e-books)
  • After being approached by a partner and his clients, I became an embedded librarian

Describe any ORGANIZATIONAL (task/process/initiative) you plan to START in 2015:

Top Initiatives Cited:

  • Client monitoring initiatives
  • Workflow process improvements
  • Outreach to lawyers

Additional initiatives cited:

  • Screening potential clients for litigation against law firms or bankruptcies, etc
  • Lawyer Process improvement. Working with a practice group to analyze a complex process in order to map out which products can streamline the process.
  • Using Instant Messaging to answer reference questions
  • Lexis ebooks on Overdrive
  • Optimize the Department's billings, increasing Department revenue opportunities and decreasing expenses. 
  • Launch OneLog. 
  • Launch new SharePoint.
  • Personal follow up visits to attorneys requesting complex research assignments.  
  • Use Chrome River for library invoices.
  • Weed collection heavily prior to West LMA renewal.   Compare online resources for redundancy  3. Increase online delivery of routed periodicals.
  • Create Practice Group specific training videos.
  • Transition to WestlawNext from Lexis Advance in 2015.
  • Cross train research and technical services teams
  • Implement a library mobile app using Boopsie
  • Document requirements and business justification for KM project requests.
  • Reference Services & collection management processes reviews.
  • We plan to start a floor support program which will increase librarians' visibility.
  • Plan a "reference academy" where our librarians will share their special expertise with the rest of the group;
  • Moving our intranet pages to SharePoint 2013
  • Programmed standardized reporting (SQL).
  • Re-educate everyone on the value of WestKM and our internal work product
Coming Up Monday: The Start Stop Poll on Products, Best New Products, Best New Features and Ideas for completely new products! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Thomson Reuters Intelligence Center: Map Out Your Opportunity and Business Development Strategy

Thomson Reuters Intelligence Center Dashboard

Anyone who reads my blog must know by now that I am a "soft touch" when it comes to products which offer  intuitive access to analytics. I was anxious to get a close look at the Thomson Reuters Intelligence Center which was launched last year.

The Thomson Reuters Legal Intelligence Center is the latest offering in a suite of business development products such have offered increasingly sophisticated tracking and reporting on litigation activities in the US. Thomson Reuters Client & Market Intelligence products include Monitor Suite, Dockets, Court Wire, and WestlawNext Practitioner Insights.

Monitor Suite  was launched in 2005 and was originally named Firm360. At the time it offered ground breaking reports and analysis of a company's litigation history by extracting docket data. The Intelligence Center extends the range, depth and flexibility of the reports which can be generated using the intuitive Intelligence Center dashboard. The Monitor Suite leverages the design and technology used to build recent Thomson Reuters solutions such as Firm Central and Concourse.
Like these products, the widgets within Intelligence Center are highly interactive, enabling users to view and manipulate seemingly endless combinations of data points (lawyers, law firms, judges, companies, industries...).  Jefff Arvison, Director of Product Management described the benefit of using these platforms in a press release. By leveraging the these new "we were able to combine the collaboration tools of our client- and matter-centric platforms, along with the analytical power of Monitor Suite, to provide the business development focus that law firms want and need.”

Map Your Opportunity. My favorite part of the product is the national litigation map. This feature allows a firm to see where a client or company of interest is currently engaged in litigation,  where a firm is engaged in representing client and states where the firm has the opportunity to generate business with the client.The  the deeply faceted data supports easy custom analysis of litigation activity and opportunity. 

Firm Profile Views - Innovative approach to displaying opportunity

Purple - you firm has work
Green - Firm has work but client not represented
Orange = client is there an firm is there but no representation

Examples of reports include reports
 by company, law firm, judge, causes of action.

Industry Litigation Reports

Select companies in a single industry and track litigation over time, analyse the attorney
  • Litigation Representation by Share of Industry
  • Compare your firm's share of litigation across an industry
  • Compare you firm's share of litigation in an industry to other law firms history representing the company or industy
  • Litigation by Industry

Attorney Representation Report 
Attorney Representation Report
Wheel charts parse an individual lawyers litigation history and shows which companies they represent, what courts they practice in and what area of law they litigate.

Center provides views into a company’s litigation activity by jurisdiction over multiple time periods, along with the ability to see the firm’s share of litigation representation for that company. The tool also offers a company comparison chart that can help identify industry trends and provides company-related news through WestlawNext.

Access and Collaboration. Reports can be delivered to interested lawyers by sending them a link to a report which  can transparently authenticated and will continue to  update. An RSS feed can be posted on a practice or client page.

The Intelligence Center not only streamlines  processes, it performs analyses that were for all practical purposes impossible to perform in an analog world. Yet these reports don't run themselves. TR Intelligence Center is a reminder that information professional are faced with an abundance of opportunity to introduce and explore and promote the benefits of analytics in the business and practice of law. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bloomberg BNA Releases Open Access "Big Law Business" Platform Targeting Law Firm Partners and In-House Counsel

Just when it appeared that Lexis was about to corner the legal news market (ALM, Law360, WSJ Law Blog), Bloomberg BNA is announcing today the release of a new open access community platform called “Big Law Business.”   Big Law Business   delivers  articles, podcasts, videos, twitter feeds,  polls and white papers focused on the unique concerns of partners, GCs and  Law firm executives at AmLaw 200 firms. One unique feature is moderated online discussion.  Law firm leaders and GCs can join moderated online communities and exchange ideas on best practices, innovations as well as legal issues.

Scott Mozarsky, President, Cross Platform Businesses, Bloomberg BNA is quoted in the press release: “Big Law Business will provide visitors ample opportunities to engage with those in similar roles at law firms and corporations and benefit from shared insights and wisdom.”   When Greg McCaffery was appointed CEO of Bloomberg BNA in 2012 he signaled Bloomberg’s intention to supplement the traditional practice of law platform with new content which focuses on "the business of law." Today they are taking one more step in implementing that strategic focus. 
Bloomberg's Big Law Business Platform

I predicted in 2011 that Bloomberg would ultimately leverage their multimedia talent pool  for their legal product. Bloomberg has recruited editorial talent from their news and  tv production  divisions. Big Law Business has a clean professionally produced  look and feel. About 50% of the content will be contributed by independent “thought leaders” recruited from the Amlaw 200 community,  academia and the commercial ventures and support the practice of “Big Law.”

Above the Fold

I was given a prelaunch tour of the product. The Big Law Business Platform currently offers 4 major ”communities of interest” which are aligned with potential members roles: Managing Partners, In House Counsel, Marketing/Business Developers and Technologists. I am surprised that they have not yet added  a section for professionals involved in Knowledge Management/Process Improvement which are key initiatives driving  both the competitive position and the profitability of Amlaw 200 firms.

Bloomberg is not known for embracing open platforms. The login procedure for early versions of BLaw actually required lawyers to provide a biometric thumb scan. Until recently they would not allow BLaw content to be accessed using IP authentication-- which is  routinely allowed my most legal information providers. Bloomberg does have a history of making contrarian moves, so as Lexis locks down the news, Bloomberg  is throwing open the gates.

      Casey Sullivan, Senior Director of the Big Law Business Community  will oversee the moderation of comments.   The site is built on the assumption that there is an appetite for more community engagement. Any comments placed on the Site need to be relevant to the Big Law Community. This community includes current and former members of AmLaw 200 Law Firms, in-house counsel, vendors who support big law practice, academics and industry observers. According to Sullivan “We won’t allow community members to throw up an advertisement in a comment to promote their own business. The comments should be thoughtful. The best comments will offer original ideas, opinions, best practices and analyses of industry wide issues."

Touching the Hot Buttons

The Bloomberg Law product has always marketed itself as being both a business and legal research platform which offered a unique value proposition to partners. Breaking with the traditional legal research cost recovery model, Bloomberg had no meter running because a firm paid an annual subscription for unlimited access. Like the Bloomberg terminal in the financial sector – the product was positioned as a desktop utility that a lawyer should simply keep open on their desktop for use as needed through the day. The use case  is that BLaw allows a  partner to launch their BLaw account in the morning and easily locate information on clients using the “go bar command ” to retrieve company profiles, executive profiles, financials all delivered in a click. The Big Law Business platform appears to be a tool for building both brand awareness and goodwill at the partner level. I have to presume that this is a gambit to increase the adoption of Bloomberg Law in Amlaw 200 law firms.

It is a given that law firms are competing for the attention of In-House Counsel. So the creation of an online community plays to the most fundamental business development and competitive instincts of lawyers. Every lawyer needs to be a rainmaker. Opportunities to gain insights and access to corporate GCs from the comfort of your own desktop are coveted. To this end, Big Law Business will prominently feature video interviews with  In House Counsel. They will also provide GC profiles and the chance to engage GC in the Chat discussions or build the law firms brand by adding publications and commentary to the site.

The Competition

Blaw is  not actually the first company  to offer an online chat community to lawyers. David Johnson, a former partner from Wilmer Cutler and Pickering created a platform with American Lawyer Media called Counsel Connect in the mid 1990s.  It may have been an idea that was two decades ahead of its time. The world and even Big Law partners have a much higher awareness and openness to online social engagement in the 21st century. Big Law Business also plays to lawyers consciousness of being part of a very exclusive club a factor which may drive more traffic and engagement One issue that argues against participation is the strong branding control exerted by law firm marketing department. It is a lot harder to be spontaneous in the more self conscious and controlled marketing regime which exists in most big law firms today.

Big Law Business is competing with the Memisis Law site which was created by former Bloomberg video host, Lee Pacchia which offers similar video interviews of thought leaders on hot topics. The site has some resemblance to ALMs re-launched platform which also offers communities and  a mix of crowd-sourced and editorial content. I anticipate that  Bloomberg  will develop their own brand of law firm rankings before too long. 

I was baffled when Bloomberg did not purchase American Lawyer Media last year when it was up for sale, and now I know why. They planned to complete directly and build their own business of law brand... and they are doing it as “free ware” rather than entering the market only after convincing firms to pay a fee for admission. It is also a dramatic change from the positioning of BLaw which entered the legal market at the high end of the pricing spectrum. Big law partners now have a new source of business intelligence and a platform for client engagement at the best possible price – free!

Big Law Business is located at

Subscribe  to Updates:       Anyone can subscribe to receive our Big Law Business newsletter by clicking on a “Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter” icon on the website. There are no restrictions regarding who can view the Site since it will be public.BOL will also provide RSS feeds.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

LexisNexis to Launch NewsDesk Aggregation Platform: Cool Tools, Deep Content, Rich Analytics

Lexis was the first legal research product to offer a news database to lawyers when they created Nexis in 1980. They were the first to offer newsfeeds when they introduced “eclipse” in 1984. They took an early stab at creating a news aggregation platform when they introduced LexisNexis Publisher in 2000. They have strengthened their position in the legal market with a series of strategic news alliances ( Wall Street Journal, New York Times and American Lawyer Media publications) and the acquisition of the Law360 newsletters.

Moreover. Last October they announced the acquisition of a news aggregation platform called Moreover. Next month the Moreover platform will be re-launched after the addition of LexisNexis content and rebranded as LexisNexis Newsdesk. Lexis Nexis news is in the process of being added to the Moreover news database before the launch. Factiva, Law360, Court Link and other Lexis content will be added in the third quarter of this year. They will be also offering NewsDesk on a Mobile App.

The LexisNexis NewsDesk Dashboard

From Abstracts to Analytics. I have watched the delivery of digital news morph from  primitive beginnings.  In 1983 the New York Times Infobank  was at the cutting edge by offering dial up access to news "abstracts."  (That’s right, no full text –  you got a citation and a summary  --then you had to locate a copy of the actual newspaper to read the full story.) We have come a long way…. The Lexis Nexis NewsDesk is a  gob-smacking, marvel of interactive features and functions.  News aggregation is on the cusp of evolving from  offering very sophisticated news curation  and personalized delivery to a new tier of offering "news as a living and interactive source of insights and analytics."
Although NewsDesk  will be a “stand alone" product like Lexis Nexis Publisher, it will only be available to Lexis subscribers, for an additional subscription fee. Lexis will continue to offer news libraries to  legal product subscribers. but these will lack the functionality and analytics available in the Newsdesk platform. They are clearly  positioning the product to compete with independent aggregators such as Ozmosys, Manzama, InfoNgen. Attensa and Linex.

Content Includes

      LexisNexis licensed news sources, including exclusives like Factiva, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, ALM and more.

      Coverage across 55,000 editorially-maintained Web-based news sources from 150 countries in 75 languages.

      Key social media sites including blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and more.

      National, cable and local TV broadcast video clips and associated transcripts.

      Third party premium content based on subscribers licenses.


      Near-real-time media monitoring with over 2,500 new links added per minute – categorized and searchable.

      Powerful search filters  to quickly refine results.

      User-friendly interface with a personalized dashboard, on-demand updates and searching –  available for admins and end-users.

      Curated and automated email delivery options, including alerts and fully branded newsletters.

      Flexible export formats (RSS, Atom, etc.) to integrate news on an internal webpage or portal, like SharePoint.

      Advanced media analytics for deeper insights with many charting options and full data download to Excel.

      Platform can manage both personal curated content and aggregated content for groups. 

Really Cool Tools and Unique Features

I have only seen a demo and I haven’t used the product myself but I am a sucker for products which offer intuitive interactivity  and rich analytics. Here are the features which really caught my attention.

  • Newsfeeds include video clips from news broadcasts
  • Video clips include transcripts
  • Foreign language stories are automatically translated into English
  • Semantic tools provide sentiment analysis allowing you to focus on negative or positive stories on a subject
  • Sentiment can be graphed!
  • Word clouds, time trends
  • The relevancy slider. Each story is scored by relevance and you can adjust relevance to increase or reduce the search results using a sliding bar.

Location Location Location

One of my big gripes about the loss of access to  “native Factiva” was the granularity of Factiva indexing. The deal Lexis Nexis struck with Dow Jones in 2005 which ended law firms' ability to subscribe directly to either Factiva or to get corporate accounts for the Wall Street Journal. Factiva was loaded into Nexis and despite assurances, much of the power of the Factiva indexing was lost on the Lexis platform. Factiva coding of stories allowed you to  select stories based on both the geographic location of a publication and the geographic location of the subject. Without this coding it is extremely difficult to locate stories in Japanese news sources about Toyota plants in the US. Lexis assures me that the Moreover platform will support this kind of granular distinction in creating alerts.

Third Party Aggregation

The Moreover Platform can accept and redistribute feeds from third party publishers. According to Lexis it will be up to each publisher to determine if they will allow Lexis to redistribute the feeds. So in theory  -- the Lexis News Desk platform may be able to deliver feeds from Lexis major competitors, Thomson Reuters, BloombergBNA and Wolters Kluwer.

Getting Social: Share of Voice

The Moreover analytics are impressive. Administrators and end users can interact with and analyze news using a variety of visual tools.
  • Charts can show “share of voice”
  • Maps will show geographic concentration of coverage of a topic by state
  • Timetrends will show spikes in news coverage
  • Word clouds allow you to select a subset of stories on a particular issue
  • RSS feeds can be posted with charts to show trends

It is simply not possible to describe all the analytics or functions I observed in an hour long demonstration. I will summarize by saying that  anyone in the market for an aggregation platform should take a close look at the LexisNexis News Desk.

There is only one feature which I identified, that is available in competitors  and which NewsDesk doesn’t currently offer. NewsDesk does not currently allow end users to “unsubscribe” to selected content in their personal newsletters. And it does offer some unique features which I haven’t seen in competitor products.

Competition is the mother of better products.  As of 10pm on March 3, 2015, Lexis appears to be positioned to leapfrog over many of today’s dominant aggregation players. But it’s a horse race and law firms can only benefit from the fierce competition in this space. We can expect the products to keep getting easier, smarter and offer ever deeper analytic and even predictive capabilities.