Sunday, June 28, 2015

Aternative Fee Arranagments: ALM Legal Intelligence Releases a New Survey of Law Firms amd Legal Departmemts Adoption of AFA

ALM Legal Intelligence released a new report "Who Really Drives AFA Use—and Why?". The major theme running through the report is the disconnect between law firms and legal departments. Legal departments claim that they are driving the adoption of AFAs, law firms appear to be getting the short end of the stick- 24% of responding firms reported losing money on AFAs. The key issue may be that until law firms don't have the right kind of data for analyzing the cost of managing a matter... and it may take them several years build up a useful archive of data.

The report is full of nuanced charts and data. Here are a few metrics and trends:

  • 24% of firms use AFA for more than half of their billings.
  •  Half of law departments embrace AFAs.60 % of firms assess AFAs on a matter by matter basis
  •  48 percent of law departments saw an Increase in AFA volume between 2013 and 2014.
  • Reverse auctions are unpopular, with only 22 percent of law departments saying they have initiated them.
  • 70 percent of law departments claim they did in a majority of cases, 24 percent calling it a mutual activity. 49 percent of firms said that it was mutual.
  • Half of legal departments say that they work with fewer outside law firms than five years ago, and 49 percent of departments say AFA pricing played a significant role in the change.
  • The biggest obstacle to AFA adoption, according to 32 percent of law firms and 38 percent of law departments, was law firm comfort with billable hours. Law firms are perceived as resisting AFAs but no firms responded that they were resistant to AFAs.
  • 56 percent of firms and 61 percent of law departments were not training, respectively, attorneys or legal staff on implementing the arrangements.
  • 35 percent of firms and 39 percent of law departments did not train personnel in legal project management.
  •  Firms are better at assessing the financial success of AFAs than law departments.
  •  Law firms bearing the risk 24% law firms losing money on AFAs only 3% of law departments had lost money on AFA.
  •  Between 2015 and 2019, firms estimate a 24.1 percent increase in AFA work, but clients say the growth will be 34.1 percent.
  • Law departments tend to be more satisfied with AFAs than law firms. (86 percent vs 63%)

  • What Is an Alternative Fee Arrangement?
One of the most useful things to me is to get the definitions and descriptions of the of the various arrangements that are considered AFAs.

Flat Fee: Client pays an agreed upon sum of money for an agreed-upon amount of work. Unlike hourly fee arrangements, flat-fee arrangements have the law firm assume the risk of cost overruns and the client assumes the risk of a bad result.

Contingent Fee: Law firm gets paid only if it achieves a financial recovery or other result for the client. Typically, the law firm receives a percentage of the total recovery.

Flat Fee with Shared Savings: If at the conclusion of the work fees calculated on the basis of the hours worked would be less than the flat fee, the client and law firm share the savings.

Capped Fee: Client pays up to an agreed upon sum for an agreed-upon amount of work or for an engagement. Capped fees often are used in conjunction with an hourly rate agreement, but the total amount charged by the hour  cannot exceed the cap.

Partial contingency or success fee :La w fir might be paid a fraction no f its fee under a hourly , flat , or capped-fee arrangement, and an additional amount of their result exceed agreed upon criteria.

Defense contingency fee: Law firm defends in a client against a monetary claim agrees with the client on an expected outcome . I the firm achieves a better result than the expected outcome , the client pays the firm a percentage of savings.

Phased Fee :Law firm and the client agree upon fees for discreet phases of the work. Different phases might utilize different structures, including the hourly rate, a flat rate, a contingency fee, or an AFA.

Holdback : Client withholds an agreed-upon amount or percentage of the fee until an agreed-upon milestone  or result is achieved, or until completion of the engagement. T h obligation to pay is delayed until a specific result is achieved.
Blended rate: A blended rate is an agreed upon hourly rate that applies to all lawyers working on a matter. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lexis Advance Launches Practice and Jurisdictional Pages: Enhancing Workflow, Exposing Content

Lawyers want one click solutions. The market demands workflow efficiency. Lexis Advance Practice Pages promise to deliver both.

LexisNexis recently released a series of  new jurisdictional and practice area pages. Each of the major legal publishers is responding to the legal market demand for new products and platforms which drive efficiency and streamline lawyer workflow. Unlike the Lexis Practice Advisor which is a full blown practice guidance system, the practice pages reside within the Lexis Advance platform and function as a discovery tool which exposes relevant practice content to  a lawyer as soon as they login to the platform. The practice pages are designed to surface the best and most relevant content relevant to research in a particular practice area on a single screen.

Features of the Practice Pages (See Illustration Below)
  • Integration of content from Lexis brands Law360, Mealy's,  Shushenoff, Knowledge Mosaic
  • Partner content gets equal billing (e.g. CCH, Wall Street Journal, American Banker are given equal billing with Lexis content)
  • Treatises offer an online topical index
  • Treatises can be searched or browsed using a table of contents
  • Statenet alerts provide relevant  legislative and regulatory updates
  • Human curation enhances automated tagging
  • Taxonomy and content is enhanced through a collaboration of legal editors and journalists.
  • Lawyers can create their own favorites.

    Banking Practice Pages
Steve Errick, Vice President, Managing Director of LexisNexis describes it as the "cookbook approach" to research. The practice pages reflect a customer preference for more concise units of guidance rather than deep immersion in a treatise. For better or for worse, Lexis is acknowledging a trend which I have referred to in earlier posts as "google brain." Some scientific studies have indicated that Google has changed our brains which have become more adept at scanning rather than deep reading.

Practice Pages
 As of this week there are  7 practice area pages – Tax,  Banking & Financial Services, Energy, Healthcare, Labor & Employment, Mergers & Acquisitions, Military Justice. In  late June/early July Real Estate and Native American Law practice pages, will launch.The selection of topics has been based on input from Large Law and Federal customers. 

Jurisdictional Pages. There are currently 4 jurisdictional  pages-- New York, California, Florida, Texas. On a single screen the Practice Page provide access to:
  • Cases
  • Statutes and Regulations
  • Administrative Materials
  • Treatises and Forms (including many Matthew Bender classics)
  • News and Analysis

New York Jurisdictional Page
Future Developments.

Jurisdictional Pages According to Steven Errick,...... "Our aspiration is to cover each of the 50 state jurisdictions, scheduled based on the needs and interest levels of our state customers and the firms and corporations with interests in those states. We’re fast-tracking releases with roughly one  page released every other week  Hand-in-hand with this, we will be building out content that supports and justifies a page in each of the jurisdictions over the long term.
Practice Pages Errick also indicated that Lexis is  currently targeting a total of 25 to 30 practice areas that  they think will merit coverage. " Some derivative practice areas might sit within a single page, but  would have their own sections, similar to how labor and benefits sit within employment, and Credit Union financial regulatory coverage will sit alongside the Banking & Financial Services page." In the  next six months, the editorial team will be working on the Insurance, Bankruptcy, and Intellectual Property pages. Securities is expected to launch in the earlier part of 2016,. Given the strength of the Lexis securities resources in the Practice advisor and Securities Mosaic this will be a complex undertaking.
Can Sector pages Be Far Behind. Given the focus law firms have been putting on understanding Industry Sectors of clients, I asked Errick  if these would be represented in the Practice Page approach to resource discovery. Errick indicated that this is under serious consideration. He indicated that these will require special care in development to avoid confusion with practice pages in situations. Errick provided this very detailed response below: 
When it comes to Industry pages, we do not want to confuse our customers with multiple pages for a specific industry or practice area (e.g. creating an Energy Practice page and an Energy Industry page). Where there is a singular regulatory practice such as Energy that serves an industry, we will build a “Business and Industry News and Analysis” pod within that practice page to allow customers to quickly find industry coverage. 
But, with an interdisciplinary field of several practice areas within an industry, such as Pharmaceuticals/Life Sciences, we’ll lead with the industry view, both in the U.S. and globally, and then build it out with the corresponding diverse regulations and practice-oriented content (e.g., patents, FDA regulations, etc.).  We’re already building out those industry content additions in our Banking & Financial Services and Energy pages, and expect to complete more of these type of Industry and Segment pages by the end of the year.
The other emerging area are those pages which are custom-designed for specific customer segments: Our Military Justice Page, for example, was designed based on the targeted needs of our Federal Customers and with their direct suggestions and input. Whether Corporate Counsel, a State & Local view, or a Federal Government view, we want to “sit at the desk” of each of our customers and respond to the unique ways they research and practice.

Also, for our Law Librarian customers, we’re creating an Information Professionals page, which puts our archives, serial sets, etc. directly at the fingertips of those individuals managing extensive and complex information needs for a firm or institution
By moving from to Lexis Advance, we now have an incredible flexibility to build a variety of specialized pages, allowing us to leave behind the notion of “one size fits all customers.” 

All practice pages (with the exception of Lexis Advance Tax) are available to everyone with access to Lexis Advance.

Errick outlined the unique approach to the Tax product:
"We have a different model with Lexis Advance Tax: We surface through this page unique content sets that power the page as well as primary and secondary sources in a subscription model. With the subscription, a firm will receive these content sets as part of the Lexis Advance Tax package. This originates from our commitment to build a tax solution that maximizes our deep tax resources, built within a search module that respects how tax attorneys conduct their practice, including tax-oriented research. The tax content can still be accessed outside of the Tax Page, without the Tax Page specific functionality."


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Private Law Libraries SIS Salutes 21st Century Roles: AALL Approves Name Change Reflecting New Roles for Legal Information Professionals

Law Libraries Have Changed  c. Jean OGrady
Law Librarians were in law firms at least 30 years before any law firm hired a computer services technician. Law librarians have been breaking down the library walls for decades, but it was only this week that the Private Law Libraries section of AALL rebranded.

Law librarians were the first professionals  to  bring  the revolutionary concept of full text online research using Lexis and Westlaw to law firms. They often introduced the first dial-up connection to the internet before there was a World Wide Web. They created online catalogs of firm library collections. They built the early portals and created early KM systems using cataloging software and  connected to the hidden networks of global library holdings using systems from RLIN and OCLC. They introduced competitive intelligence when it was referred to as “selective dissemination of information” using command driven systems from Lockheed Martin Dialog and Orbit. So finally more than 30 years after librarians started transforming their roles, the Private Law Libaries Special Interest Section of AALL has rebranded the organization acknowledging that it is in fact an organization of ”librarians”  rather than “libraries” and to broaden the description of member roles to include  “information professionals.”

On Tuesday the PLL Board provided  this statement about the name change:

On June 16th the AALL Executive Board approved the following SIS name change:
•    Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS) is the new name for the former Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section (PLL-SIS).
 “As the legal industry has changed our members have been at the forefront of driving innovation in the development of information strategies and the delivery of knowledge to all facets of the business and practice of law,” said Jean O’Grady, current past chair of PLLIP. “The name change reflects the expansion of  new roles undertaken by legal information professionals in law firms including competitive intelligence, practice alignments, analytics, knowledge management, pricing, and business development.”

“The new name focuses on future growth and opportunities while reflecting the historical values of librarianship and recognizing the long standing critical migration of Libraries as a place in the former name to Librarians/Information Professionals as individuals in support of the true value and visibility of our members,” said Scott Bailey, incoming PLLIP Chair. “Recognizing that a name change in itself is a symbol and that the real proof of current and emerging value is in the ongoing development and promotion of our services.”

Here is the AALL Press Release:

 Contact: Cara Schillinger
 Director of Membership, Marketing, and Communications


CHICAGO, June 18, 2015 — The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) announced today
 that it has approved the name changes of two special interest sections (SISs) — member groups
 with specialized areas of interest in law librarianship and legal information.

The AALL Executive Board approved the following SIS name changes:
 • Government Law Libraries Special Interest Section (GLL-SIS) is the new name for the former State, Court, & County Special Interest Section (SCCLL-SIS).

 • Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS) is
 the new name for the former Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section (PLL-SIS).

The SIS name changes reflect the interests of their members and required member votes, SIS bylaw
 amendments, and final approval from the AALL Executive Board.

“AALL’s special interest sections represent the interests of more than 2,800 of our members who
 belong to one or more group,” said AALL President Holly M. Riccio. “It is important for our SIS
 members to feel that the names of their sections represent the types of institutions in which they
 work, their areas of expertise, and their roles within those areas.”

“Changing our name to GLL-SIS reflects the multiple levels of government where our members
 serve the public, the practicing bar, and the judiciary,” said GLL-SIS Chair Maryruth Storer. “Maintaining access to justice is imperative to a democratic society.”

“The PLLIP-SIS name change reflects the expansion of new roles undertaken by legal information
 professionals in law firms including competitive intelligence, practice alignments, analytics,
 knowledge management, pricing, and business development,” said Jean O’Grady, immediate past
 chair of the PLLIP-SIS. “As the legal industry has changed, our members have been at the forefront
 of driving innovation in the development of information strategies and the delivery of knowledge to all facets of the business and practice of law.”

AALL will gradually implement the name changes on the AALL website and in forthcoming
 publications and communications.

For more information about AALL Special Interest Sections, visit For more
 information about AALL, visit or contact AALL Member Services at

About AALL
 The American Association of Law Libraries was founded in 1906 to promote law libraries’ value to the legal and public communities, foster the law librarianship profession, and provide leadership in the legal information field. With nearly 5,000 members, AALL represents law librarians and related professionals who are affiliated with law firms; law schools; corporate legal departments; courts; and local, state, and federal government agencies. For more information, visit

For more information about the AALL Special Interest Sections, visit For more

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lex Machina Launches Trademark and Copyright Litigation Analytics Modules

Image result for lex machina logoLately I feel like a kid in an analytics candy store. The recent wave of products offering analytic insights is escalating  the power of legal research and creating new opportunities for information professionals to offer "game changing" insights to the attorneys they support. Lex Machina is having a good year. AALL recently awarded Lex Machina the prestigious "New Product of the Year Award for 2015." Lex Machina also  launched two important new modules for Trademark and Copyright  which include data on 57,000 trademark cases and 49,000 copyright cases. The  Trademark  and Copyright modules offer similar features to those available in their flagship Patent Product. It also offers data sets and  analytics which are unique to Trademark and Copyright litigation. Lex Machina includes case data back to January 1, 2001. The Lex Machina analytics  can provide insights in a variety of contexts.
Pitch Preparation business development “pitch” preparation. Demonstrate your firm’s experience on an issue, before a judge, against your adversary. A firm can plan a litigation budget by seeing both high level trends for a particular type of  litigation, as well as  granular trends for specific issues in a certain circuit, before a certain judge or when opposing a specific firm.

Manage Client Expectations. Lawyers can now produce data to manage client expectations by showing a client time data for similar types of litigation issues, motions, remedies and findings before a specific judge or in a specific court to trial analytics, remedy analytics and  potential damages.

Competitive Advantage.   The Lex Machina reports can provide insights into the  behavior of district court judges, opposing parties, and opposing counsel, engaged in similar litigation, enabling the lawyer  to gain competitive advantage in trademark and copyright litigation.

Unique Copyright-Specific Data

Case Tags – file sharing cases (enabling users to exclude from analysis these 6,400+ repetitive “copyright troll” cases suing ISP addresses of anonymous John Doe defendants), trial (bench and jury), appeal, declaratory judgment

Case Timing – median days to grant of permanent injunction, trial, termination

Case Resolutions –judgment resolutions for claimants and claim defendants (default, consent, judgment on the pleadings, summary judgment, trial, JMOL), procedural resolutions (dismissal, consolidation, severance, transfer, stay), likely settlements (plaintiff voluntary dismissal, stipulated dismissal)

Findings – infringement, fair use, ownership/validity, license or equitable defense

Damages – statutory damages (including for willful infringement), actual damages and

infringer’s profits, public performance license, attorneys’ fees, costs, prejudgment interest

Remedies – seizure/destruction of goods, preliminary injunction, permanent injunction, temporary restraining order. 

Unique Trademark-Specific Data

Case Tags – Lanham Act, unfair competition, dilution, false advertising, trade dress, cybersquatting, trial (bench and jury), appeal, declaratory judgment

Case Timing – median days to grant of permanent injunction, trial, termination

Case Resolutions – judgment resolutions for claimants and claim defendants (default, consent, judgment on the pleadings, summary judgment, trial, JMOL), procedural resolutions (dismissal, consolidation, severance, transfer, stay), likely settlements (plaintiff voluntary dismissal, stipulated dismissal)

Findings – Lanham Act violation, fair use, ownership/validity, equitable defense

Damages – statutory damages (including for willful infringement), trademark owner’s actual damages, infringer’s profits, corrective advertising, attorneys’ fees, costs, prejudgment interest

Remedies – seizure/destruction of goods, termination of mark, relinquish domain name,
preliminary injunction, permanent injunction, temporary restraining order

Stay Tuned..Lex Machina has indicated that they have plans to expand beyond intellectual property cases and will soon be offering analtyics on other kinds of commercial litigation in federal courts.

Here are some sample custom  Trademark and Copyright reports from Lex Machina:

Copyright Filings by Judgement C.D. Ca.

Trademark Remedies and Finding C. D. Ca.

Patent Trademark and Copyright Case Filings C.D. Ca.

Trademark Filings By Judgment in C.D Ca.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Listen up: Isn't it time for Legal Publishers to Offer Audio News Playlists? Modio Legal Is Open and Ready For Business

I am a shameless audiophile. Not the "woofer and tweeter" variety…but  the  working mother, multitasker, "infomaniac" variety. I try to have at least one source of news material handy at all times so that I can harvest precious reading time in a doctor’s waiting room or on a train ride.  I am the person in the grocery line reading a  newsletter which i pulled from my bag instead of "The Enquirer". Several years ago I discovered the joy and convenience of audio books. I have easily "read" 50 audio books in the past two years without having to sit still in a chair – I "read" audio books while "on the go" in a car or at the gym.

I would love to be able to consume other professional reading materials through my headphones, but I can’t think of one legal publisher* that offers an audio option for their newsletters or journals. Isn’t the  legal newsletter audio playlist overdue?. Every morning I  receive a variety of custom alerts. I scan several hundred headlines on key law firm, legal  and business issues. I occasionally open up a few links – but how many more would I like to save and "read" later using an audio-playlist when I am at the gym or driving?

Lawyers are the ultimate time sensitive, multi-tasking over-achievers who would gladly read a newsletter on a bike ride if it didn’t endanger their lives. Why are virtually all of the major legal publishers ignoring the opportunity to transform their print newsletters to audio format and allow them to be consumed in whole or in part from an audio playlist? They don’t even need to invent the technology --- someone has done that.

Modio Legal to the Rescue
Modio Legal’s Website Describes the Product this way:
  "Using its patent-pending system, ModioLegal partners with legal publishers to convert news and current awareness content to a same-day, word-for-word, article-specific, human-narrated audio format that subscribers can access through their smart phones. By placing content in a smart phone enabled audio format, attorneys no longer need to forgo desk time that they could otherwise bill in order to stay informed; rather they can access this information away from their desk during multi-tasking activities such as commuting, exercising or riding a bike. The end result is that attorneys using ModioLegal stabilize and enhance their access to the critical information they need for conducting their practice, while also increasing their billing capacity at their desk."

The founder and CEO of Modio Legal is Kevin Mitchell, a New York lawyer who was seeking audio news options for his own personal use. He recognized that news consumers have to choose between convenience and depth of coverage. Newspapers and magazines offer depth of coverage while TV and radio offer superficial coverage but permit multi-tasking. Mitchell believed that lawyers are the ideal market for a new technology which could offer both multi-tasking and in-depth coverage. Modio Legal launched in May 2014.
Convenience vs Depth The explosion of smartphones suggested to Mitchell that the market was ready for an  audio delivery platform for legal news.  However Mitchell also recognized that the legal news system he was developing had some significant differences with two common audio delivery models: music playlists and podcasts. Music playlists assume that the list owner will want to listen to the same songs repeatedly. Legal news consumption for the most part involves single use consumption. Podcasts are delivered as an indivisible unit. Lawyers don’t have the ability to select and focus on the parts of special interest. Legal newsletters are born with an index which Modio Legal uses to enable a lawyer to create a playlist of content based on the time he or she will be at the gym or driving.
Is the Legal Publishing Industry Listening to the Market?
The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) is the first publisher to take the Modio plunge. Their subscribers can access an audio version of  ABI Journal. I have also narrated  a popular post from Dewey B Strategic on Modio so you can try it out. ModioLegal's proprietary interface is accessible through your web browser rather than an app or software.

Key features of Modio Legal
  • An entire publication or selected content can be added to your playlist.
  • Modio defaults to display the most recent content at the top of the list and displays earlier issues in reverse chronological order.
  • A "Star" feature allows you to select all the content you want to listen to for the desired length of time.
  • Modio provides visual cues showing which articles are new and which articles you have already listened to.
  • All the articles are available for both reading or audio on the Modio website.
  • You retain access to prior issues.
  • The audio readings are performed by law students.

Legal Publishers Listen Up: Does anyone know a lawyer without a smartphone?
The Market is Ready for Audio!

Lawyer and Legal Tech guru Bob Ambrogi recently wrote a post  "The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Legal Podcasts"  in which he describes the recent resurgence of legal podcasts. He cites a Columbia Journalism Review article which recognizes the need for "on-demand in-car" technology. According to the article audio content creates deeper personal connections between the audio producer and the subscribers who spend more time with audio content. Contrast the deeper audio experience with the quick scanning of legal newsletter headlines--- lawyers barely interact with legal newsletters. Why not deliver you content in a format which your subscribers can more easily consume at the time of their choosing?

The major legal publishers Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis  have invested a lot in ebook platforms which have failed to capture a large share of the legal market I elaborated on the shortcomings of eBooks in an earlier post. I understand why publishers might be skittish about investing in yet another alternative delivery system. My personal observation is that eBooks have failed because they are inferior to online databases. In addition ebooks work better on ipads but are not optimal on a smartphone. Ipads are not nearly as ubiquitous as smartphones … in fact smartphones are now practically an extension of the human body… so why not put your content into a smartphone compatible format and  make it available at those times when a lawyer is away from the office but ready to stream a playlist of legal content?  I can identify newsletter and journal titles from all the key publishers: Thomson Reuters, Lexis Nexis, American Lawyer Media, The American Bar Association and BloombergBNA as being suitable for delivery in a playlist format. In January Wolters Kluwer  launched an audio option in the app for their Daily Reporting Suite , but these audios can't be consolidated into a playlist of stories from combined WK titles for convenient listenting at a different time.

The Modio Legal platform offers legal publishers an opportunity to take their daily newsletter content and enhance the user experience while extending the value and reach of their intellectual assets. Why not leverage the wild popularity and ubiquitous presence of  the  smartphones? This audiophile is ready and waiting!

Go to the Modio Legal website so you can experience some audio newsletters and blog posts.

You can access content using Username: DeweyB and Password: modiolegal

Modio Legal is also offering a one month free trial.

* I was notified this morning that Wolters Kluwer actually had released an app which includes audio back in January.