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Bloomberg And Google Take Aim At Legal Research Firms

by on March 4, 2010

I recently came across an ABA Journal article that reminded me of one of the things I enjoyed least about law school; research.  I in fact love doing research, but very much disliked the first year writing and research course, wherein we were required to work with Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw to do our research and document exactly how we found the relevant citations or information.  In the pre-Google years, I was an early adopter of technology and always excited about finding and using the newest search engines (remember Metacrawler?).  As a result, I could regularly find what I was looking for in at least one fewer steps than it would take me using the old research crutches.  Well, after years of being able to rely on the reluctance of law firms to make sweeping changes in their technology and research services, the big two of legal research have serious competition from Google, Bloomberg and even some much smaller companies.  As the article notes:

“After decades of Westlaw and Lexis rolling out incremental improvements, real innovation has become the watchword in online legal research. At stake: billions in revenue and a big piece of your computer desktop.”

Lexis and Westlaw never had to change very fast since they had long-standing contracts with law firms who had plenty of money and no reason to shake things up as long as things worked reasonably well.  But now, with the market in its current state, more firms are trying to cut costs and more willing to listen to the enterprising librarian or technician who brings them an idea for shaving six figures off of the IT or research budget.

How will this turn out?  No one knows, but read the full article at the link below,  it’s very much worth a few minutes of your time.


From → legal news

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