CRIV/BBNA Semiannual Call Minutes (December 2019)

Thursday, December 17, 2019, 11:00 am Eastern

Participants: Joe Breda (President, Bloomberg Law); Mike Bernier (Director, Knowledge Services and Library Relations; Bloomberg Law); Vani Ungapen (Executive Director; American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)), R. Martin Witt (Chair, AALL Committee on Relations with Information Vendors (CRIV)); Karen Selden (AALL Board Liaison to CRIV)

New Bloomberg Law Products, Policies, and Issues of Interest

  • Corporate and litigation Practical Guidance tools continue to be expanded. New suites include:
    • Initiating & Defending Litigation
    • Litigation Finance
      • Both go live on December 18, 2019
      • Both fully integrate with existing tools on Bloomberg Law (e.g., Points of Law; Docket Key; SmartCode)
    • Law X.0 podcasts
      • Available on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.
        • Focused on the future of the practice of law
      • Workflow enhancements
        • Revamped alerts management system
        • Simplified printing process, including bulk printing and downloading multiple files from a results list.

Upcoming Bloomberg Law Products, Policies, and Issues of Interest

  • Big product release of 2020 Q1 will include
    • Brief Analyzer
      • To be released to all Bloomberg Law customers
      • Will allow users to upload a brief and get related legal materials from Bloomberg Law

Requests for Assistance (RFA)

RFA #1 – Restrictions on Docket Use (Academic Law)

R. Martin Witt:

Background – There were a number of Requests for Assistance in which AALL members reported having Bloomberg Law users who were told that their Bloomberg Law accounts were prohibited from executing any further Dockets Transactions. These users received a letter from Bloomberg Law’s legal counsel saying they had been identified as having an excessive amount of docket transactions. Some AALL members also indicated that they had users also were told they were banned “for life.” Historically, AALL members have Bloomberg Law have often recommended Bloomberg Law as a resource for access dockets, precisely because there was not a preset limit on the transactions that could be completed.

Joe Breda:

In general, Bloomberg Law offers pretty much unlimited/unmetered dockets access to every single law school seat. There is, however, an external variable cost associated with the transactions, which is borne by Bloomberg Law. Docket usage is increasing at a non-linear rate, and – rather than severely limit docket access across the board in the law school market – Bloomberg Law identified 23 individual users whose usage was several orders of magnitude above “normal” usage and contacted them, referring to a Bloomberg Law’s general provision allowing access to be restricted.

Those 23 users are not forbidden from accessing Bloomberg Law; they are also not forbidden from accessing dockets on Bloomberg Law. The restriction applies only to the ability to incur costs via docket requests and docket alerts. Those 23 users could only perform actions that would generate costs if they agreed to cover the costs of those actions.

Agreements to cover the costs of docket requests have been discussed with two of the 23 users, but a billing mechanism is still being worked out by Bloomberg Law.

Mike Bernier:

Bloomberg Law will be meeting with a group of Law Library Directors at AALS, to gather feedback and perhaps work to establish thresholds that could be used moving forward. The purpose is not to reduce the use of dockets for general legal research, but instead to curb the excessive use of dockets above what is reasonably expected.

Joe Breda:

Again, the vast majority of law school users (students and faculty) – 99.8% of academic users –were completely unaffected.

R. Martin Witt:

Were any of the 23 users running scripts or were they all manually gathering/using dockets?

Joe Breda:

That’s less of a relevant question in this instance, because even if done manually the fees incurred were extremely high. This is particularly true with docket tracks because, once set up, they can generate substantial fees without any further human action required.

R. Martin Witt:

To recap, there is no strict limit right now, but setting a threshold will be discussed at AALS. Other aspects CRIV would recommend be included in those AALS discussions are 1) the possibility of some warning, prior to restricting docket functionality for users; 2) perhaps a suspension period prior to a permanent restriction of certain docket actions; 3) whether the permanent restriction will remain for all 23 users already identified.

Joe Breda:

Bloomberg Law is totally willing to return full functionality to any of the 23 users under either of two circumstances: 1) they discontinue whatever actions were driving disproportionate fee generation or 2) they reach at least an informal agreement to bear the financial burden for the excessive activities.

R. Martin Witt:

Finally, the letter from General Counsel indicated that “efforts to circumvent the prohibition” would lead to suspension and/or termination of the Bloomberg Law agreement. What would constitute efforts to circumvent? Would, for instance, a Reference Librarian requesting an item that the faculty member with restricted access could not request be an effort at circumvention?

Joe Breda:

Absolutely not, that activity by a Reference Librarian would be fine. The efforts at circumventing that are not permitted would be things like transferring all the existing alerts that caused an account to be restricted to another account that had not been restricted.

A summary of the AALS meetings will also be provided to CRIV to be appended to these minutes or share shortly thereafter. If Law Librarians would like to share their thoughts on this, please contact Mike Bernier (MBernier@bloomberglaw.com).

Post-Call Addendum

Bloomberg Law reported constructive conversations at AALS regarding law school docket use and are making some refinements to a policy based on feedback at that meeting and will communicate further.

RFA #2 – ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct

Joe Breda:

As has been expressed multiple times over recent years, Bloomberg Law sees its future as two things: 1) completely digital; and 2) an integrated platform. At this point, this was essentially the final print resource produced by Bloomberg Law. After extended discussions with the leadership at the ABA, everyone agrees the future is digital and the time has come to make that move with respect to this product. An entirely new slice of Bloomberg Law was built out, which will allow for a better more current product that the print could offer.

R. Martin Witt:

ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct has current archives in PDF, with citable pagination. Will that be maintained?

Mike Bernier:

Yes, the archive will be maintained.

R. Martin Witt:

Will new updates be similarly paginated?

Mike Bernier:

We have been reworking this resource from page-based pagination to paragraph-based pagination, which will hopefully make the transition easier since updates after the end of the year will not have fixed pagination. Even when print goes away, we will have a means of consistent citation.

R. Martin Witt:

OK, thank you. Moving to consistent paragraph formatting should hopefully alleviate some concerns over citations. With respect to access, there seems to be some similarity to the concern over access – primarily for court/public Law Libraries, or those open to the public – that we discussed in connection with the Tax Management Portfolios (TMPs) last year. For the TMPs, you were open to the idea of kiosk access based on IP address rather than simply by specific machine address. Could there be something similar – either a slice or kiosk-based access to the new professional responsibility platform – available to those libraries who are open to the public and have financial constraints that make providing public access to the complete Bloomberg Law platform untenable?

Joe Breda:

There is no current kiosk-based configuration for that particular slice. A challenge with IP authentication is that it becomes difficult to price appropriately. We are, however, willing to discuss the possibility and will follow-up with CRIV and the libraries impacted.

R. Martin Witt:

I’m not sure there’d be a consensus, given all the different circumstances Law Libraries face. For some Law Libraries though, especially those that make a concerted effort to serve the public and attorneys who are unlikely to have access to the full Bloomberg Law, this is a resource that is of great importance. It isn’t a niche practice area; it’s something that every practicing attorney should be able to stay informed on. IP-recognition would likely be preferred, for ease of administration, but even a kiosk-based configuration (single terminal) with just the professional responsibility slice available could be a good compromise.

Post-Call Addendum

Bloomberg Law responded to concerns that law school and court libraries were unable to make the ABA/Bloomberg Law Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct available to patrons after print ceased. As a result of issues raised by CRIV, law schools and courts may now purchase an IP-authenticated electronic version of just the ABA/Bloomberg Law Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct at a price significantly less than a full Bloomberg Law Patron Access terminal. Librarians should contact their Bloomberg Law Relationship Partner for more information.

RFA #3 – Itemized invoices, including of electronic subscriptions

R. Martin Witt:

An AALL member subscribes to multiple electronic products from Bloomberg Law and needs itemized invoices in order to properly allocate costs from Bloomberg Law to appropriate practice groups. Is there anything that can be done for this subset of firms that needs to allocate costs of individual electronic products?

Mike Bernier:

The default is to bill as one lump sum. Requests for itemized bills can generally be accommodated on an individual basis, since it is a manual process. If the request has been made to the billing contact and the response is not satisfactory, users should contact Mike Bernier (MBernier@bloomberglaw.com) directly for a cost-per-subscription breakdown (with some limitations if bundling makes such a breakdown impossible).

RFA #4 – BNA Books

R. Martin Witt:

Within the past couple days, there have been a rash of incidents where Bloomberg Law Books (formerly BNA Books) have been delivering multiple copies of materials and billing them separately when only one was ordered. There was also a lot of institution account information that was lost in a recent transition. I know you’ve just been made aware of the issues as well. Can you share any additional information or progress on diagnosing the issues?

Mike Bernier:

The books@bloomberglaw.com email address should now be sufficient to address most of the concerns expressed. There was a transition, but it is being worked on. If there is a need for escalation of a particular issue, people should be forward the previous correspondence to me [Mike Bernier (MBernier@bloomberglaw.com)] and I can assist.

Joe Breda:

We have someone in the office now tracking down instances where customers were sent books/copies that they didn’t want and working to resolve them. We are also working on fixing issues in our accounts that were transferred, including the loss of information related to tax-exempt status, so we are asking for that information and should be able to effectively keep track of that moving forward. Please just continue to communicate with us as we work through this process and the best initial contact is books@bloomberglaw.com.

R. Martin Witt:

Was there a pattern to the extra books that were sent out, which might indicate a systematic issue?

Mike Bernier:

Unfortunately, no. We’ve been able to resolve the individual issues, but there does not seem to be any commonality among the extra materials that were sent out.

RFA #5 – Full-time Equivalent (FTE) measure

R. Martin Witt:

A AALL member reported that Bloomberg Law was trying to “prove” that JD enrollment had crossed a certain threshold, thereby increasing their subscription cost and were requiring extra steps to certify the number as correct even though it was publicly available.

Mike Bernier:

Generally, Bloomberg Law takes the ABA 509 report and if enrollment drops we request something from the registrar that confirms the drop. If there is no discrepancy identified by the school, Bloomberg Law will not seek to identify discrepancies itself or require additional certification of ABA 509 numbers. This sounds like there was an unfortunate miscommunication and we can follow up.

 

CRIV/Thomson Reuters Biannual Phone Call

CRIV-Thomson Reuters Bi-Annual Liaison Call

Conference call took place on Monday, December 16, 2019 at 3:00 PM EST and ended at 3:30 PM EST.

Participants:

  • Deborah Heller – CRIV Thomson Reuters Liaison
  • Kim Hurley – Information Management Advisor at Thomson Reuters
  • Rachel Torgerson – Customer Success Strategist at Thomson Reuters
  • Vani Ungapen – AALL Executive Director

Agenda:

  • Introductions
  • Discussion of direction of the phone calls moving forward. Deborah expressed an interest in having the calls address outstanding advocacy issues, provide an overview of any updates to Westlaw and/or Practical law, and continue ongoing discussions of billing issues worked on with Caroline Walters, the previous CRIV Thomson Reuters liaison.
    • Kim said she could share the quarterly product updates with Deborah, who will then share information with members. Normally, Thomson Reuters tries to provide the update information in person to customers.
  • One request for assistance was shared. The customer reported that Practical Law charges are appearing in Quickview as chargeable even though they are supposed to be non-billable. The problem is apparently not immediately obvious unless you are spot-checking a specific charge, so it is possible that firms may have been billing clients for something that should have been free. The problem was reported to a client relations manager, who has reported that Thomson Reuters is aware of the issue.
    • Rachel took note of this problem and will look into the issue.
  • Rachel provided an update on her work with the customer to cash group to improve customer experience.
    • Survey responses as well as phone calls used to understand customer experience. This information has been shared with various departments.
    • Working on making invoicing clearer and more understandable.
    • Working on improving accuracy and timeliness of processing payments
    • Working on consistency of information provided
      • Discussed fact that product numbers are not appearing on all invoices, so Rachel wanted to know if this was information users wanted and or needed.
        • Deborah said that the most important information to her is the title of the product and a description of what it is (e.g. yearly update, specific release number, etc.).
      • Rachel hopes to be able to share more specific information including roadmaps and timelines for improvements to customer billing at the next phone call around the beginning of May.
    • Kim explained that she is the current liaison to CRIV for Thomson Reuters since the CRIV liaison once again falls within her territory (Deborah works in NY).
    • Discussion about the timing for the next call. It will happen in early to mid-May. Deborah will contact Kim and Rachel to schedule it at the beginning of April.

CRIV / LexisNexis SemiAnnual Call

Date: December 2, 2019

Participants: Carolyn Bach (Senior Manager, Librarian Relations and Faculty Programs), Autumn Boyer (Director of Segment Management), James Oakes (Segment Manager), Vani Ungapen (Executive Director, AALL) & Karen Provost (CRIV Board, LexisNexis Liaison)

Requests for Advocacy:

  • Although there were no formal requests to CRIV, AmLaw 200 firms still question why they are unable to renew Law360, Courtlink, AmLaw products and print materials separately without subscribing to Lexis Advance.  Here is the response from Lexis:

While we understand that firms initially had questions about how the products are related, Lexis has made substantial progress integrating the user experience across numerous products since 2018. As of today, LexisNexis Patent Optimizer®, Intelligize®, LexisNexis® Dossier, TotalPatent®, Nexis Diligence™, and Nexis Newsdesk™ have been moved off standalone platforms and on to the Lexis Advance® platform for single ID access, links between products, and back-office administration. Near-term plans include integration of CourtLink®, and Law360®, along with considerably more interconnectivity between products. Customers tell us that the Integration has materially improved their experience across products, rendering some former platforms unusable without integrated permalinks to Lexis Advance and other products.  Customer feedback continues to drive our integration plans, and we encourage members to follow-up with their LexisNexis account representative with any questions regarding their firm’s specifics. Read more details on product integration in the section below.

Product Integration:

  • Integrating our products into a single platform to facilitate administrative convenience and research efficiency remains a top priority.
  • In 2019 we concluded the legacy system decommissioning effort, and successfully integrated Patent Optimizer, Intelligize, Dossier, TotalPatent, Diligence, and Newsdesk into the Lexis Advance Platform. All of this allows users to seamlessly move between more products.
  • In 2019 we upgraded the bulk of our CourtLink customers to the integrated Lexis Advance version, and the remaining customers with complex setups and custom integrations will be upgraded in 2020.
  • In 2020, we plan to integrate Law360.
  • Also in 2020, we plan to introduce to the Lexis Advance platform a web-based version of LexisNexis CaseMap® (currently software based). This will allow for significant integration between Lexis Advance and this trial management tool in the future.

Lexis Advance:

  • Streamlined Lexis Advance User Interface released in August 2019 increasing ease of use. Also included enhancements to filtering by court and relocation of Browse functionality to Explore Content with new Find a Source and Find a Topic tabs. The result is a streamlined home page that’s easier to navigate.
  • Lexis Answers: We also continued to enhance our Lexis Answers offering, adding Expert Witness cards and providing links to CVs and other relevant materials including links to Context and Lex Machina in judge and expert witness answer cards where applicable.
  • Ravel View enhancements: In early December, a visual refresh to Ravel View display on Lexis Advance that will improve accessibility for some visually impaired users and make the data and navigation easier.
  • India and Malaysia primary law were added to Lexis Advance.
  • Alerts Manager: first iteration released. This tool facilitates firm-wide alert and track management by firm Administrators across all Lexis Advance products.
  • Lexis Advance CourtLink – initial wave of migrations from CourtLink to the Lexis Advance platform providing a more streamlined docket solution. This industry leading docket coverage and robust alerting and tracking are still key components of the tool and now it is easier to use and learn than ever before on the Lexis Advance platform – hopefully relieving some of the burden from information professionals by allowing attorneys and other researchers to use the product on their own without much in the way of special training.
  • In Large Law, primary law materials accessed are now $0 from a billback perspective. This change was made based on customer feedback.

Context:

  • The Court module was launched, building further on the Judge module, and allowing attorneys to understand which language is most persuasive in a given court, determine the success rate of over 100 types of motions by court, and more.
  • Users can now share a summary version of the Context report with their clients, co-counsel, etc.
  • The Company module is currently in early testing and will allow users to understand corporate structure, financials, leadership, news coverage, and litigation history in a single interface. This module will be attractive to both litigators and business development professionals.

Lexis Practice Advisor®:

  • New practice areas including: Business Entities, Data Security and Privacy, Energy and Utilities, Financial Services Regulation, Insurance, Life Sciences, Private Equity & Investment Management, and Trusts and Estates.
  • Evolving Guidance – Lexis Practice Advisor and Law360 have been integrated in an innovative and extremely useful way allowing attorneys and researchers to gain end-to-end coverage of editorially selected issues, from the first news stories to the relevant forms needed to practice law surrounding those issues.
  • Deeper integration of Intelligize and LPA allows for “deal point” searching on substantive contract terms in M&A agreements.
  • State Law Comparison Tool – updates and additions to the state law comparison tool continue.
  • Expert forms on Lexis Practice Advisor are easier to export to Word and the alternate clauses and drafting notes our customers love now appear in-line in the document making them easier to understand and employ.
  • Core Documents are now surfaced immediately in several practice areas, allowing users to quickly identify the most useful and most used forms, checklists, etc.

Nexis Newsdesk:

Recent Enhancements:

  • Integration with Lexis Advance – access with Lexis Advance ID
  • RSS Privatization and naming (Firm added RSS feeds visible to firm only)
  • Ability to export Newsletters and share via other internal channels e.g. intranet
  • Ability to receive newsletters through mobile app
  • Sharing Newsletters externally (e.g. to a client) is now available via a subscription amendment
  • Newsdesk Quick Search – new guided search template default for new users.

Coming soon:

Lexis Advance:

  • New products and tools in development: Statutes Compare tool, a brief analysis tool, AI enabled research tools and forthcoming additions to Context These tools are all still in development and we look forward to sharing information with you about all of these and more in 2020.

LexisNexis, Lexis Advance, Lexis Practice Advisor, LexisNexis PatentOptimizer, TotalPatent, CaseMap and CourtLink are registered trademarks, and Nexis Diligence and Nexis Newsdesk are trademarks of RELX Inc. Intelligize is a registered trademark of Intelligize, Inc. Law360 is a registered trademark of Portfolio Media, Inc. Other products or services may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

 

Winter is Coming – and so are Gale Product Enhancements!

Most of us are familiar with the vast array of Gale products. As vendors continue to update and streamline their products to make them more user-friendly, Gale has started a roll-out of enhancements as well. Phase one was completed earlier this year, and phase two, which affects such law collections as The Making of Modern Law: American Civil Liberty and the U.S. Declassified Documents Online, is slated to roll out this month (as of this posting, the rest of The Making of Modern Law collections are still TBD). Enhancements in these roll-outs include improved search results (with better faceting and filtering); a new Explore panel to upgrade the search experience, with tools such as a “More Like This” article suggester; and updated product names — for example, LegalTrac received its upgrade in July 2019, and is now Gale OneFile: LegalTrac.

To learn more about these enhancements, access a timeline of when each Gale product will receive the enhancements, and get a sneak preview, check out the Gale Product Enhancement site.

New, Notable, and Fun: Recent Finds from GPO and LOC

Government websites can be a boon of (free!) information for legal research. For today’s post, I thought I’d highlight a few news items and a few fun finds from the Library of Congress and the GPO.

New: GPO Director

Earlier this week, the Senate confirmed Hugh Halpern as the new Director of the Government Publishing Office. Halpern has held a variety of positions on Capitol Hill over the past 30 years, including Director of Floor Operations for the Speaker of the House. You can read more about Halpern in the GPO’s press release.

Congress.gov Enhancements

In November, Congress.gov added two new enhancements: First, for Senate amendments to bills, you can now see a list of any withdrawn co-sponsors. Second, in an effort to increase accessibility, Congress.gov has made improvements to their search results to make them easier to read for screen readers. You can see all the latest Congress.gov enhancements here.

Notable: CRS Reports on Congress.gov

We reported on this feature in September 2018, but in case you missed it, you can now access a large collection of Congressional Research Service reports through Congress.gov ( https://crsreports.congress.gov/). My favorite way to access the CRS reports on this site is to hit the search button without entering any search terms. This brings you to the index of CRS reports, so you can see the variety of subjects covered. Did you know the Law Library of Congress also creates research reports for Congress? You can access their reports as well, from the Law Library of Congress website.

Just for Fun: Library of Congress’ Free to Use and Reuse Collection

The Library of Congress has digitized large numbers of items in their collections, and have created a Free to Use and Reuse page, where you can browse these digitizations by category. Some collections, such as Veterans, Presidential Inaugurations, or Women’s History Month, might be more relevant to law libraries; myself, I’m partial to the Dogs collection (don’t worry – there’s a Cats one too). Perhaps the best collection here is the Not an Ostrich collection, named after this photo:

“Not an Ostrich” – https://www.loc.gov/resource/ppmsca.40935/

These are just a few of the new and notable finds from the GPO and the Library of Congress. Do you have your own favorite features? Please share!

CRIV-Wolters Kluwer Bi-Annual Liaison Call

Conference call took place on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. PST.  Call adjourned at 10:15 a.m. PST.

Participants:

  • Jenna Ellis, Wolters Kluwer Liaison
  • Vani Ungapen, AALL Executive Director
  • Karen Selden, AALL, CRIV Board Liaison
  • Cynthia Condit, AALL, CRIV Wolters Kluwer Liaision

Agenda:

Wolters Kluwer Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to CRIV and/or AALL

  • Announcements/Updates:
    • Smart Charts.  At the July 2019 AALL annual meeting Wolters Kluwer gathered a focus group of librarians in the legal field.  Many in the focus group indicated strong interest in the practice tool that creates multi-jurisdictional surveys called Smart Charts.  Based on the feedback, Wolters Kluwer will be making Smart Charts its own document type for searching.  The Smart Charts are currently under development.  There is no exact roll-out date, but expecting it to be sometime in 2020.
    • “Did You Know?”  To increase awareness of some useful products that people may not know about, Wolters Kluwer is providing focused introductions to these products.  Access to products depends on your specific subscription.  In today’s call, Jenna drew attention to a group of over 65 white papers written either internally by Wolters Kluwer or more often by law firms.  The white papers are highly used and well liked.  Some professors attach them to course syllabi.  However, the white papers do not appear in the usual topical area search results.  Instead they must be searched for separately in their own content category under News & Commentary.  When accessed, you can browse and word search the white papers.  Please see the screenshot below for more detail.

WK-WhitePapers-Nov2019

    • Cheetah.  Jenna noted that Cheetah has now been up and running for a full year.  There have been no further outage issues.

Requests for Advocacy

  • One outstanding request – resolved:
    • Question: Why did Wolters Kluwer stop collecting sales tax on tangible items in California since the beginning of 2019?
    • Response: California (and Wisconsin) do impose a sales tax on initial purchase of a loose-leaf subscription (they published the letter ruling).  Sales tax must be paid, according to the California State Board of Equalization, on initial purchases because purchasers are receiving binders, (tpp), with the subscription and the binders are not sold separately from the subscription.  Because the binders are taxable, the entire initial subscription is taxable.  The renewal of the subscription is not taxable because the customer receives monthly updates (i.e., more than 4), and therefore the renewal qualifies as an exempt subscription.
  • No new requests

AALL Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to Wolters Kluwer

  • Sponsorship contact for AALL annual meeting:
    • The new sponsorship point of contact for the AALL annual meeting is Rocco Impreveduto, Director of Marketing at Wolters Kluwer.

Other Items of Interest — None

 

Lexis Provides Information on its Dealings with ICE

Today, Lexis sent an email to Law Faculty to explain its relationship with ICE in response to the #NoTechForICE petition. One of the issues that has been prevalent in the past few years is the interaction that the legal research vendors have with ICE, as the agency has cracked down on illegal immigrants during the Trump Administration. The email noted that all federal agencies can purchase access to LexisNexis products under the contract the company has with the federal government. According to the email, ICE has purchased some ancillary public records services, which account for approximately 10% of the contracts reported in the petition. The email goes on, stating “[w]e are not providing jail-booking data to ICE and are not working with them to build data infrastructure to assist in their efforts (emphasis in original). The email also notes that LexisNexis has a contract with ICE, which provides core legal research services to detainees including cases, statutes, secondary materials, bilingual user guides, and immigration forms. The email also stated that LexisNexis does not sell subscriber user information to ICE or any other government agency.