Follow-up Session for the Thomson Reuters Boston Listening Session

As written in earlier blog posts (January 29, 2018 and July 13, 2018) several Boston area law librarians, from both firm and academic law libraries, began a collaborative project to improve customer service and billing with Thomson Reuters.  Due to internal restructuring within TR, progress on the initiatives were delayed, but I am happy to report that the project is still alive.  In April we reconvened as a group and listened to the many steps TR has taken to improve service.  These steps have been taken in consultation with the original group and through vendor-survey feedback from hundreds of TR customers.

Many thanks go to our vendor partners at TR for their commitment to develop these improvements and the librarians who have contributed to this project.

Follow-up Session

April 3, 2019

AGENDA (attendees listed below)

  • Review actions and status from identified pain points
  • Customer feedback and input on various topics
  • Open Discussion 

Summary Notes from Follow-up Discussion:

  • Status of actions being taken based upon the November 2017 meeting and subsequent follow-up session input was shared – see below:
  • Refund Check Documentation

Additional refund information was provided on checks beginning in March 2018.  The before and after view of the refund check was shown with the new views including adding customer’s original check number, invoice reference numbers, and reason for refund.  Feedback: Positive and liked the additional information

  • Improved Customer Returns

Feedback from customers was that they do not receive credit for returns unless they contact Thomson Reuters representative and/or that their return is not processed timely.  Improved customer return process was launched in February 2019.  It is a simplified process that will drive more automated return processing (e.g. issuance of credit) and to reduce the likelihood of errors.  It also provides us the capability to proactively communicate with customers the acceptance or rejection of a return via email.  Email notifications are sent to the Billing contact noted on the customer’s account.  Feedback: Wanted to understand how the Billing contact could be updated.  Informed that this could be managed through MyAccount / MyTR as part of the User Management feature.

  • Revised Credit Memo Documentation

Feedback from customers was that they did not understand what their credit was for and that they would like to see the credit memo documentation if they are issued a credit.  Thomson Reuters shared new credit memo documents with before and after views that was launched late 2018. The new view shows invoice numbers, title and reason for credit.  Feedback: Positive and customers are excited to see the new format.

  • Alignment of Invoice Product Descriptions:

Feedback from the November session was to tie the invoice product descriptions to the book title page.  Random surveyed customers provided us with an approved list of words that will be abbreviated consistently and words that will need to be abbreviated to adhere to our 120-character limit.  We are dedicated and committed to improving the product descriptions for our customers.  Feedback: Customers are seeing a difference and appreciate the work going into this initiative.  This is important.

  • Collections

Feedback from customers indicated that Collections is calling for payment when they’ve already noted an issue with the invoice.  They also feel Thomson Reuters is too aggressive when asking for payment.

We have made significant improvements with the communication and notification of our dunning letters.  We have also provided our Collection staff with additional and ongoing training in order to provide an improved quality engagement with our customers.  Finally, we are in the early stages of designing an engagement model that will utilize relationships already in existence, such as with Customer Service representatives, as well as provide a single-point of contact.  Feedback: Appreciate that we are taking these steps and that we hear them.  Also noted that they are already seeing a difference.

  • My Account Training

In the November session, there was a desire to understand how customers could get training on My Account and what was included in the tool.  Thomson Reuters presented to this group that MyAccount provided a random, disjointed experience including different login experiences, performance issues, limited training content, and required customers to contact us to manager their own users.  Now, we are migrating to a more predictable experience via the MyTR platform.  The MyTR design concepts include focus on four areas: Consistency, Intentional Focus, Usability, and Alleviating Pain.  Thomson Reuter’s goal is to provide a seamless experience.  Feedback: Excited.  Curious when transition from MyAccount to MyTR will happen for this group.  Interested in seeing and understanding more of the MyTR functionality – maybe at AALL conference?  We are looking into this as an option.

Invitees:

Ellen Walsh                                           Mintz Levin

Robert DeFabrizo                                  Goulston& Storrs

Andrea Rasmussen                                Ropes & Gray

Bryan Petit                                            Suffolk Law

Karen Green                                          New England Law

Rachel Bates                                         Northeastern

Linda Boucher                                       Boston University

Caroline Walters                                    Harvard University

Elke Piontek                                          Harvard University

Maria Tina Woods                                 Harvard University

 

TR Representatives:

Rachel Torgerson – Customer Success Strategist

Paul Bland – Global Head of Customer to Cash

Timothy Hoffner – Vice President Customer to Cash Operations

Kendel Kirk – Senior Director, Billing to Pay Process – Customer to Cash

Armando Fagundes – Head of Credit Management – Customer to Cash

LaTasha Sims – Omni-Channel Customer Support Director – Customer to Cash

Kim Hurley – Information Management Advisor

Tommy Williams – Sales and Client Management Lead – East

Lea Harpster – Legal Customer Support Lead

Michael Elert – Customer Support Quality & Process Manager

Jeff Fournier – Team Manager, Customer Service

Michele Best – Director, Law School Sales & Account Management

Regina Wiggins – Regional Field Manager

Ben Verrall – Product Specialist

 

The question of who owns the law heats up.

Friday, Carl Malamud, founder and President of PublicResource.org, urged the Supreme Court to take up this question.  Read more about this and the claim by the lawyers for the state of Georgia that Malamud’s efforts are deemed a “strategy of terrorism” here.

Update: C.F.R.s on GovInfo

After reaching out to John Martinez, Director of the Publications and Services Division at the Office of the Federal Register (under the National Archives and Records Administration), it is confirmed that the December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019 Federal Government shutdown is the primary reason for the delays in both print and GovInfo’s annual C.F.R. title publications.  According to Director Martinez, after finishing up the 2018 titles, the office began approving the current year’s titles (1-16) in early March, and the overall process takes at least 30 days to complete.  At the time of the writing of this blog, certain parts of 2019 Title 12 are now available on GovInfo, and the remainder both print versions and the GovInfo versions of the 2019 C.F.R. Titles 1-16 will begin to arrive very soon.

Bloomberg BNA Semiannual Call Notes

Date: December 21, 2018 / 12:00 p.m.

Participants: R. Martin Witt (CRIV Liaison); Joe Breda (President, Bloomberg Law); Michael Bernier (Director, Library Relations, Bloomberg Law); Andrew Prior (Senior Customer Experience Director, Bloomberg Law)

New Bloomberg BNA Products, Policies, and Issues of Interest

New Customer Experience Team

There is a new customer experience team in place, dedicated to the customer experience across all of Bloomberg Law, rather than being channel-specific. It is designed to provide high-quality customer service to all users of Bloomberg Law, regardless of subscriber type. Based out of the Bloomberg Law home office in Arlington, VA, this team includes nine employees, each of whom has certain areas of expertise.

Product Enhancements

There are also three new enhancements to the Bloomberg Law platform to highlight, each of which is currently available to all Bloomberg Law subscribers.

  1. Attorney Analytics (came out around November 2018)

This enhancement is building on the already-available analytics for companies, law firms, and judges. The data underlying it is pulled from both dockets and case law and includes roughly 100,000 attorneys from 775 different law firms.

  1. Points of Law

The Points of Law enhancement is an applied machine-learning tool, laid over all court opinions. It identifies critical language from opinions and allows users to view all the important points of law in an opinion without clicking through one-by-one.

  1. Transaction Intelligence Center

The Transaction Intelligence Center is a counterpart to the established Business Intelligence Center and Litigation Intelligence Center, but geared toward transactional legal work. It covers 15 discrete practice areas and has a practitioner tool tab offering practical guidance. There are a number of other transactional practice tools available in the Transaction Intelligence Center, including a chart builder.

Law School Migration

With respect to Law School Migration of content from the BNA Premier platform, there is some general information. As of December 31, 2018, the BNA Premier package for law schools will be sun-setted, with content already being available via Bloomberg Law instead. Recipients of Bloomberg Law news email alerts will be able to click through to three articles per email without having to log in to their Bloomberg Law account. For academic users that had campus-wide access to BNA Premier, Bloomberg Law can be provided via IP range for the remaining duration of their BNA Premier contract (through the next renewal). This information should have been communicated already, but if interested parties don’t have the offer information and are interested, they should contact Mike Bernier. Almost all ABA-accredited law schools subscribe to Bloomberg Law for all law students and law faculty members.

CRIV Requests for Assistance

There were multiple requests from each type of library, combined and organized primarily by library type to foster discussion, with a single universal issue listed first.

General Statements from Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law is unequivocally committed to becoming a digital-only platform, in the near future. There is not a concrete date set for the complete move to digital-only, but it is not remote and the complete move should be expected within the next few years.

Supreme Court Today is available in PDF on Bloomberg Law. U.S. Law Week and other standalone news sources are also available for digital purchase independently of a subscription to the Bloomberg Law platform.

  • Universal Issue
    1. Issue
      1. It appears BBNA is adopting an electronic subscription requirement to Bloomberg Law (of a varying number of seats/access points) in order to purchase materials (specifically the Tax Management Portfolios (TMPs)) in print.
    2. CRIV Questions
      • Is BBNA tying access to the TMPs in print to the purchase of a license or licenses to Bloomberg Law?
      • BL Answer: Bloomberg Law’s production and selling of Tax Management Portfolios (TMP) in print TMP is an accommodation exception for Bloomberg Law or Bloomberg Tax online subscribers who also want to continue getting print TMPs. Access to print TMPs were offered as a convenience. Bloomberg Law is committed to continual updates to the TMPs, something only possible in the digital format but understands many subscribers need time migrating users to the digital platform. Is BBNA tying access to any other materials in print to the purchase of a license or licenses to Bloomberg Law? If so, which ones?
        • BL Answer: For the moment, many BNA books can be purchased independently from Bloomberg Law. The ABA/Bloomberg BNA Manual on Professional Conduct is available in both print & electronic formats and can be purchased independently.
      • If BBNA is in fact tying access to print TMPs or to any other print resources to subscriptions to the Bloomberg Law product, why is it doing so?
        • BL Answer: Bloomberg Law isn’t aiming to sell TMPs (or any other individual titles) as stand-alone print resources, but instead marketing the Bloomberg Law platform in light of the move to digital-only. The existing TMPs are sold in print only to accommodate user demand at this point, while the shift to digital-only is not yet complete.
      • Law Firm Library Requests
        1. Main Issues Raised
          1. Requirement of minimum seat purchase that exceeded the number of people in the firm’s tax group (often more than double).
            • Specifically setting a floor of 15 licenses, when it is far more common (described as “industry standard”) to have a 5-license minimum.
          2. Dramatic increase in cost of print Tax Management Portfolios in the coming year (over 200% increase) in addition to an increase to electronic Bloomberg Tax.
  • Frustration with both the migration to practice centers and the notification/explanation (or lack thereof) accompanying those migrations.

BL Comment: Bloomberg Law acknowledges the frustration experience during this migration. A concerted effort has been made to remedy this, revisiting thousands of customer accounts in 2018. The migration nearly complete.

  1. Misrepresentation by representatives who initially claimed the TMPs were being discontinued in print when they came up for renewal, but then later offered print at a reduced price when negotiations for electronic began.
    • This misrepresentation has severely damaged the relationship between the rep and the firm, such that the firm librarian questions whether the 15-seat minimum is an absolute requirement from Bloomberg Law.
  2. CRIV Questions:
    1. For law firm libraries, is there any way to purchase TMPs in print without subscribing to the Bloomberg Law platform?
    2. BL Answer: Yes, via Bloomberg Tax online subscription, provided that meets the “significant” digital presence. If not, is there an absolute minimum number of subscribed seats to Bloomberg Law required for law firm libraries in order to purchase TMPs in print?
      • BL Answer: “Significant” digital presence is the only requirement.
  • If yes, what is that minimum?
    • BL Answer: It varies based on other subscriptions, market, and other factors.

BL Comment: There are two offerings for tax users: 1) Bloomberg Law: Tax, Practice Group License which is based on licensing, at a minimum, all attorneys in the full Tax practice group (if practice group attorney count is less than 15, there is a minimum of 15 users). The practice size is determined by researching and reviewing a combination of publically available information, third-party solutions, and customer feedback. 2) Bloomberg Law (which includes everything in Bloomberg Law: Tax and more), which is done on a designated user basis (no minimum, and no establishing of practice group), practice group license or firm wide license.

  • Public/County Law Library Requests
    1. Issues Raised
      1. The requirement of online subscription as a prerequisite for purchasing the Tax Management Portfolios is problematic for most public/county law libraries.
        • The associated jump in cost of access (with online and print together costing roughly two to three times as much total), especially when the AALL member really wanted just print.

BL Comment: Bloomberg Law is focused on its future as a digital business. It has made the deliberate choice to make investment in digital only, rather than as a publisher of print materials.

  1. Poor (“very deceptive”) communication concerning patron access to the TMPs. Only after pressing the representative for details that were not initially included was it revealed things like 1) patron access can only be at a dedicated terminal (as opposed to an IP range); 2) material cannot be downloaded or emailed by patrons; 3) staff cannot provide requested documents to patrons who are unable to visit the law library in person.

BL Comment: Bloomberg Law is receptive to discussion and improvement on this. Many of the limitations associated with the patron access terminal model are tied to the need for an individual user name and password in order to download, print, save, and take advantages of the customization available to Bloomberg Law subscribers.

BL Comment: There are two standard access modes

  • Designated User Access mode, which consists of a username/password for givens seats/users. Use is personal to the user and not for patron access.
  • Kiosk mode
    • These have no individual username/password and leave no research trail
    • Patrons can print specific material being viewed on the screen.
    • Currently patrons cannot use the download center but Bloomberg Law is open to reconsidering that if it is something libraries feel would be helpful to patrons.
    • For public/county law libraries, Bloomberg Law is also open to discussing the possibility of a Kiosk-mode based on IP address, rather than just a single dedicated terminal.

 

  • The suggestion was made to the representative that a different pricing model might be appropriate for libraries that circulate print materials to members / the public, perhaps as compared to firm and/or academic law libraries.
  1. CRIV Questions:
    1. Have you considered modification to the pricing model, specifically for public/county law libraries, or doing away with the online subscription requirement? Based on the requests for assistance, it seems they are placed in a particularly untenable position under the current pricing model/subscription requirement used for them.
      • BL Answer: Bloomberg Law is willing to work with public/county law libraries on this issue and is open to developing a modified pricing model.
    2. Are there options available to public/county libraries who would like to provide access to TMPs for their patrons at a similar level to that which they could in the past (for example, downloads/emails; electronic access in different areas of the library (not just one terminal); delivery of materials to patrons unable to visit the library in person)? If so, what are they?
      • BL Answer: Bloomberg Law is willing to work with public/county law libraries on this issue and help determine what options may help serve patron needs effectively.

 

  • Academic Law Library Requests
    1. Issues Raised
      1. Lack of PDF versions of the BNA Law Reports that have been discontinued (or have been identified as being discontinued) in print.
        • The new platform poses challenges for citation by faculty members who seek to use material previously found in BNA Law Reports as part of their scholarship.
          • Develop working group to come up with approach to move forward (rather than just past)
  1. Poor communication of the changes to the BNA Law Reports and Bloomberg Law.
    • Cessation notices followed by additional materials (e.g., Corporate Counsel Weekly; Corporate Practice Portfolio Series, and others).
      • This creates additional work and confusion on the part of staff that work with acquisitions and/or serials.
      • Requests for clarification do not yield useful/reliable/concrete information.
      • Notices indicated that a Bloomberg BNA representative would contact the AALL members, but there is no such communication unless initiated by the member and any answers given were unhelpful.
    • Inconsistent, and sometimes contradictory, information given on which BNA Reports will continue, to which date, and whether equivalents (in PDF or not) will be available in Bloomberg Law.
  • Migration from IP-based University-wide access on the BNA Premier Platform to individual username and password (generally limited to law school students/faculty).
    • At least one Law Library Director was able to secure campus-wide Bloomberg Law IP authentication at no additional cost for the duration of the existing BNA Premier license, but only after reaching out. That person was also offered the option of a refund if Bloomberg Law IP access for the rest of the contract period was no desired. All this occurred, however, only after the Director reached out and it is unclear how widely this option has been made known (or is even, in fact, available).
  1. CRIV Questions:
    1. Why were/are some print BNA Law Reports continuing to be produced and distributed even after the effective date of cessation notices pass?
      • BL Answer: These continued publications were anomalies and should not continue.
    2. Which BNA Law Reports, if any, will continue to be produced in print?
      • BL Answer: There will be no BNA Law Reports produced in print, beginning in 2019.
    3. Which BNA Law Reports, if any, will have PDF versions accessible on Bloomberg Law? If any PDFs are/will be available, what are the precise dates/ranges of those PDFs?
      • BL Answer: Only the Supreme Court Today and ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct will have PDF versions available moving forward. An archive of existing PDFs will be maintained for all BNA Law Reports.
  • Which BNA Law Reports are ceasing without any substantially similar electronic access to the information?
    • BL Answer: The Family Law Reporter, Real Estate Industry & Law Report, and Money & Politics coverage have no Bloomberg Law counterparts.
  1. Will MARC records be provided for the Bloomberg Law titles/material that used to be on BNA Premier? If so, how should members request those records to get them as efficiently as possible?
    • BL Answer: Yes, complimentary MARC records are available. Please see http://www.bna.com/marcrecords. If you would like to be added to the distribution list for updates, please contact Mike Bernier.
  2. For those with existing BNA Premier IP-based subscriptions, can Bloomberg Law subscriptions be substituted at no additional cost?
    • BL Answer: Yes. For academic users that had campus-wide (access to BNA Premier, Bloomberg Law can be provided via IP range for the duration of the BNA Premier contract (through the next renewal) at no additional cost. For more information, contact Mike Bernier.
  3. For those with existing BNA Premier IP-based subscriptions on a campus-wide basis, how should a refund be requested for the time frame covered by the contract once BNA Premier ends on 12/31/2018?
    • BL Answer: If IP access of Bloomberg Law is not desired, libraries can notify their reps and request a refund of a pro-rated portion of the campus-wide contract cost.
  • What is the cost for a Bloomberg Law IP-based subscription, for those academic libraries that would like to continue to provide (as they did with BNA Premier) access to these materials for their entire university?
    • BL Answer: After the current BBNA contract expires, IP-based access to Bloomberg Law is based on the total FTE for the University (4 bands based on university-wide FTE.)

Fastcase is a Print-Machine!

Fastcase, a database that prides itself on using technology and AI for digital research, continues to bolster their print resources, both internal and external.  In February, Fastcase’s publishing division, Full Court Press, published their first print book titled MAP a Complex Case by Dave Dolkas. In March, Fastcase partnered with the ABA to sell print versions of ABA Expert Treatises from across the country.  In April, Full Court Press published their second print book, Mapping the Deal, as well as partnering with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), to print the first issue of the AILA Law Journal, a bi-annual journal analyzing and researching contemporary issues of immigration law.

These new print titles join with Fastcase’s current print collection of the Full Court Press journal RAIL (Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Law) and their other print partnership with James Publishing. Of course, Fastcase makes many of these materials available online through their database, but this increased focus on print materials swim against the current trend of other publishers and databases reducing their print collections in favor of a purely digital library.

Where Have All the C.F.R.s Gone?

As many readers of this blog know, the Code of Federal Regulations is updated annually on a staggered schedule.  Specifically, the  updated Titles 1-16 are published on January 1 of every year, and the updated Titles 17-27 are published on April 1 of every year.  As of the writing of this blog entry, none of these titles have been updated on govinfo’s annual C.F.R. library.  When contacted for an explanation, the reasoning given was that govinfo places them “online as we receive them and our office has not receive those CFR’s for online posting.  I don’t know why or where the holdup could be.  When they come in we will do our best to expedite the online process.”  Following up with other members of the CRIV committee, it appears that the print versions of the C.F.R. have also not arrived in many libraries.  While the Government Publishing Office’s Electronic C.F.R. (eCFR) is up to date, this remains the unofficial version of the code.  Therefore as of this writing, the most current official versions of the over half the C.F.R. Titles remain over a year out of date.

Additionally another anomaly, specifically the January 2019 List of C.F.R. Sections Affected referring to Titles 42-50 updates in the Federal Register dating back to October 1, 2017 (rather than October 1, 2018), makes it appear that the Government Publishing Office is delayed in either publishing or shipping the most current C.F.R. volumes, creating a rather vast gap in federal regulatory information for the public.  While the Federal Register is up to date on govinfo, and current regulations may be found therein, the fact remains that the C.F.R., the official source for federal regulations, is unaccountably out of date.  As stated in the response from govinfo, even divisions of the GPO don’t fully understand the delay, and I have been unable to find any news which would explain further.  One possible explanation is the December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019 federal government shutdown, but this is simply a guess without more information to support a conclusion.

If you have any information about the delay in the C.F.R. publications (either print or on govinfo) please reach out to myself (mtimko@niu.edu) or another member of CRIV.  Govinfo remains a tremendous resource for attorneys, information professionals, and the public at large, and providing the most current information is integral for the public’s access to information.

Lexis Advance Access Beyond Law School

Lexis Advance will once again be available to law students over the summer (May-August) with their law school login credentials.  Students will have full access to Lexis Advance, without a break in their search history or saved documents and searches.  This access is not limited to academic research, and students may use their student accounts for research related to clerkships, internships, or summer jobs at a law firm.

Similarly, any graduating students will maintain continued access to Lexis Advance through the end of the calendar year (December 31, 2019).  Graduate program access allows access to continue with the law school login credentials, however credentials will be updated from regular law school IDs to “graduate” credentials beginning on July 5, 2019.  For more information, please refer to the attached Flyers provided by Lexis.

Summer Access Flyer

Graduate Program Flyer