Getting to Know CRIV

Over the next few weeks, the CRIV Blog will focus on … CRIV! We’ll be highlighting our website and the vendor tools and information that have been created for the AALL community.

This week’s post spotlights the AALL “Vendor Relations Policy.” Future posts will highlight “Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers,” “Policies & Procedures for Licensing Electronic Resources,” CRIV’s vendor liaisons and Request for Assistance form, and the CRIV publications, the CRIV Blog and The CRIV Sheet.

Finding CRIV Information Generally

Finding CRIV information is easy from the AALL homepage. Scroll over the Advocacy tab at the top right of the screen. A popup box provides links to the Liaisons to Vendors, The CRIV Sheet, CRIV Tools, CRIV Blog, Policies, and the Request for Assistance form.

Finding the AALL Vendor Relations Policy

Scroll over the Advocacy tab on the AALL homepage and select, “Policies.”

AALL Vendor Relations Policy

The purpose of the Vendor Relations Policy is to direct AALL’s advocacy on issues related to legal publishing and legal publishers. The goal of the policy is to provide the AALL community with information that helps them in their interactions with suppliers to the profession.

The Policy consists of 4 parts: part I, an introduction; part II, issues supported by the AALL Government Relations Policy; part III, other AALL policies that support vendor relations activities; and part IV, issues identified for advocacy with legal publishers.

The Government Relations Policy monitors proposed legislation and regulations, evaluating the impact on members, access to justice, and the legal information industry. In part II, you’ll find a list of issues and principles relating to public policy and the publishing industry that support areas related to vendor relations.

In part III, other AALL policies that support vendor relations, you will find, among others, AALL’s Preservation Policy, which supports standards and guidelines to ensure preservation of legal materials, and AALL’s Sponsorship Policy, which outlines parameters for sponsorship to ensure a mutually beneficial exchange. This part also provides a statement encouraging legal publishers to provide usage statistics in compliance with the COUNTER Code of Practice.

Many publishing and customer service issues are addressed in other CRIV documentation, but part IV identifies 10 additional issues identified for advocacy with legal publishers. Some issues mentioned: more pricing transparency, simplified licensing models, and assignment of customer reps who have knowledge and understanding of all product lines and individual library accounts.

Antitrust Questions

A number of years ago, AALL developed a list of antitrust frequently asked questions, which have been posted on the CRIV website along with the Vendor Relations Policy. In recognition of the need to review the questions, the FAQs have been removed from the website. In the meantime, the AALL Executive Board is moving forward to develop and adopt a full antitrust policy for the community.

For readers who are interested in what other associations state about antitrust, see the American Library Association’s ALA Legal Framework: Twenty Questions (questions 13, 14) and Part 10 of the Special Libraries Association’s 2019 Unit Recommended Practices (page 47).

Up next week — Fair Business Practice for Legal Publishers.


Consistent User Statistics – Not Always Easy to Obtain

A question that comes up for libraries when evaluating whether to renew a digital resource is usage statistics. Libraries want to know if the resource is being used often enough to merit the amount of money that the resource costs. Budgets are not, no surprise, limitless. Libraries must make informed digital collection development decisions. Part of that decision-making process is governed by how much a resource is used by library patrons.

Vendor-supplied data can assist libraries in making informed decisions. However, libraries generally have found it difficult to obtain this electronic data from vendors. If data is provided, it may not be easy to interpret, it may not cover relevant time periods, or it may require special programmed software to retrieve.

In efforts to address this issue, one organization, COUNTER, has created a Code of Practice that vendors and publishers can use to report usage statistics in a consistent way. COUNTER is the acronym for Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources. It is a non-profit organization sustained by fees from its member organizations.

The organization’s vision is simple: “Consistent, credible, and comparable usage data.” Their mission is “to develop and maintain the standard for counting and reporting use of electronic resources. It will ensure that content providers can implement the code of practice efficiently and their library customers and users will receive relevant usage reports in the format they need.”

COUNTER promotes collaboration and dialogue, as well as openness. The COUNTER Code of Practice is an open standard. Membership in COUNTER is open to all libraries, institutional repositories, publishers, and vendors globally.

COUNTER for Libraries includes resources, including Foundation Classes, Friendly Guides, and a Manual for Librarians. The COUNTER Code of Practice for libraries “ensures that librarians are able to compare usage statistics from different vendors, calculate cost-per-use, and make better informed purchasing decisions.”

For publishers and vendors, COUNTER provides a guide to becoming a COUNTER compliant content provider. Paul Meehan, part of the Journal Usage Statistics Portal, offers top tips for COUNTER compliance for vendors, including comments on challenges with compliance. Some notable publishers and vendors who support COUNTER include Springer Nature, Sage Publishing, Atmire, HighWire, Wolters Kluwer, Scholarly IQ, IOP Publishing, ABC, JISC, and BPA Worldwide.

While some vendors may resist providing information, whether they lack the sophisticated technology to pull data or fear that low usage statistics may result in losing an account, ultimately an awareness of how often a resource is used can only serve to improve the information being provided and thus the greater likelihood of libraries purchasing the resource because of its enhanced value. COUNTER may be the solution that works for everyone.

Free & Low-Cost Course Materials

At our law library we maintain one print copy of each required textbook for a semester. To meet this service our access services department reviews a list of required textbooks for the coming semester. We check these against what we currently have in our collection and then create a list of textbooks that we need to order to fulfill the remainder of books on the list that we do not have. The number of new books we need to purchase each semester does not change too much, but we have seen the cost of this same number of books creep up over time.

The Education Data Initiative provides eye-opening numbers about how the average cost of textbooks has increased over the years. For example, the article notes that textbook prices increase by 12% with each new edition. Additionally, for a view over time, the cost of textbooks increased by 1,104% between 1977 and 2015. Most professors believe the cost of course materials is a burden to their students. However, not many professors are aware of open educational resources (OER). Both articles provide more statistics and information to boggle the mind, which I will leave to you to further investigate at another time and so I do not totally dampen your day with grim news!

On a more positive note, post conversation with a colleague, I borrowed from and added to a list of free and low-cost course materials she created. With our law faculty currently making decisions for their spring courses, I am sending them a list of free and low-cost materials in hopes it may encourage some of them to consider alternative selections. Below are a few resources I am mentioning to them.

Legal Casebooks & Materials – Casebook Platforms

  • The eLangdell Bookstore. Open-access publishing wing of CALI. Provides free casebooks on many law school topics written by distinguished law school professors and experts.
  • Semaphore Press. Provides a selection of case books on a small but growing number of topics. Digital editions of casebooks are $30, print around $70, depending on the casebook.
  • Open Textbook Library. A curated collection of open textbooks either in use at multiple higher education institutions or “affiliated with a higher education institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.” Some are relisted titles from eLangdell, but others are original titles. Platform allows user reviews that faculty can refer to when considering whether to adopt a textbook.

Individually Published Free & Low-Cost Casebooks

The following is a sampling of casebook titles that are not aggregated on any platform.

Casebook Development Platforms

Faculty and their associated institutions interested in making educational resources (e.g., digital textbooks) available for their students and others can look to publishing platforms that make it easy to create, adapt, and share educational material.

  • Pressbooks. Built on a WordPress framework which simplifies the development of Open Educational Resources (OER) books. Provides a range of textbook design templates and a cover creation tool. Cost is per book, not edition. Includes online hosting and export to PDF or eBook formats.
  • H2O. Developed by Harvard. Platform facilitates creation of casebooks. Authors can import U.S. case law directly into the case casebook and omit text to only the relevant portions. Allows authors to write introductory text or create annotations for each case.

Informing our law faculty about alternatives is essential in addressing the high cost of course materials. We librarians can get that conversation started.

Black Librarians: In Their Own Voice

A couple years ago, Book Riot posted an article by Katisha Smith titled, “13 Pioneering Black Librarians You Oughta Know.” Among others, Smith introduces us to Edward C. Williams, the first Black Librarian, Dorothy B. Porter, the “Dewey Decimal Decolonizer,” Clara Stanton Jones, the first Black President of the American Library Association, Eliza Atkins Gleason, Library Science Trailblazer, and Sadie Peterson Delaney, “Godmother of Bibliotherapy.” Only one of the thirteen librarians we meet is alive today. And that made me wonder — who are some of today’s pioneers? The list below is a result of entering that rabbit hole that is the internet and following one link after another. Obviously, the list is not exhaustive, and it is a bit eclectic. But what these librarians share is a passion for documenting and telling the Black experience, each in their own voice. If you have not yet met them, I’d like to introduce you to them.

In “Chronicling the Black Experience,” Mark Lawton writes about librarians and archivists who collect and tell their own stories. One is Rodney E. Freeman, Jr. who created the Black Male Archives, an online repository to “capture, curate, and promote positive stories about Black men around the world while inspiring and informing younger generations.” The Blackivists are a collective of six trained Black archivists located in Chicago. As part of their goal of prioritizing Black cultural heritage preservation and memory work, they provide training, project management, best practices, and consultation on analog and digital archives upkeep. Makiba Foster is regional manager of the African American Research Library and Cultural Center at Broward County Library in Florida. With archivist and scholar Bergis Jules, she formed Archiving the Black Web. The project “aims to organize efforts to collect and contextualize social media and other internet content that focus on the Black experience.”

The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance and Reawakening is the latest in the series of “The Black Librarian in America” volumes. Edited entirely by Black women — Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Nichelle M. Hayes, Ana Ndumu, and Shaundra Walker — the book addresses issues pertaining to Black librarians’ intersectional identities, capacities, and contributions. The book is available on pre-order with an expected release date on February 18, 2022.

Alma Dawson, in “Celebrating African-American Librarians and Librarianship,” an article published in Library Trends in 2000, celebrates the achievements of African-American librarians and their contributions to librarianship. Dawson identifies and reviews records of scholarship that are intended to serve as starting points for students and scholars. There is a wealth of detailed information including major studies, organizations, and recurring themes in the literature. Take a minute to read her review of demographics at the time of her writing.

Little Known Black Librarian Facts is a blog published by Michele T. Fenton, a cataloger at the Indiana State Library. Since 2011 she has posted about African American librarians and their library services to African Americans. She highlights African American pioneers and the library profession, and the triumphs and struggles in making library services available to African Americans. There also is a long list of her favorite websites and the blogs that she follows — a veritable collection of rabbit holes to fall into and from which you may never return!

Librarians Glenda Alvin and Tahirah Akbar-Williams, members of the African American Studies Librarians Interest Group (AASLIG) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) created a LibGuide that focuses on the scholarly research and services associated with identifying, preserving, and disseminating resources for the study of African American history, culture, and life. The LibGuide includes information about databases, websites, digital collections, books, periodicals, museums and cultural centers, and archives related to African American studies. They also highlight the SACO African American Subject Funnel Project, a project concentrated on creating new subject headings and changing/updating of old subject headings relating to the African American experience.

Karla J. Strand, Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, developed a reading list on “Disrupting Whiteness in Libraries and Librarianship.” Most recently updated in June 2021, the extensive bibliography contains citations (and links when available) to resources focused on race, racism, and disrupting whiteness and white supremacy in libraries. Special emphasis is placed on the field of library and information science and librarianship as a profession.

The Rocky Mountain PBS station posted an interview with Janet Damon, library services specialist for Denver Public Schools and who recently received the Rev. Dr. James Peters Humanitarian Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission for her work as a librarian and community organizer. In her position with DPS, Damon provides diversity and equity training for librarians and paraprofessionals within the district’s roughly 200 schools. This includes ensuring libraries have culturally-sustaining collections — or as she states in the interview, “just ensuring that students can see themselves in our libraries and our collections.” Outside of her job, Damon started, with three other Black Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and/or LGBTQ+ librarians, an organization called Afros and Books. In addition to promoting authors from diverse backgrounds and literature to the community, Afros and Books created several sub-groups to promote their work. One is called “Black to Nature Book Club,” which started during the pandemic to help children and families cope with isolation, stress, and anxiety. Damon, upon receiving her award, may have summed up the work Black librarians are doing: “This is my joy. I think it’s important when we feel like we’re walking in our purpose and integrity with what our soul is here to do.”

CRIV / Wolters Kluwer Bi-Annual Call

The winter bi-annual CRIV / Wolters Kluwer call took place on January 14, 2022, at 9:00 a.m., PST. In attendance were:

  • Jenna Ellis, Wolters-Kluwer Liaison
  • Vani Ungapen, AALL Executive Director
  • Michelle Dewey Hook, AALL CRIV Board Liaison
  • Cynthia Condit, AALL CRIV Wolters Kluwer Liaison

Michelle Dewey Hook was introduced as the new CRIV Board Liaison, replacing Karen Selden. CRIV extends its sincere thanks to Karen for her wonderful service as Board Liaison and attendance at these important vendor calls.

Wolters Kluwer Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to CRIV and/or AALL – Jenna Ellis.

VitalLaw — Wolters Kluwer rebranded Cheetah as VitalLaw in November 2021. To help answer questions from customers and ensure a smooth transition, Wolters Kluwer created an FAQ site, which is updated as additional feedback is received from users. The FAQs include answers about how to log in for the first time, the scope of changes, permalinks, MARC records, and authentication (e.g., Federated SSO, DRM tools, and proxy servers).

Comprehensive Training Site — Wolters Kluwer now offers multiple complimentary training options located all in one place. It provides a one-stop shop for videos, quick-start cards, and registration for training sessions. Types of training include:

  • Self-paced Tutorials: Short videos designed as an introduction to basic functionality that helps users get started quickly and improves research or workflow efficiency.
  • Feature Courses: LIVE instructor-led sessions. Designed to highlight trending issues these short and fact paced courses are open to registration from multiple organizations and typically include a Q&A component at the end to ensure users can locate the right answers on these topics fast.
  • Customized Training Courses: Also, LIVE instructor-led sessions. Often hands-on, customized training courses are designed for one or more users from a single firm, company, or organization. Wolters Kluwer Legal Training Consultants and professional training teams customize the session to specific subscription content, research needs, and time frame.

Platforms offering complimentary training include:

  • VitalLaw Training
  • VitalLaw for Corporate Counsel Training
  • Kluwer Arbitration Training
  • Clarion Training (due diligence and client advisement tool).
  • Corporate Counsel Profiler Training
  • Training (cloud-based employment benefit and pension software)
  • RBsourceFilings Training (integrates EDGAR filings, law firm memos, private placements, SEC No-Action letters, SEC comment letters, and includes IPO Vital Signs)
  • Kluwer Intellectual Property Training
  • Kluwer Competition Training
  • ktMINE Training (all-in-one IP analytics)
  • Almanac of the Federal Judiciary Training (judicial profiles)
  • Technical Answer Group Training (ERISA, retirement, and pension planning)

Seamless Integration Solutions Update — Wolters Kluwer provides a short 2-minute updated video on tech solutions it has implemented that allow access to deep domain expertise quickly and efficiently through a more efficient workflow. Practitioners can take advantage of new treatise search solutions, firm sign on authentication that avoids user sign on with ID and password, permanent links to chapters, subchapters, and practical content, access by citation feature, and over 850 customizable title and practice tool widgets.

Direct Email Support – Legal Pro Training Tech Group — If you need tech support, have access issues (e.g., EZproxy, Federated SSO), have questions about a specific training session, or other needs, you can contact the Legal Pro Training Tech Group’s direct email at The mailbox is checked daily.

Requests for Assistance – Cynthia Condit, Jenna Ellis.

Since the last bi-annual call, two requests were received. Jenna responded to the requests and currently no request for assistance are pending.

AALL Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to Wolters Kluwer – Vani Ungapen.

Vani thanked Wolters Kluwer for being an exhibitor at AALL’s annual meeting in 2021.

She provided information about AALL’s upcoming 2022 annual meeting, which will be held in Denver, Colorado July 16-19. Currently, the event is scheduled for in-person attendance. New this year, AALL is working with a conference planner, which will manage both the conference and the exhibit hall event. AALL is working on finalizing sponsorship and will reach out to Wolters Kluwer later this month to further discuss participation.


As there were no other items for discussion, the meeting adjourned at 10:23 a.m.

VitalLaw FAQ

Update: As you all know, Wolters Kluwer introduced VitalLaw, formerly Cheetah, the beginning of November this fall. To help you answer any questions you may receive from your staff and to ensure a smooth transition, Wolters Kluwer has prepared an FAQ for you. Wolters Kluwer will continue to update it as they hear additional feedback from customers.

What’s New in the ALWD 7th Edition?

Recently I sat in on a book talk with Professor Carolyn V. Williams,* the author of the newly released 7th edition of the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation. ALWD, she explained, is designed to complement the Bluebook while also serving as a teaching tool for legal writing instructors and an easy-to-use resource for students and legal practitioners. With that in mind, there were two main goals for the new edition: 1) maintaining conformity with national standards and 2) ease of use.

To maintain conformity, Prof Williams focused on consistency with the Bluebook by keeping the same exact citations. In addition, “call outs” to the Bluebook are incorporated in Appendix 8. The “call outs” note precisely where in the Bluebook a user can find the rule. In some instances, the Bluebook does not address a specific citation point. For example, how does someone cite to an interview — especially an interview conducted on Zoom? Prof Williams created citation rules for this and other technological sources that have not always been thought about or even considered until COVID-19. The section on citing to practice documents was overhauled as e-filing has become the norm, providing guidance, for example, on how to reference electronic case files (ECF) numbering.

Because ALWD is also a teaching tool, Prof Williams researched how students learn so as to create a book that students would find easy to use. She included more visuals and explanations. Diagrams are color coded and “snapshots,” actual pages from a book or document, offer real-world context for students. Charts of abbreviations are included in relevant chapters for quick access. Additionally, favorites, such as the red triangles that indicate spacing were retained, along with Fast Formats, quick reference to citation formats, and the Sidebars, short informational snippets that explain “why” or offer background on a resource. Prof Williams also reviewed guide examples, revising to reflect diversity and inclusion.

New — and cool — to this edition is the online availability of two appendices. Appendix 2, Local Court Citation Rules and Appendix 5, Periodicals and Looseleaf Services are free to access at the Wolters Kluwer website (scroll and click on Student Resources): Accessibility to Local Court Citation Rules means students and practitioners who find themselves working in different jurisdictions need only look online to locate relevant local information. In Appendix 5, every imaginable periodical and resource are listed along with its corresponding abbreviation.

Some differences between ALWD and the Bluebook do appear. They are small, but interesting. For example, the Bluebook uses “e-mail.” ALWD dispenses with the hyphen and uses “email.” ALWD changed LEXIS to Lexis. After consulting with many people, including LexisNexis, Prof Williams could not find anyone who capitalized every letter of the word. With the proliferation of databases and variations of commonly used legal databases, ALWD suggests being specific about the database being cited. For example, if the user’s research comes from using Westlaw Classic, state Westlaw Classic (not just Westlaw) in the citation. On the other hand, if the user’s research comes from using Westlaw Edge, state Westlaw Edge in the citation (again, not just Westlaw).

It goes without saying this new edition was a massive undertaking and took a lot of work. Prof Williams had numerous discussions nationwide across states, including time spent talking to practitioners learning what they needed. She also communicated with Bluebook editors, asking questions and even, on occasion, noting an error.

At the end of the book talk, Prof Williams was asked what she learned from the process. Barely skipping a beat, she said: “I learned everyone has an opinion on citations, and they are not afraid to share it.”

*Prof Williams is an Assoc Prof of Legal Writing and Asst Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in Tucson, Arizona.

CRIV / Wolters Kluwer Bi-annual Call

The bi-annual CRIV/Wolters Kluwer call took place on June 21, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. In attendance were:

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

Wolters Kluwers Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to CRIV and/or AALL. Jenna Ellis provided several updates on items of interest.

  • Treatise Search Solution: This solution provides access to Wolters Kluwer Treatise content through a REST-based API framework that allows firms to embed Cheetah’s native research experience within their intranet site resulting in seamless access to expert information from within their own environment and includes an “out of the box” search interface to serve as a reference for implementation by the firm’s IT team.

  • (Federated SSO) Expansion and Simplification of Single Sign-On with Seamless Authentication: This capability makes it possible for law firm users to access Wolters Kluwer content tools and research sites securely without being prompted to enter their credentials via custom links designed to automatically authenticate users based on the firms internal directory.

  • Establishment of Permanent Links: Permanent links to Reporters, primary source content, Treatise titles (including targeted chapters or sub-chapters) plus Practical Content all can be obtained from multiple sources (including directly from the Cheetah platform) and stay consistent even when the underlying content is updated, making them an ideal low-maintenance solution for posting on SharePoint practice and other firm intranet pages.

  • Expansion of Widgets: Wolters Kluwer now offers more than 850 customizable Title and Practice Tool Widgets that provide seamless access to specific content via a simple turn-key integration solution, including Treatises, Reporters, or Practice Tools (such as multi-jurisdiction Smart Charts) that easily can be embedded on a firm’s SharePoint practice or other intranet site. Please see this link for more information about these widgets:

  • Fast-Access-by-Citation Feature: This solution provides users with a simple tool to efficiently find and print or download targeted primary source content and forms directly from their SharePoint practice or other intranet site without being prompted for any credentials.

Requests for Advocacy:

  • There were no requests for advocacy.

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

  • Vani Ungapen thanked Wolters Kluwer for its vendor participation at this year’s Annual Conference.

  • Additionally, CRIV thanked Wolters Kluwer for participating in CRIV’s Vendor Roundtable, which is on accessibility this year. Participating vendors will highlight features and/or services vendors currently provide or might be providing in the future to allow people of different abilities to use their products.


  • The meeting adjourned at approximately 10:40 a.m.

CRIV Bloomberg Bi-Annual Call

Date: December 17, 2020. Approximately 2;00 to 3:00 pm EST


  • Joe Breda, President, Bloomberg Law
  • Lauren Kaplan, BLAW Strategy and Customer Experience
  • Vani Ungapen, AALL Executive Director
  • Karen Selden, AALL CRIV Board Liaison
  • Tom Hemstock, AALL Bloomberg Law Liaison

Note: Due to extenuating circumstances, Mike Bernier, Bloomberg Law Director of Library Relations was not able to make the call but he did provide follow up information.


  • New Bloomberg Law Developments and News
  • Questions
  • Requests for Advocacy
  • Other

New Bloomberg Law Developments and News


2020 was the “Year of the Analyzers” for Bloomberg Law as several new analyzer products launched:

  • Brief Analyzer. Users upload a brief and see integrated points of law, suggested content, connections to the material, and links to practical guidance.
  • Draft Analyzer. Enhanced version launching in January 2021. Features include the ability to break contracts into clauses, link into defined terms, determine if those terms are standard market terms, and compare with thousands of other clauses on file.

Practical Guidance

Bloomberg Law added more than a thousand new practical guidance documents in 2020. These attorney-focused documents provide short practical guidance on new areas of the law with features such as annotated forms, explanations and overviews. In 2020 these items saw 100% increase in use.

Hot Topics

New hot topics on developing legal issues such as COVID-19 are available from the go bar menu. These hot topics highlight and combine available resources on a specific timely legal topic.

Legal News

Bloomberg Law is increasing coverage of usability of legal news. [Note: Following this call, on January 5, 2021, Bloomberg Law announced that ALM material is now available on Bloomberg law.] Additional features on legal news is also available as newsletters and now have table of contents and increased number of subjects for news topics. Personalized news is in beta testing.


Although there was not a specific request for advocacy regarding the change in policy regarding docket usage for law schools, Bloomberg clarified that up to $1500 of individual account docket usage is free of charge.

Bloomberg’s representatives estimated that 99%+ of academic users will not be affected by the new change in docket pricing.

Bloomberg clarified that approximately 50 to 60 individual academic account users were responsible for driving a huge amount of the cost.

Law school accounts can monitor their usage via a port on Bloomberg Law and should contact their representative for details on accessing this information.

Requests for Advocacy

None at this time. All issues currently resolved.

AALL Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to Bloomberg Law

None at this time.

Other Items of Interest

None at this time.

CRIV-Wolters Kluwer Bi-Annual Liaison Call

Conference call took place on Tuesday, December 21, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. PST.  Call adjourned at 10:18 a.m. PST.

Participants were:

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


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

Announcements/Updates: New Practical Content Solution

  • Wolters Kluwer launched a new Practical Content solution this past fall.  Available through your regular Cheetah subscription, the new toolkit provides an intuitive, easy to use Practical Content Dashboard.  As a single point of access to all practical content, the dashboard connects users to more than 20,000 practical content tools and documents.
  • The Dashboard allows filtering by practice area and practical content type so the user can quickly see everything that is available.  The standard Cheetah search functionality applies to the dashboard, as well as each practical content type.  Users will also find the practical content expanded and standardized.
  • The dashboard features SmartCharts, SmartTasks, Guidebooks, AnswerBooks, Decision Trees, Forms, and Calculators, and Checklists.  See screenshots below.

Announcements/Updates: Legislative Tracking Integrated into Cheetah

  • The Federal Developments Knowledge Center (FDKC) has been enhanced with a new range of features and is available on 18 practice area dashboards.
  • FDKC allows users to monitor all newly issued executive actions, proposed bills and rules, enacted laws and final rules in real time across more than 800 agencies and sub-agencies of the federal government.
  • Some specific new features include:
    • Real-time alerts: customizable alerts on legislation, rules, and executive actions.
    • Source documents: FDKC provides quick access to source documents from Congress, the executive branch, and federal agencies.
    • Practice area-specific alerts: users can access synopses, impacts, and next step analyses on legislation, rules, and actions curated by Wolters Kluwer deep domain experts.
  • The FDKC platform allows users to research current laws and regulations and potential legislative changes all in one place.  It is available by separate subscription.

Requests for Advocacy:

  • None at this time; all issues currently resolved.

ALL Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to Wolters Kluwer:

  • Reminder of annual meeting sponsorship opportunity.

Other Items of Interest:

  • None at this time.


CRIV-Wolters Kluwer BiAnnual Call – Spring 2020

The Spring 2020 CRIV-Wolters Kluwer BiAnnual Call took place on Thursday, June 11, at 10:00 a.m. PST.


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



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

  • COVID-19 Resources:
    • Wolters Kluwer provides a public page of COVID-19 Resources and Tools.  The extensive, curated list offers Back to Office agency guidance and legal insights, State Bar Association guidance, white papers, legislation, frequently asked questions, links to third-party resources, and information specific to over ten legal practice areas.
    • Wolters Kluwers also offers free access to its COVID-19 State and Federal Compare Smart Chart.   Users can locate curated state and federal content by topic and jurisdiction in a single resource.  View federal and state laws, regulations, and executive orders organized topically across banking and finance, labor and employment/HR and benefits, health and infectious disease and others along with links to full text, updates, and more.  The Smart Chart is updated three times a week.  See screenshot below.


  • Summer Associate Training:
    • Wolters Kluwer continues to offer Summer Associate Training to law firms functioning in hybrid remote work from home environments.  In addition to offering virtual training sessions, Wolters Kluwer has created over 30 new training videos organized by practice area.  The 2-3 minute videos focus on tasks a new associate might need to perform, such as how to pull up a no-action letter.  Selections of videos may be found here.

Requests for Advocacy

  • Cheetah Platform Update: Wolters Kluwer reports that the Cheetah tax content platform update was completed successfully the end of February 2020.  Potential issues with Cheetah since COVID-19 closure of schools may be the result of employees working outside of the normal access points/IP ranges.

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

  • E-book subscriptions.  Cynthia asked if there were any plans for Wolters Kluwer to provide e-book subscriptions for course reserves this coming fall.  Jenna will follow up on this question, which was not on the original agenda.
  • CRIV Vendor Roundtable.  CRIV invited Wolters Kluwer to participate in the CRIV Vendor Roundtable at AALL’s Virtual Conference on Monday, July 6.  The topic is Vendor Responses to COVID-19 and plans for the future.  Wolters Kluwer is interested in sending someone and will forward names on to Deborah Heller.  Karen advised that some questions may revolve around obtaining e-book reserves for law schools in the fall.
  • AALL Virtual Exhibit Hall.  Vani and Karen encouraged Wolters Kluwer to reconsider participating in AALL’s Virtual Exhibit Hall as a sponsor for this year’s AALL Virtual Conference.  Vani will share screenshots and a page from another virtual exhibit hall with Jenna that illustrates what a virtual exhibit hall looks like and how it functions.  Karen noted that law firms and law schools would benefit from the opportunity to have Wolters Kluwer present at the Exhibit Hall event.  Jenna will share the information and elevate it to the appropriate level.  Vani and Karen expressed appreciation regarding continuing this conversation with Wolters Kluwer.


Ransomware — Stronger Than Ever

Ransomware, the malicious malware that can spread quickly across a computer network, encrypting or otherwise locking down access to data, cost businesses, health organizations, educational institutions, and others millions of dollars in lost revenue and disrupted operations in 2019.

Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

It’s hard to believe that the first ransomware virus was created three decades ago. In 1989, Joseph L. Popp infected 20,000 floppy disks (remember those?) with a virus, which were distributed at a global World Health Organization gathering. Nonetheless, it took another seventeen years before ransomware began to achieve a high level of sophistication.  It wasn’t until 2005 that the first contemporary ransomware programs began to show up. In 2008, Bitcoin’s emergence was a game changer for ransomware cyber criminals by providing a mostly anonymous system of transferring money and making it easy for them to extort their victims.  Since 2011, large scale ransomware attacks have escalated. For a recap of these and other key events and attacks from 2005 through February 2020, see KnowBe4’s timeline.

A lot is written about ransomware. Enter Infographics, one way to obtain a quick and clear visual overview of the current state of ransomware. For example, MalwareFox offers an infographic that outlines the trends and figures for ransomware statistics in 2019.  According to their infographic, desktops were the most infected device (80%), access was gained most often through phishing via email or social media (69%), the major cause of attacks started with careless employees (51%), and 46% of victims did not pay the ransom and instead decrypted on their own or replaced data with backup. The infographic also includes a map that reveals the distribution of ransomware attacks across the world — the U.S. was hit 46% of the time, while other countries or continents were hit less than 10% of the time.

Darwin Laganzon-Pixabay What makes ransomware difficult to deal with is the continuing evolution of new strains of ransomware. If you are interested in learning what the 10 “monstrous ransomware strains that haunted 2019” were, take a look at this infographic from Acronis. Details on each monster strain appears just beyond the infographic. Ryuk, number seven on the list, was responsible for a pervasive attack that halted production at a giant Belgian airplane parts manufacturer for weeks and sent home nearly 1,000 employees on paid leave while the company struggled to restore critical systems frozen by the attack.  The Ryuk virus continues to attack, most recently hitting the Tampa Bay Times in January 2020.

Network file encryption is a type of attack that locks access to files by encrypting them. Vectra AI’s infographic breaks down the victims of this type of attack by industry around the world and in the U.S. The finance and insurance industry is hit hardest in Europe and the Middle East (35%), with the healthcare industry at 18% and energy industry at 17%. Like Europe and the Middle East, in the U.S. the finance and insurance industry is hit hardest at 38%. Education is a close second at 37%, followed by governments at 9%. The infographic also shows where network file encryption has been detected by region.

An infographic from Dropsuite provides additional information on the most targeted industries along with a list of the most notorious attacks since 2013, and the top ransomware infiltration tactics. Interestingly, Dropsuite predicts a five times increase growth of ransomware attacks on hospitals by 2021.

What’s ahead, you ask? According to Comm & Tech Blog’s infographic, ransomware attacks will increase to 1 in every 11 seconds by 2021.  They also predict that 70% of the people who pay ransom will not get their data back. McAfee’s threats prediction infographic describes new directions ransomware attacks will take, including the emergence of cyber criminals merging to create malware-as-a-service families, evasion techniques moving toward the use of AI, and attacks moving to target cloud services. Notable is the prediction of issues presented by voice-controlled digital assistants allowing entry into the home. It looks like ransomware may be coming very close to home. You might want to reconsider buying those smart appliances … or … take charge and learn how to protect your smart home from potential hackers.


Images from Pixabay contributors: Gerd Altmann, madartzgraphics, and Pixaline.

All in One Place – Software & Vendor Trainings

If you have ever thought about how nice it would be if there was a guide that listed multiple different vendors along with a short informative description and links to their how-to tutorials and trainings — all in one place — you are in luck.  The Villanova Law Library has put together a pretty cool LibGuide on “Software & Vendor Trainings” primarily focused on legal research and practice management vendors.

In the LibGuide’s Legal Research section, links to training materials may direct you to help centers, archived/live webinars, videos, FAQs, certification training, and tutorials. Vendors include Bloomberg Law, Westlaw and Practical Law, and Lexis, plus state bar vendors Fastcase and Casemaker, as well as specialty vendor platforms Checkpoint and Wolters Kluwer’s Cheetah.

What might distinguish the Villanova Law Library LibGuide from others is its section on practice management vendors — twelve in total. For students heading out for summer jobs (or new attorneys or those of you teaching law practice management and technology classes), this part of the LibGuide may be particularly useful. There are links to overview videos, setup guides for new users, and special features unique to a particular platform.  Vendors included here are AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, Clio, CoCounselor, CosmoLex, Firm Central, HoudiniESQ, Jarvis Legal, MyCase, Practice Panther, Rocket Matter, Time Matters, and Zola Suite. Whew!

There is also a small section on free presentation software — emaze, Google Slides, Prezi, Trial Director for iPad, and ZohoDocs-Show, and under the Other Resources section, you will find links to CALI lessons and CALI videos.  Definitely a guide that packs a punch and is worth a look.

“The Wall” Litigation Moves Forward, But Slowly

Discussion about the cost of access to documents on PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) — sometimes referred to as “The Wall” — is not a new one.  In the May 2017 issue of The CRIV Sheet, an article described the background of the availability of court documents, the evolution of PACER, and a group of four lawsuits filed against PACER at the time.

Recently, The Goodson Blogson posted an update on this ongoing litigation focusing on one of these law suits, a class-action led by three consumer protection groups: the National Veterans Legal Service Program, the National Consumer Law Center, and the Alliance for Justice.  A New York Times article on the case, states that the complaint “highlighted practices of overcharging or double-charging individual users, and also challenged the judiciary’s practice of using excess PACER income for costs unrelated to the maintenance of the court record system.”  More specifically, according to a Minnesota Law Review article, at the center of this class action suit was a phrase in the E-Government Act of 2002 that states courts may impose fees “only to the extent necessary” to make public records available.

Last year, federal District Court judge for the District of Columbia Ellen Segal Huvelle ruled in favor of the plaintiff consumer groups, accepting the challengers basic theory. The case is now on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and, perhaps predictably, there has been a flurry of supporting Amicus Curiae briefs.

AALL, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association, Cato Institute, and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, presented an amicus brief supporting the idea that the First Amendment guarantees the public a right of access to judicial records through PACER.  

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 27 Media Organizations has filed a brief in support, stating the “policy is bad for democracy” and that “news outlets across the country face leaner budgets” and the budgetary challenges are especially hard on “independent journalists and community news media companies.”

Another supporting brief was filed by former Senator Joe Lieberman, one of the original sponsors of the E-Government Act of 2002.  Senator Lieberman, in his brief, claims Congress meant for fees to cover costs “only to the extent necessary” and that allowing the government to charge fees higher than costs necessary is “at odds with the text, history, and purpose of the E-Government Act of 2002.” (see pgs. 2-3)

In addition, the ABA Journal in an update on the litigation, mentions seven retired federal judges who have filed a supporting brief, including former Circuit Court Judges Richard Posner and Shira Scheindlin.  The judge’s amicus brief calls on the court to allow the information to be accessed for free, arguing. among other things, that it would increase judicial transparency and the legitimacy of the courts.

Oral arguments took place last week on February 3, 2020.  You can listen to arguments at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit oral argument website, appeal number 2019-1081.  A Bloomberg Law article summarizing the oral argument states the “judges appear[ed] to reject [the] government’s broad reading of the statute” and “focused on merits, not government’s jurisdiction argument.”

Post updated: 2/10/2020

Additional Update — Wolters Kluwer Cheetah

Wolters Kluwer has provided an additional update and clarification to the CRIV blog post of February 4, 2020 on the Cheetah platform regarding missing content.  From Wolters Kluwer:

As of August 2017, Wolters Kluwer has added all of its trusted legal content onto the Cheetah legal research platform. At AALL 2018, Wolters Kluwer announced that all of its law firm and corporate customers would be migrated from Intelliconnect to the Cheetah platform by the end of the year as their contracts came up for renewal.

Academic customers were provided with additional time to make the transition from Intelliconnect to Cheetah. Even today, some law school libraries still have dual access to their subscribed content on both Intelliconnect and Cheetah as the continue to make the transition.

If you are an Academic customer who has not yet transitioned to Cheetah and would like to discuss your transition plan with Wolters Kluwer, you may contact Sean Hearon, Academic Sales Lead, at 

If you are already a Cheetah customer and have questions about your account, you can contact Wolters Kluwer at 1-800-955-5217 or email: