Review-it: Yelp for Law Libraries

Have you heard of Review-it? Review-it won the 2021 AALL Innovation Showcase in three categories: government, law firm, and law school.

Lindsey Carpino, Legal Content Services Supervisor at BakerHostetler, and Annie Mentkowski, Agency Librarian with the United States Railroad Retirement Board Library, submitted the idea.

As a person who works in collections, I think this product looks fantastic! It is a crowd-sourced review tool that is similar to Yelp. It allows customers to provide anonymous feedback, both positive and negative.

There is an analytics dashboard that allows users to filter by vendor, constituency size (firm size/law school size), legal area (transactional, litigation, or general), or content type (case law, ebook, news/alert services). Users can rate based on satisfaction, customer service, ease of use, and cost.

At some point, the creators foresee having a subscription service add-on where subscribers would also receive quarterly or year-end reports and access to more data. They would also like to add more search and filter features and are hoping to hire a web developer soon to take the website to the next level.

The product is still being beta-tested but Lindsey and Annie plan to officially launch in the spring. Watch for an email!

To learn more, check out the LawSites blog post by Bob Ambrogi.

CRIV/LexisNexis Semiannual Call

Held: December 8, 2021, 12:00 p.m. (Eastern).

In attendance:

  • Carolyn Bach, Sr. Manager, Knowledge & Research and Faculty Programs, LexisNexis
  • Simon Weierman, Sr. Director, Segment Management, LexisNexis
  • Vani Ungapen, Executive Director, AALL
  • Michelle Hook Dewey, AALL Executive Board Liaison to CRIV
  • Ashley Ames Ahlbrand, CRIV Liaison to LexisNexis

This update includes product enhancements released between July and December 2021.

The Lexis+® Experience

  • Improved the search experience on Lexis+ with updates to:
    • Extend the reach of Lexis Answers® to secondary sources
    • Add a new Motion Type filter in briefs, pleadings and motions search results
    • Add support for sorting by TOC order when searching TOC sources
    • Launch the Search Tree for natural language and refine presentation of the Boolean Search Tree
    • Enhance the Search Within Results capability so users can target selected document sections, and add control to include or exclude documents matching the user-provided terms
    • Enhance filtering of Arbitration Decisions by enabling users to filter by a particular arbitrator 
    • Enable the Graphical View of search results (aka Search Term Maps) for an additional nine content types
  • Rolled out multiple enhancements to Shepard’s® Citations Service, including:
    • Shepard’s integration into the Document view for quick access via tabs
    • Shepard’s interactive visualization of the citing decision treatment by jurisdiction or date
    • Additional support for delivery of Shepard’s At Risk indicators with the delivered report
  • Improved upon Brief Analysis through multiple updates, including:
    • Rollout of Judicial Brief Analysis, which enables users to compare up to six documents (three for each side) and receive one comprehensive report of all case law arguments, citations and quotes to help determine accuracy, relevance and argument strength
    • Launch of an integrated Quote Check capability for users to validate that they have quoted primary source materials correctly with the right pin cites for the location of their quotes
    • Integration of expert tips and cases recommended in treatise publications and Practical Guidance through secondary source recommendations
  • Enriched Lexis+ Litigation Analytics coverage through:
    • Addition of new courts from seven new counties in California and Georgia
    • Upgraded existing court coverage to Enhanced level in New York, Florida, Utah, and Wisconsin
    • Updated Practical Guidance interface with a user experience refresh within Lexis+
  • Enhanced the Lexis+ Legal News Hub with smart tabs that customize the experience with user intervention, and added new content sources, including Law360® UK, Law360 Tax Authority, Law360 Employment Authority and Law360 Insurance Authority
  • Launched related secondary source document recommendations based upon the LexisNexis headnote and the case law document the user is viewing
  • Improved the Work Folder experience by enabling users to search within full-text documents saved to folders
  • Enhanced the Negative News feature with LexisNexis Smartindexing Technology™ filters by subject

The Lexis+ and Lexis® Services

  • Extended a multi-year global licensing agreement with The New York Times®, added 300+ publications from Newsbank Inc., and 100+ publications from ProQuest® and the Tribune Content Agency to our news collection
  • Added 1.8M briefs, pleadings, motions, and trial court orders online to expand the leading LexisNexis collection
  • Added new international primary law collections for Syria and Cuba, totaling 27 new countries added in 2021
  • Added Browser Zoom Notification Messages on Lexis and Lexis+ to inform users of the ideal viewing and display experience when utilizing Zoom functions
  • Launched Burton’s Legal Thesaurus on Lexis and Lexis+, giving users access to distillation of  complex legal terms into plain language and offering 14,000 synonyms, legal phrases and associated concepts

Practical Guidance

  • Expanded Market Standards, our solution for analysis of market trends, to include new deals; it now contains more than 37,000 M&A deals, 4,900 employment agreements and 2,700 credit agreements
  • Released Clause filters, enabling users to find on-point clauses more quickly
  • Rolled out new content including:
    • NY Employee Handbook Supplement, a sizable collection of annotated NY and NYC employee handbook policies for attorneys to use when developing handbooks for employers
    • Key estate planning templates for all U.S. states and territories (290 total templates) in Trusts & Estates
    • A new Civil Litigation Brief Writing Fundamentals video in Practical Guidance, enabling users to get up to speed on the essential elements of successful brief writing in a visually engaging and user-friendly format; includes related content links for deeper guidance on motion practice
  • Launched nine new litigation process maps in the Civil Litigation practice area for federal court litigation, including visualizations orienting users to where in the litigation lifecycle their selected phase fits; this resource curates essential content on a litigation phase or subphase, all in one place, and also helps users anticipate and plan for workflow needs further in the litigation process
  • Refreshed the Practical Guidance Author Center to align the look and feel and add new author search functionality, as well as new links to authors’ law firm webpages.

Lexis® Search Advantage

  • Lexis Search Advantage | Litigation—Enhanced the search experience including support for advanced search, configurable pre-search filters and results page, expanded sources when selecting entities, and support for Single Sign On (SSO)
  • Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional—added support for Single Sign On (SSO)
  • Updated the Dockets & Documents page for easier review of recent downloads and dockets in a table format, including more details for each entry
  • Updated the Courts selection menu, enabling users to select their targeted courts more easily
  • Released new courts (California and Illinois) and reactivated dozens of other individual state courts that were temporarily offline due to changes in the state court system

Lex Machina® Capabilities

  • Released the new False Claims Module (October), which provides Legal Analytics for litigation involving the False Claims Act (FCA), as well as related claims under state law; false claims litigation centers on the allegations of fraud against the government by a person or company

Intelligize® Tools and Content

  • Released two new tools for researching Public Companies’ Performance on ESG Issues:
    • A new Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) application that brings together a wide range of ESG-related content for individual companies or peer groups to help companies, advisors and researchers evaluate legal and regulatory risks, devise disclosure strategies and tell their ESG stories effectively to broad audiences
    • A new ESG tab added to the Company Insights offering to help customers (1) streamline ESG disclosure research by paring down complex topics with a simple point and click and (2) drill deeper into graphical representations of trending ESG topics and customize ESG analytics to compare against selected peer companies

MLex® Regulatory Insights

  • Launched new content called “Future Mobility” to follow major regulatory trends impacting the transport industry
  • Added topic tagging that enables more precise search and alert results

CaseMap Cloud Case Analysis Tools

  • Now available in the cloud for user access from anywhere at any time to collaborate, organize, visualize and analyze case facts, issues and documents

Nexis Newsdesk

  • Released a new, modern interface that aligns with the look and feel of Lexis+ and improves the user navigation and search experience
  • Enhanced the Insights display with features especially helpful for business development—pop-ups with details on spikes in coverage, integration of topic and sentiment visualization, summary cards, geo maps revealing global spread and ability to download Insights PDF
  • Enhanced the Saved Content Panel, including the ability to add an article to a search and ability for admins to add and manage groups of users here
  • Enhanced sharing functionality, providing the ability to share multiple newsletters at once and improvements to clipping options
  • Updated Nexis Newsdesk Mobile App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/nexis-newsdesk-mobile/id1567099763
  • Won SIIA CODiE™ Award for best Content Search & Discovery Solution for the fifth consecutive year

Nexis Diligence

  • Released an updated visual design to improve the product’s ease of use and address customer feedback
  • Launched a new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Custom News Search capability

LexisNexis® Dossier

  • Enhanced to offer comprehensive reports on 350+ million public and private companies as a result of integration of CA.com content

New Resources:

{LEGALESE}

LexisNexis, Lexis, Lexis+, Lexis Answers, Shepard’s, CourtLink, CaseMap, Lex Machina, Intelligize and the Knowledge Burst logo are registered trademarks and LexisNexis Smartindexing Technology is a trademark of RELX Inc. Law360 is a registered trademark of Portfolio Media, Inc. Intelligize is a registered trademark of Intelligize, Inc. MLex is a registered trademark of MLex Limited. Other products or services may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Is it an A/B Test?

We recently got an inadvertent peek behind the curtain of the process for evolving legal research database interfaces. Early this fall, working on research exercises for our incoming 1L students, we found ourselves cross-editing each other’s’ instructions for how to run a simple Lexis+ search. Why tell students to click on “content” when the label says “categories”? And why not just tell students the icon for editing looks like a pencil? Thanks to the screen sharing function on Zoom, we discovered we were simultaneously looking at different versions of the same interface, and after polling our colleagues, about half of us were on “team content” and the other on “team categories.” It turns out, we were unknowingly part of an “A/B” interface test:

This kind of testing is a common way for developers to compare two versions of a design and see how these variations change user behavior. Some companies use A/B testing quietly to see if subtle changes in font size, color, position or wording increase visits, clicks, or purchases. We reached out to Lexis, and learned from the product development team that this is standard practice, intended to test variables and improve user experience:

LexisNexis uses online experimentation or A/B testing to improve our products by evaluating potential changes before rolling those changes out to the entire user population.  For Law Schools we take steps to avoid disruptive testing during times of peak usage during the school year to minimize any challenge to your preparation and teaching of legal research with our products.

Bloomberg law also uses beta testing of its interface:

Bloomberg Law occasionally might engage in beta testing where we enlist specific firm/school accounts. We won’t do it with just random individual users, however. Users who participate in beta testing are enlisted by a Client Service Partner or someone from our Bloomberg Law team. Random users are not selected to participate in our testing.

We reached out to Westlaw, but we received no statement about interface testing by the time of this posting.

As a practical matter, the variations we saw were subtle and unlikely to cause confusion, and as of this afternoon, we are all on “team content.” We were never actually asked which term we preferred, so we can assume website metrics showed “content” must have gotten more clicks than “categories.” Legal researchers are constantly watching for and adjusting to changes in research database interfaces, as each new academic year our vendors seem to roll out yet another new menu of changes. Some changes are significant re-developments, while others, like the ones we discovered, are much more nuanced. A word to the wise for all legal instructors for the spring: even if you are not alerted to a major interface change, be sure to double check your screenshots.

‘Tis the Season (to Volunteer)

It being AALL Committee and Award Jury Volunteer season, I thought I’d share a post on reasons you might consider volunteering for CRIV. Earlier this year, I authored a post where I delved into the work CRIV conducts on behalf of the membership. To learn all about us, I’d encourage you to give that post a read (and view our full charge on AALLnet), but as a short recap, CRIV, the Committee on Relations with Information Vendors, seeks to facilitate communication between information vendors and the members of AALL by establishing open, positive relationships. In an effort to achieve these aims, we serve both an advocacy and an education role, primarily through the following activities:

  • Advocacy
    • Requests for Assistance – AALL members are encouraged to submit formal requests for assistance with any information vendor through this form, to assist us with tracking requests and ensuring follow-through.
    • Formal Vendor Liaison Relationships – CRIV has an established liaison relationship with four of the largest legal information vendors: Wolters Kluwer, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg/BNA. Our vendor liaisons engage in semi-annual calls with our contacts at these organizations to discuss ongoing requests for assistance and to hear the latest product updates and developments.
  • Education
    • Vendor Roundtable – Held in conjunction with the AALL Annual Meeting each year, CRIV hosts a Vendor Roundtable at which vendors are invited to discuss a predetermined topic and how their company addresses it. Last year, for example, vendors discussed the tools they use to ensure accessibility in their online products.
    • The CRIV Sheet – This newsletter from CRIV comes out three times a year, containing program highlights and reviews from the Annual Meeting as well as articles on a wide array of vendor and legal information-related topics. (As an aside, while content is largely authored by CRIV members, we encourage outside authors as well. If you are interested in writing for The CRIV Sheet, we are currently accepting articles for our February issue! Copy is due January 12th. If you are interested in writing an article, please email Andrew Christensen, this year’s CRIV Sheet editor.)
    • CRIV Blog – Members of CRIV contribute regular posts to the CRIV blog as well, often highlighting recent news and trends in legal information.

With all that in mind, why might you consider volunteering to serve on CRIV?

Consider volunteering for CRIV if you…

…like being an advocate – If you enjoy the advocacy role of the legal or library profession, CRIV is the committee for you! CRIV is a problem-solving committee that seeks to work on behalf of AALL members to solve problems and answer questions related to legal information vendors.

…want to get to know the vendors on a deeper level – If you are interested in an expanded relationship with legal information vendors, CRIV will offer you that experience. Serving as a vendor liaison, for example, you have the opportunity to engage in semi-annual calls with your assigned vendor, relaying any concerns or questions from the membership and hearing first-hand from the vendor about the latest product updates and enhancements.

…like to write (or want to get started writing) – Between our newsletter and our blog, CRIV members have several opportunities to write throughout the year. Whether you have tons of ideas about legal information or you regularly monitor the latest news from legal information vendors, those topics are right up our alley!

…like all things legal information – Whether at our regular committee meetings, on calls with information vendors, or through programming like our annual Vendor Roundtable, CRIV members are constantly discussing challenges, developments, and trends in legal information.

…are looking to develop new skills or deepen existing ones – Committee work in general is a great place to challenge yourself and try out new skills or areas of librarianship. For example, I had very little one-on-one interaction with vendor reps (outside of our law school’s Lexis/Westlaw/Bloomberg Law reps) prior to joining CRIV, but my outreach and engagement with a variety of vendors has grown significantly in my three-year term on the committee.

…are interested in a (semi-) long-term commitment – CRIV is somewhat unique in that membership on CRIV is a three-year, rather than a one-year commitment. If you have ever felt like you were just starting to get your feet wet on a committee, right as your one-year term expired, CRIV offers you the chance to engage with its work over three years, which allows you to try your hand at different aspects of CRIV involvement over time. Your first year, you might dabble in writing for the blog and The CRIV Sheet. Your second year, you might get involved with the Vendor Roundtable, or step up into a leadership role by serving as the blog coordinator, CRIV Sheet editor, or Vice Chair; by your third year, you might to decide to get to know the vendors better by serving as a vendor liaison (or chairing CRIV!). A longer commitment lets you better see the impact of your work on a committee over time.

The AALL Committee & Award Jury Volunteer form is due December 15th. If you have yet to submit, I hope you’ll consider CRIV. It offers a little bit of everything. And if you have any questions about CRIV activities, feel free to send me an email. Like the work we do, I’m happy to advocate on CRIV’s behalf!

AILALink Immigration Resources

For the 75th anniversary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), it’s a good time to check out AILALink. AILALink has been around for several years and is a go-to database for immigration resources. Readers can access key primary and secondary resources such as Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook; AILA’s Immigration Law Practice and Procedure Manual; the USCIS Policy Manual; Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM); court and agency decisions such as BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) and selected cases from BALCA (Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals), United States Supreme Court and Court of Appeals cases, and AAO (USCIS Administrative Appeals Office) adopted decisions. Content also includes conference handbooks, government manuals, “toolboxes” such as AILA’s Immigration Litigation Toolbox, AILA’s Immigration Practice and Professionalism Toolbox, AILA’s U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Law Toolbox; and many other AILA publications. Click here to see a list of all content included in AILALink.

AILA editors have added notes to selected statutes and regulations, including the Immigration & Nationality Act. This year, AILA editors also started highlighting Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provisions that were altered by a rule which may be subject to a court order prohibiting its implementation.

Users can search using a variety of methods: citation, keywords, and Boolean. Fastcase Premium is included and contains curated immigration content which allows users to update case law.

Libraries can subscribe to selected numbers of users (e.g., 1-3, 4-8, etc.). Unlike individual subscribers, libraries will not have access to features such as bookmarks, folders, notes, and saved searches.

AILA provides a title list for the library catalog and quarterly newsletters highlighting new books that have been added to AILALink. They can also provide usage data indicating dates of use and number of sessions.

And, for libraries looking to add immigration monographs and literature to collections, AILA has provided title lists!

Inflation & CRIV

Recently inflation is in the news (see the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and AP). Rising inflation is a hot economic topic as the prices for many common items soar. Even bacon is 20% more expensive from 2020 to 2021. Bacon!

So, what does this have to do with CRIV?

Well, potentially nothing, but it also might be a useful metric in gauging the reasonability of vendor pricing increases during negotiation of renewals.

The Department of Labor created a Consumer Price Index (CPI) Inflation Calculator available here. This calculator allows you to enter in prices for a particular year and month and see the equivalent in other years & months. The calculator lets users compare prices from 1913 to present. Although the calculator is handily displayed on one screen, there are extensive resources to look behind the curtain available.

For example, $10,000 in November 2016 has the same buying power as $11,459.94 in October 2021. Furthermore, that same $10,000 in November 2006 now has a buying power of $13,726.50 today. Needless to say, this calculator can be a great distraction but it does help provide some context for vendor pricing.

Of course, there are drawbacks to this resource. Notable, it is the Consumer Price Index. It is looking at the buying power of “. . . All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) U.S. city average series for all items, not seasonally adjusted”. Needless to say, there are many categories such as food and gasoline, but legal databases and books are not included.

But don’t worry bacon costs are well documented in the CPI.

Is this background useful when negotiating with vendors? Are law library resources too specialized that a general consumer price index is too disconnected to be useful? Should there be a law library inflation index? Let me know in the comments below.

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.

Resources for Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, which is a time to celebrate the diverse cultures of the indigenous peoples on the United States and for all of us to learn more about these cultures.

As part of Native American Heritage Month, CRIV is highlighting some resources that are helpful for learning more about the legal systems that govern Native Americans. This list is not exhaustive.

  • National Indian Law Library – The National Indian Law Library provides legal information in a variety of ways. They publish the Indian Law Bulletin which provides up to date information legal issues related to Native American from both the Federal Courts and Tribal Courts.  In addition, the NILL provides Research Guides on a variety of Indian Law Topics including Indian Child Welfare, Tribal Enrollment, and Jurisdiction among many other topics. Finally, the NILL provides the Tribal Law Gateway, which provides links to find the primary law of various tribes. The NILL is created and operated by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), an organization that seeks to provide legal assistance to Native American Tribes, Organizations and Individuals.
  • Tribal Court Clearinghouse – the Tribal Court Clearinghouse provides resources at the Tribal, State and Federal levels. The resources provided cover both primary law sources and secondary sources. The site also provides background information and guidance related to subject specific legal issues involving drugs, advocacy for children, and violence against women among many other topics. There are also links out to other useful organizations. The Tribal Court Clearinghouse is a project of the Tribal Law and Policy institute, which is an organization that works to promote Tribal Sovereignty and justice within Native American Communities.
  • Indigenous Peoples of the Americas – HeinOnline’s Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: History, Culture & Law provides is a database that gathers the various resources that HeinOnline has related to Native Americans. This database includes Tribal Codes, Indigenous Treaties, and the Indian Law Reporter, as well as the specific federal resources that cover Native Americans.
  • Native American Law. Westlaw provides access to a limited number of Tribal Codes, and cases. They provide specific State, Federal, and Secondary Sources that deal with Native American Law.

Licensing Privacy Project Webinar on Assessing Contracts Nov. 17 1:00 p.m. Central

Licensing Privacy is a Mellon Foundation grant-funded project based at the University of Illinois, the goal of which is to develop model language that would support libraries in advocating for user privacy when contracting for services and content and enable libraries to hold platforms accountable for their data practices. Their upcoming webinar will present a new tool they have designed, called the Vendor Contract and Policy Rubric, and discuss how libraries can use the rubric to evaluate how well vendor platforms follow library privacy guidelines, standards, and best practices. In addition, the webinar will discuss practical ways to use the rubric to advocate for privacy practices during contract negotiation. Speakers will be Becky Yoose of LDH Consulting Services and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Professor/Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the principal investigator for the grant.

Click here for more information and to register for the webinar (or to receive the recording).

Lexis+ “Legal News Hub” Tracks Headlines, Trends from Law360

In case you missed it (like me, admittedly, until a chat with our academic account rep this week), LexisNexis has recently incorporated a valuable feature to Lexis+: Legal News Hub.

Accessible from the tool and task icons at the left of the Lexis+ homepage, the Legal News Hub provides a continuously updated stream of headlines and content from all of Law360’s topical news areas and Law360 Pulse, the specialized news platform that focuses on the business of law.

It is available to all Lexis+ subscribers, and those who additionally subscribe to the Law360 platforms can view entire articles in either the Legal News Hub or Law360 environments.

The Lexis+ Legal News Hub provides access to:

  • Top Stories: The main page shows headlines and concise summaries for the top 20 recent articles across all Law360 and Law360 Pulse areas.
  • Trending: The Trending section lists the articles currently receiving the most views on Law360 and Law360 Pulse.
  • Practice Areas and Industries: News coverage for all 76 topics, industries, and practice and geographical areas provided by Law360 and Law360 Pulse.
  • Searching: Users may search all Legal News Hub content for the most recent 20 stories that match their search terms.

While the Legal News Hub most clearly enhances the Lexis+ platform for those without access to the Law360 and Law360 Pulse products, all users can benefit from this interface in an age when headlines—and a brief summary to boot—are often enough to stay up to speed on developments across the legal landscape.

For more information, see the LexisNexis website, their July press release, or their short YouTube video introduction to the Legal News Hub.

A screenshot of the Legal News Hub, accessible from the icon at the left of the Lexis+ homepage.

AccessLex Announces New Bar Exam Review Product: Helix

AccessLex Institute, the nonprofit company that focuses on supporting law students and legal education with funding programs and research on academic and bar exam success, announced today it has launched its own bar exam review product called Helix.

The goals in designing the new product were both to offer lower-priced bar review courses and to bring a new approach to bar exam preparation courses, using active learning, gamification, and other engaging and interactive adult learning strategies provided by contemporary learning science research.

The company says it will offer more than 4,000 complimentary Helix course packages to nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-accredited law schools over the coming year. The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) course package costs $1,199 for the July 2022 exam, and it can be purchased now (courses open March 7, 2022). The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) course package is also available now, and it costs $279 for the July 2022 exam. A free “sneak peak” of the Helix product is available. They also sell UBE flash cards for $199 and MBE flash cards for $159.

For all of the above information and more, visit https://www.helixbarreview.org/

CRIV-Thomson Reuters Bi-Annual Liaison Call

Conference call took place on Tuesday June 22, 2021 at 11:00 AM ET.

Participants:

  • Deborah Heller – CRIV Thomson Reuters Liaison
  • Vani Ungapen – AALL Executive Director
  • Karen Selden – AALL CRIV Board Liaison
  • Kim Hurley – Information Management Advisor at Thomson Reuters
  • Rachel Torgerson – Customer Success Strategist at Thomson Reuters
  • Rachel Beithon, Product Developer, Litigation Analytics
  • Zane Wright – Sr. Product Developer
  • Zena Applebaum – Director Professional & Corporate Segments
  • Gia Norris, Director, Product Portfolio Management

Agenda

  • Westlaw Edge Litigation Analytics Enhancements – Damages  
    • Added in November 2020
    • As of March 2021, Damages has been added as an option on litigation analytics
      • Can view monetary damages and attorney fees and costs
      • Monetary Damages include: Compensatory Damages, Interest, Liquidated Damages, Punitive Damages, Settlement & Statutory Damages
      • Attorney Fees & Costs include Litigation Costs & Expenses
    • Analytics added in a new delivery method around the end of February that allows you to get all the tabs together in a customized report.
  • Quick Check Enhancements
    • Improved option to analyze opponent’s work
      • Contrary authority identification
        • Helps researchers quickly find weaknesses in an opponent’s arguments by clearly identifying new cases that are contrary to their arguments
        • Locates cases that may be helpful in arguing against the opponent’s filing and prioritizes them in the results. Within Quick Check, researchers can easily compare procedural information about the analyzed document with details of the recommended cases, and quickly review tags indicating when a recommended case originated from the same type of motion or contains contrary authority.
        • Provides cases that are contrary to what the other party has cited.
      • New citation tags that highlight negative aspects of the opposition case
      • New depth of discussion indicators on what the opponent has focused on in the document
    • Submit to Quick Check
      • When you find a relevant case you can access the filings of the case.
      • Includes case recommendations for each segment of the motion
      • Can filter by headings in a document
      • Added to appellate briefs in Dec. 2020 and now added to trial motions.
  • Reuters News
    • Debuted: Reuters Legal News beta.
      • Previously, Legal news was nested within Business on reuters.com
      • Includes the top legal news stories that are editorially curated at the top of the screen
      • Showcases three Reuters’ legal columnists: Alison Frankel, Jenna Greene and Hassan Kanu
      • Legal Video includes both video and audio materials
      • Latest stories by reference to section pages.
        • Legal Industry is the business of law news page
        • Industry Insight is legal analysis from TR legal focusing on the business of news
      • Includes a section on the Supreme Court
      • Will have special reports
      • All stories are tagged with practice areas and industry
      • “The Daily Docket” newsletter is the Industry Buzz
      • The attorney analysis module focuses on reaching out to the broader legal community
      • Will include links to related documents mentioned in news stories
        • Links to Westlaw will not route you back through OnePass, you will stay on the platform
      • Will allow users to choose the types of materials they see through My View.
  • Customer to Cash updates
    • Continuing the redesign of invoices
      • New West Information Charges Invoice will debut in July 2021
        • Hyperlinks throughout the document
        • Customers with 2+ locations will receive 2 additional summary level reports and a single location report for each location.
        • Details in-plan and out-of-plan charges
        • Clearly shows the total due at the top of the invoice and in other places.
        • Any account suspension would be clearly displayed
        • New payer reports
          • Product summaries for all locations
          • Account totals by location
        • Add in subscription service periods above each product
        • Usage reports have new client level reports with 2 sorting options
          • Client/reference by user by day
          • User by client/reference by day
        • CSV reporting now available
          • Invoice information report
          • Usage report
          • These are optional and the customer must sign-up for these
            • Also only though electronic billing so a customer must be signed-up for that
      • Past due invoices coming in July
        • Simpler format
        • Easier pay now button
        • Enhanced hyperlinks
          • Inform TR that a payment has been sent
          • Set-up autopay
          • Installment plans
        • Attached to notices via PDF
      • When you mail checks, there can be a 10 day delay in updating your account information

Wolters Kluwer Sells Legal Book Business to Private Equity Firm

Wolters Kluwer (WK) announced in a September 27 press release that it has signed a binding agreement with Transom Capital Group (Transom) to sell its legal education business for $88 million in cash. WK reports this move “will allow Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. to further advance its focus on supporting legal professionals with the domain expertise and state-of-the-art solutions that they need.” The legal education business produces student textbooks and digital education materials for law students, and is reportedly profitable with revenues of $33 million in 2020.

So what is Transom? Records show it is a privately held equity company incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Los Angeles. Transom makes mid-market buyout investments in various sectors, and it focuses on “middle management investment opportunities that exhibit great potential.” Transom was founded in 2008, and started out investing in companies that make audio equipment, concert tee-shirts and promotional items. Transom has a broad and eclectic investment profile and its current portfolio includes, among other companies, Cross Pens, Beauty Quest Group, Bravo Sports, Makie audio, and Scantron.

Although holdings such as Bridge Tower Media may show Transom putting a toe in the publishing pool, academic publishing appears to be a new venture. In a 2017 news story reporting the Cross Pens acquisition, Transom was described as having a “hands-on approach that provides operational involvement and support without overwhelming the management team.”[1] This may come as some comfort to the 50 full-time employees currently working for WK Legal & Regulatory. We will all eagerly await what this deal means for our students and our faculty who rely on WK legal textbooks.


[1] 2017, Nov 16. Transom Capital Acquires A.T. Cross Company: Nation’s oldest and largest manufacturer of writing instruments poised for expansion with growth capital. NASDAQ OMX’s News Release Distribution Channel.  

Westlaw partners with Write.law

Westlaw is partnering with Write.law to provide more practical guidance for law students. In recent years, Westlaw has increased the number of products providing practical skills available to law students. These resources are meant to supplement law students’ studies and provide knowledge that will be useful in their careers.  Write.law is a product developed by attorneys and law professors that aims to help practitioners develop their knowledge of the technology related to legal practice.

Westlaw already provides certifications in several areas mostly under the banner of Legal Research. There are Legal Research Certifications for the Foundations of Effective Legal Research, Essential Legal Research and Advanced Legal Research. These certifications are very generalized and focus exclusively on Westlaw resources. In addition, there are advanced options in Litigation Research and Transactional Research. Westlaw provides a Prepare to Practice certification, which is shorter and provides information on starting a Legal Business. The new partnership adds more practical skills certifications to the Westlaw Knowledge Center.

The Westlaw and Write.law partnership provides certifications in the areas of Core Tech, Practice Tech, and Legal Soft Skills. The Core Tech certification trains students in using the Microsoft Office Suite efficiently for their legal careers. This certification provides tools and tricks to prevent time loss related to formatting issues in Microsoft Office products. The Practice Tech certification allows students to learn about the technology that students may use in practice. The information covered is general but does introduce students to the types of technology that they may encounter in practice and how that technology would serve them in practice. The Legal Soft Skills certification provides training in skills needed to successfully build a legal business. The skills taught include brand development, presentation to both supervisors and clients, and advice for working virtually.

What is CRIV?

When I was preparing to write my first CRIV blog post for the semester, it occurred to me that there may be some in our profession who are unfamiliar with CRIV and the work that we do (and others who might not mind a refresher!). So for this post, allow me to (re)introduce you to CRIV.

CRIV is AALL’s Committee on Relations with Information Vendors. You can read our formal Purpose and Charge on the committee’s page on AALLnet, but in a nutshell, our mission through CRIV is to foster and maintain positive, open communication between members of AALL and information vendors. We work toward this in two primary ways: First, we monitor AALL chatter for any complaints related to information vendors, whether those complaints have to do with billing practices (not pricing), resource functionality, or general communication issues. Then, in most cases, we will reach out to a contact within that information vendor’s organization to see whether and how that complaint can be addressed and resolved. We have four formal vendor liaison relationships with Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer. Four of our committee members are designated each year as the CRIV vendor liaison to each of these vendors. You can find this year’s vendor liaisons here. Throughout the year, the liaisons will take any complaints or questions received about these vendors to our designated contacts within their organization for resolution or clarification; and twice a year, the liaisons have a conference call with the vendor to discuss any outstanding issues and learn the latest updates to the vendors’ products and services. As you may have seen, the minutes from these calls are then published here on the CRIV blog and in the next issue of The CRIV Sheet.

Does this mean CRIV only takes questions or complaints regarding those four vendors? No — we are happy to assist in communication with other vendors as well, and certainly have in the past. The best way to seek help from CRIV is by using our Request for Assistance page on AALLnet. This helps us keep a record of inquiries. While you are asked to provide contact information when you submit a RFA (so we can reach you to follow up), when we take your complaint or question to the vendor, we keep it anonymous. If the vendor responds that they need more details, we would only provide them with your permission. Our ultimate goal is to serve as an advocate for AALL members in establishing positive working relationships with information vendors, and as such, keeping your confidence as we share your concerns with the vendor is a priority.

While vendor relations is at the heart (and in the name) of CRIV, another significant service we provide is education, including programming, like our Vendor Roundtable at the AALL Annual Meeting each July; this year’s recording can be viewed here (recording will be available through July 2022). In addition, through the CRIV blog and our thrice-annual newsletter, The CRIV Sheet, we endeavor to keep the membership informed about the latest developments and trends from information vendors. If you have an article idea and would like to write for us, e-mail Andrew Christensen, this year’s CRIV Sheet editor. And if you have an idea for a blog post, reach out to Christy Smith, this year’s blog coordinator.

CRIV is always looking for ways to better serve AALL members. Be on the lookout later this year for a survey from CRIV on this very topic, but in the meantime, if you have questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out! As CRIV’s current chair, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Ashley Ahlbrand, CRIV Chair, aaahlbra@indiana.edu