Nearly five years ago, we did an Elephant Post asking our readers what they think Law Firms would stop using by the Fall of 2016. We thought it would be interesting to review those predictions and see how well we guessed.
Some of them were spot on… some were close… and somewhere way off (or perhaps just slightly ahead of their time.) Let’s tick through the lists and see how close we got.
Westlaw or Lexis
Law firms are already looking at cutting out one of the major legal publishers, and right now, the only real reason that they don’t do it immediately is because there is some resistance (read: one partner doesn’t want to cut the product) and they don’t want to rock the boat at this point. However, having both products is simply not going to be a cost-effective way to run the firm’s research/library operation. There may be that one time when there is a specific product that we can’t access immediately, but firms will see that you just can’t spend that much money to facilitate the one-off products that are needed on a rare occasion.
Note: I actually wrote this before the big Bloomberg/BNA news. It may not take five years to make this happen.
Not Quite: Although there have been a few firms that tested the one-provider method, I think that this prediction didn’t come true in the way that I thought it would. One of the biggest barriers (in my opinion) is that the vendors became very clever in bundling products and providing discounts toward some products if you kept or added additional products. The end result is that it made it much more difficult to jettison a vendor entirely because of the ripple effect that it caused on other (unrelated) products. Of course, there is always the issue of Attorney Preference on vendors, which is also a barrier to going with a single-provider.
Electronic Services Librarian
For the most part, we have acquired online access to most of our looseleaf sources and have ended many of our print looseleaf subscriptions so that we aren’t duplicating purchases. We only continue to subscribe to a few in print (IMHO) because there are a few professors who are used to seeing them in a print format and don’t want to adapt. But it is too expensive to duplicate any purchases, especially when you factor in the staff hours to update them. Plus, our students hate to file.
Somewhat True: Although loose-leaf subs are still around, many have removed these from the collection where they duplicated online subscriptions. There are still a number of very valued, and expensive loose-leaf subscriptions where the items are not available electronically, or the electronic versions are simply not sufficient in the format to replace the loose-leaf versions. I think that we’re looking at an ever decreasing amount of loose-leaf materials over the next decade.
Read the rest of what lawyers & firms weren’t supposed to be using thanks to technology at 3 Geeks and Law Blog.