Are you being served?

I’ve been asked – and I ask you as I have some difficulty with the question: What are law firms’ needs when it comes to legal publishing? And to what extent are those needs being met by the legal publishing companies?

My difficulties with the question are twofold. Firstly, who and what are “legal publishing companies”? 15 years ago this was an easy one to answer, but now they range from the two giants to the smallest new web startup. We would automatically class LexisNexis and Thomson/Westlaw as “legal publishing” companies, but they are are more than that, with diverse portfolios of products for the legal profession; and at the other end of the scale, is every small player with a useful law-related web service a “legal publisher”?

My second problem is that law firms’ needs range from the requirements of the top 100 who largely dictate the strategic direction of the big two publishers, through to those of the sole practitioner who increasingly rely on free and low cost web services.

So I rather think I will have to limit myself to trying to answer the question, are your legal information needs being met? and to posing some more specific questions: Are you getting the legal information you need the way you want it and at an affordable price? Where are the (larger/trad) legal information publishers going wrong? What type of (smaller/new) services do you find more relevant to your needs? To what extent do you now rely on free legal information?

Answers please!

3 thoughts on “Are you being served?

  1. As an information supplier myself ( I tend to get my raw information from free sources, such as case law (BAILLI) and statute (Statute Law Database). I learn of new deveopments via free email alerting services and, more recently, updates via twitter. The only services I subscribe to myself are Lawindexpro and Shelter Legal (to check things mainly).

    Since subscribing to twitter I have found it increasingly useful, for example finding out about the launch of (and more importantly where to download) a new report on the PRS from the Communities and Local Government alerts service, and this blog item!

  2. Working in a small government library (which is open to the public), we tend to favour free over licensed content. This allows us to run inexpensively, but it also reduces the likelihood of a license violation when trying to help a member of the public find information.

    I will still pay for good-quality legal analysis, but I find that our newsletters are being replaced by blogs. Consequently, our print budget is going into paying for textbooks.

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