The 2022 AALL Annual Meeting & Conference was held in Denver, Colorado from July 16-19th. This event brought together collaborators from across the legal information profession. John Wiora, Brett Schoell, and Jake Sweeney represented ktMINE and have provided their takeaways.
Can’t Afford a Consultant? Go Inhouse instead
This presentation walked through a real-life case study performed by Baker Hostetler in which they were tasked with evaluating their three biggest databases: LexisNexis, Bloomberg, and Westlaw. The challenge? Convince their leadership team that all three of these very large and expensive databases were worth keeping or find more affordable alternatives.
In order to complete this goal, they set up a task force designed to evaluate all three tools and determine their overall value to the company. Part of the criteria for building the task force was to find the appropriate mix of professionals based on position, time with the firm, trust level, and a host of other factors:
- Who was responsible for the product
- Who was accountable
- Who should be consulted
- Who needed to be informed
The evaluation process included initial surveys, training videos (5-minute videos demoing the value adds of the products in order to manage the time of the attorneys appropriately), guided demos, and a final survey.
They mentioned some pain points associated with the process such as vendors offering packages that did not allow them to customize to their specific needs and new products that come out after the negotiation that are not included in the offer but an attempted upsell.
As part of their presentation to leadership to justify keeping the three tools, they aggregated comments from all levels of the task force to present to the leadership team. Nearly every comment centered around a few key themes:
- “We are comfortable with using a certain product and there would be immense value lost by losing the system or needing to learn a new one”
- “I use each individual product for a specific use case that the other products would not be able to serve properly”
- “Our clients know that our competitors are spending the money on these platforms to properly extract value and in a highly competitive market not having these tools puts us at a distinct disadvantage”
The task force segmented and assigned values to certain elements of the platforms in order to apply the appropriate weight to each item. An important note from the values below is the number placed on the content and confidence over price or new features
- Content – 3.9
- Trustworthy – 3.8
- Design – 3.6
- Ease of use/Comfort – 3.2
- Cost – 3.0
- Feature – 2.6
An interesting activity they did was to set up chat rooms at specific times so the vendors would be available to the team to drop in and ask questions to ensure everything needed was understood. The final important item they discussed was the value that they claimed to have gotten from understanding the Product Roadmap. They said the vendors all provided their future roadmap to demonstrate where their product was headed. As part of this, the task force provided feedback to the vendor to discuss what they would personally prefer or need.
California Supreme Court Chief Justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, spoke about her experience with expanding the justice system. She talked about how 4.3 million people per year go unrepresented in California courts and how the implementation of self-help kiosks through JusticeCorps is helping to combat this problem.
A shocking 92% of civil issues go unrepresented each year. Tani Cantil-Sakauye believes that improving and strengthening partnerships is the most important way to tackle this issue.
When asked how to foster transparency within an organization, she said to emphasize the importance of a proactive approach to media; she has her lead attorney reach out to media members to give them the details that they can give at the time.
One of the final questions that Tani Cantil-Sakauye answered was how to foster collegiality among staff in hyper-partisan times. She talked about the need to avoid thinking in ways that are categorical and the importance of phrasing softly while having respect for others and their beliefs.
API & Data Initiatives
The API & Data Initiatives session was hosted by Erik Adams, Manager of Library Digital Initiatives at Sidley Austin, Pam Noyd, Information Resources Manager at Foley & Lardner, Emily Rushing, Director of Competitive Intelligence at Haynes & Boone, and Keli Whitnell, Senior Experience Database Manager at Troutman Pepper.
The panelists discussed how the Big 4 consulting firms are coming for customers of major law firms as they’re very efficient with data analysis and providing data-driven answers. The Big 4 alone earned $115 Billion in revenue from consulting and tax services last year. With just a small percent of its overall revenues in legal, E&Y could be among the largest law firms in the world.
They discussed a checklist of things to evaluate when looking at API vendors and mentioned the importance of having federated data that can communicate with other data streams.
Thank you AALL for yet another great event – see you next year in Boston!