Changes and Trends


Changes and Trends

Industry Change

  • Law more regulatory
    • More regulations and administrative decisions
    • Federal Register, CFR
  • Proliferation of materials
    • More caselaw, statutes, regulations issued
    • More treatises, law review titles
  • Top publishers branching into new areas:  legal marketing services, court docket information, practice management services, business content, office software
  • After years of acquisitions, some less-profitable divisions beginning to be sold off:  Thomson sale of Thomson Learning (Gale) in 2007, Bar/Bri on the market in 2010 
  • New mergers and products: Bloomberg and BNA
  • Electronic distribution
  • Digitization of historical materials
  • More law books available as ebooks (for iPad, Kindle, smartphones):
  • New publishers
    • Niche subjects
    • Electronic only
    • Concentration on small firms
  • Globalization:  European parent companies, acquisition of companies (publishers and databases) worldwide, growth markets in Germany, UK, China, Russia, Brazil, India

New Sources

  • New commercial and free sources appearing
  • Informal, non-professional sources of information:  e-mail lists, websites, blogs, podcasts, even Twitter
    • AmLaw Tech Survey 2010:  48% of responding firms have blogs, 80% use LinkedIn, 63% use Facebook, 16% use Twitter
  • More legal research sources available on new platforms:  tablets, smart phones 
  • New interfaces for databases that use broad (Google-like) searching, with filtering or narrowing of results : WestlawNext and Lexis Advance
  • Questions arise:
    • Are they complete, authoritative, consistent, reliable?
    • Where does the content come from?
    • Evaluation
      • No need to evaluate old established sources, but must evaluate the new ones
    • See :  Robert C. Berring, Legal Information and the Search for Cognitive Authority, 88 Cal. L. Rev. 1673-1708 (2000) and Michael Whiteman, The Death of Twentieth-Century Authority, 58 UCLA L. Rev. Discourse 27-63 (2010)

New Caselaw Websites

    • New in 2007
    • Archive of Federal Court of Appeals decisions, including the oldest 1st Fed. Reporter series
    • Other information in Bulk  state codes, building codes, archives from FJC
  • Justia
  • Google Scholar caselaw searching
    • New in 2009
    • Search for legal opinions and journals
    • Use Advanced Search to limit by jurisdiction

Industry Trends

  • Vendor-neutral citation
  • Small Internet-only publishers
  • New smaller electronic systems cost less, usually offer less
  • More supplementation
    • Many print publications get annual pocket parts or annual revised volumes, in part to increase revenue
  • Libraries cutting print materials, less essential titles, shopping for less expensive databases and flat rate contracts, negotiating rates with Lexis and Westlaw
    • Trend to smaller physical library space
    • Single preferred vendor contracts with Lexis or Westlaw
    • Increased reliance on online access
    • Smaller budget increases or budget cuts + high supplementation costs = reduced library acquisitions and subscription cuts
  • Library Management Agreements
    • Thomson/West:  multi-year contracts for a single price for all print publications with predictable price increases
    • Contracts to continue print subscriptions locked in
  • More fee-based legal systems, more database vendors
  • More caselaw, statutes, regulations issued
  • More sources, more formats to choose from
  • More publications electronic only
  • Hundreds of legal blog sites with increasing influence


  • Libraries continue to drop print subscriptions for online (or no) access
  • Increases in electronic database pricing
  • Continued sales growth and profits for the Big 4, but not increasing as fast as subscriptions decline
  • Online publishing growth fastest, followed by directories and books
  • E-books for legal research, with access by tablet computers and smartphones 
  • Journals limited growth, more web access
  • Print publications going away?:  Digests, citators, print reporters 
  • Newsletters and looseleafs going electronic only 
  • Cd-rom and other media sales declining
  • Lower costs for some print publications with high supplementation costs, and for some practitioner publications with limited subjects
  • As firms cut print subscriptions and go online only, increases in electronic access costs, more restrictions on use

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