SALI: Open legal industry standard formally launches

For those of you tracking the advances of the Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry (SALI) Alliance – and that should arguably be all of you – the alliance this week announced that it is releasing the Legal Matter Specification Standard (LMSS) 1.0, Revision 2. Why should you care? The LMSS provides a common language for describing legal matters in a party-neutral, extensible manner. Revision 2 sets the stage for reference implementations and initial use of the standard.

The release includes the publication of an overall structure as well as eight code sets for Area of Law, Courts (U.S. only), Governmental Bodies (U.S. only), Industries, Legal Entities, Locations, Player Roles, and Processes. The LMSS is an open, free standard that is available at “The release of Revision 2 is a major milestone,” said Adam Stock, CIO at Allen Matkins and co-chair of the LMSS Committee. “The public and the legal community can now access the standard and start using it today.”

As with any standard, SALI’s success or failure will depend upon adoption. “This new standard has the potential to bring forward many of legal procurement’s dreams about effectiveness and efficiency,” said Dr Silvia Hodges, CEO of Buying Legal Council, “Clients should quickly adopt the new standard and expect their firms to use it.”

The release follows the recent contribution by Bloomberg Law of several taxonomies to the SALI Alliance.  “Open legal standards like SALI are a critical component of providing transparency and accelerating innovation in the legal marketplace,” said Joe Breda, president of Bloomberg Law. “For this reason, Bloomberg Law is proud to not only serve as a member of SALI but to have contributed some of our proprietary taxonomy to the open standard.” Bloomberg Law has provided taxonomy codes for U.S. Governmental Bodies, U.S. federal statutes and international organizations.”

While much of the focus of SALI is currently in the US, the ambition is for the standard to be global.

“This draft of the standard is the collective work of many people and organizations. Notably, Bloomberg Law and the Free Law Foundation have made major contributions of codes for U.S. Governmental Bodies and U.S. Courts that are used in more than 5 million publicly available documents,” said Toby Brown, SALI Board president.

“The work SALI is doing to establish industry standards on matter types addresses two critical problems facing the legal industry: first our continuing quest for value-orientation and second, extreme inefficiency in the buying and selling of legal services,” said Jae Um, Director of Pricing Strategy at Baker McKenzie.

Any company or organization can become a member at Members can participate in defining the legal services market through regular SALI standard committee meetings.  Membership tiers are offered for clients, law firms, solution providers and other industry stakeholders.  One of the unique benefits of SALI membership is its community for idea exchange: providing the ability for collaboration with stakeholders across the industry.

SALI members include:

Association of Legal Administrators (founding member)

Legal Marketing Association (founding member)

Allen Matkins

Bloomberg Law

Cox Automotive

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP


Greenberg Traurig

Holland & Knight

Honigman LLP

Husch Blackwell



Level 2 Legal Solutions


McKool Smith

Mishcon de Reya

Pepper Hamilton

Perkins Coie


Schulte Roth & Zabel


Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

Wolters Kluwer

Endorsers include:


Buying Legal


Deutsche Bank

Edge International

Foundation Software Group