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LexisNexis makes bold declaration – and becomes hostage to fortune?

Fans of Axxia DNA, InterAction and Visualfiles may be amused, confused or just plain bemused by this announcement made by LexisNexis Legal & Professional at the ILTA conference in Las Vegas. The company has launched a Legal Software Bill of Rights which lists 10 rights that attorneys and legal professionals should expect from software designed for the business of law.

Fans of Axxia DNA, InterAction and Visualfiles may be amused, confused or just plain bemused by this announcement made by LexisNexis Legal & Professional at the ILTA conference in Las Vegas. The company has launched a Legal Software Bill of Rights which lists 10 rights that attorneys and legal professionals should expect from software designed for the business of law.

“In some ways this is an indictment of everything that is wrong with the legal technology industry – and a call to action to reboot,” says Michael Lipps, VP & managing director for the LexisNexis Business of Law Software Solutions (BLSS) business. “The legal industry is in the midst of dynamic change and as a community – customers, vendors and pundits – we need to collectively have an open dialogue about what’s working, what isn’t and what needs to change.

“The philosophy behind the Bill of Rights calls for software designed for the business of law to work the way lawyers and legal professionals work – especially in an increasingly mobile and time sensitive world. For example, the same simplicity and elegance we find in consumer technologies – from smart phones to online shopping – should be central to software developed for the legal space. Migration should be easy as well. There should be no question that the customer owns their data – whether it’s stored in the cloud or not. A week-long class should not be a prerequisite for gaining value from a software product.”

LexisNexis adds that it is expressly committed to the legal software industry. Over the course of the last 15 months, LexisNexis has made investments in a “software center of excellence” in Cary, North Carolina, as part of its commitment to this Bill of Rights. The center of excellence brings together the vast depth and breadth of LexisNexis experience in the legal industry and has focused it on core software disciplines including product management, user experience design and customer research, along with traditional software engineering and development.

www. lexisnexis.com/bill-of-rights

 

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COMMENT: Oh, oh, are LexisNexis at risk of holding themselves out as hostages to fortune? This is a bold declaration to make by a company that is currently running several years behind schedule with its Streamline BPM platform. We’ll leave readers to comment on some of the company’s other software development projects.

Turning to some of the 10 rights…

Number (1) surely ignores the fact that if there are to be any gains in productivity and efficiency, software must change the way lawyers work – if lawyers are going to continue working the same way they always have, the may as well save their money and not buy any IT.

Number (5) Well we all know who can see law firms data now – the US government and its intelligence agencies!

Number (8) Ah, the so-called Martini Factor – access to systems “any time, any place, anywhere” – a comment I first heard made by Martin Telfer (the CIO of Baker & McKenzie) at a conference in London in 1997. (Read also Legal Practice in the Digital Age, 1998)

Although the comments surrounding the launch of this Bill of Rights pick up on many of the current memes in legal software thinking – the consumerization of applications’ interfaces, gamification to improve the training process – the document doesn’t look at pricing, which is becoming an increasing pain-point for many law firms in their negotiations with software vendors on SaaS and related cloud services.

 

7 replies on “LexisNexis makes bold declaration – and becomes hostage to fortune?”

And surely item 1 should be:

“Software that works the way my firm expects me to” … Not “I”.
Otherwise LexisNexis will be writing software to herd cats.

We welcome the debate! Hoping to see many more comments here.

Excellent news Frank – I know we tease you but there is a serious argument here and I do hear a lot of law firms complain that some of their IT vendors are “Moustache Petes” who haven’t grown up with them!

11 A true global offering rather than a US centric one (oops there goes the Bill of Rights concept).

Seriously though, a Bill of Rights, SLA, Customer Charter or whatever else the Marketing team come up with is only relevant when a) it is understood who is measuring/policing those rights and b) a statement as to the remediation available when said rights are breached.

Hostage to fortune maybe but also the chance to really go for market.

Critical here is whether LN are just ticking the uber cool marketing buzzwords box.

Perception is going to be everything as is managing expectations. Too much over promising and under delivering and they could become a lame duck with a very big cost base.

The task is huge so only a fool would expect an instant shift but there is a general consciousness as to where technology generally is heading which will help them.

Challenge 1 will be in finding trusted torch bearers to spread their message and convince their market of the validity and actuality of what they are doing.

Challenge 2 is shifting the mind set from enterprise (with it’s big bucks and sales commissions) to SaaS.

And that is before we even get to functionality and usability of the actual tech.

The future of legal tech is less about content and technology and more about trust and relationships.

It’s going to take real nerve. If they get the service delivery expectation wrong then their chance will have gone and they will become damaged from a reputation point of view. Size is less important these days as Borders, HMV, Kodak et al will all testify to. What matters today and in the future is relevance and ease of use.

However if they truly grasp this culturally and by that I mean move when others are still running in circles it could be very interesting.

Remember when Yahoo thought no one would use just one search engine? So Google kept developing. What Google realised was that if people use something, find it easy to use and it works for what they need then the propensity for those people to go seek an alternative is hugely reduced.

So will LN be Google or will they be Yahoo? It’ll be interesting to watch and find out.

Hope that helps.

Jon

Good points Jon, I think LN could be Google, especially when TR seem intent on being Yahoo.

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