White Paper “Are All Citator Services Created Equal?”

An interesting recent brief report of Internet For Lawyers is:

Are All Citator Services Created Equal? A Comparison of Google Scholar, Fastcase, Casemaker, LexisNexis, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg
by Carole A. Levitt and Mark Rosch (2012)

Hat tip to the January/February 2013 issue of The Internet Guide for the Legal Researcher Newsletter.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

Selling Others’ Briefs, Illustrated

To better illustrate some of the points made by Paul in his posting Selling others’ Briefs, Bryan L. Jarrett (our former student and now an associate at Jones Day) has given us permission to post two of the charts he created for his paper “Vending Appellate Briefs.”  (To recap, Bryan’s paper surveyed the practices of sixteen state jurisdictions and DC — the ten largest ABA jurisdictions (by membership size) and seven jurisdictions that did not supply copies of appellate briefs to commercial vendors.  The data was gathered in 2010.)

The first table (“Table I: The Ten Largest Jurisdictions”) displays five questions (for the jurisdictions of NY, CA, TX, FL, IL, DC, MA, OH, PA and NJ): do these jurisdictions provide appellate briefs online; do they have an arrangement with a vendor (Westlaw, Lexis) for the distribution of briefs; do these jurisdictions send appellate briefs directly to vendors; is the exchange of briefs quid pro quo; and have any attorneys objected.

The second table (“Table II: Jurisdictions that Do Not Supply Their Briefs to Vendors”) focuses on seven jurisdictions (NV, NH, NM, OK, VT, UT, and WY) and addresses the same questions as in Table I.

Selling others’ briefs

Following up on George’s post “A pair of lawyers . . . sue West and LexisNexis for reproducing their court filings,” I took a second look at a directed research paper a student did for me a couple of years ago on the subject of vending appellate briefs.  The student surveyed 17 jurisdictions — 10 that provide briefs to vendors and 7 that do not.

One of the interesting take-aways from the student’s paper is the wide variety in means by which vendors have obtained briefs.  Some states have made various arrangements with vendors; others refuse to do so.  For a very few states there is a distinct quid pro quo. Past practices will change, though, as the vendors are increasingly just pulling from posted copies; unless a court rules against such a practice it will only accelerate.

California and Pennsylvania, of the surveyed jurisdictions, both have quid pro quo arrangements.  For example, in California, the state Supreme Court used to send copies of the briefs to certain public law libraries but stopped the practice when it made a deal with Court Records Service (later acquired by West Publishing) whereby the court receives microfiche copies in return for providing the briefs.

Massachusetts has what seems like an odd arrangement whereby briefs are scanned once at the Clerk’s Office, then sent to Westlaw, where they are scanned again and later returned.

To write the paper the student called librarians, court clerks, reporters of decisions, and the vendors.  None of the surveyed court staff members reported any attorney dissatisfaction with the practice of providing briefs to the vendors.  And in one state, the Reporter of Decisions speculated that attorneys actually liked “the free advertising.”  And many clerks were surprised that this has become an issue at all since the documents are public records.

Yes, they are public records but that doesn’t mean they are in the public domain.  Yet who wins if a court rules that Westlaw and LexisNexis are infringing authors’ copyright?  My student thinks that the attorney authors are really the only winners (if they receive royalties) and most of them have already received substantial compensation for writing these briefs and all other players (the courts, the public) are losers.   I hope that in the spirit of pro bono most attorneys will continue to make their appellate briefs available to all the world and not press ownership claims (with perhaps some sort of opt-out provision for the rare instances when, for privacy or other sensitive concerns, certain briefs should not be published).   It would also be a better world if LexisNexis and Westlaw could also take responsible pro bono actions here, as suggested by Ed Connor and not profit from the work product of those in the private sector.

Here’s the cite to my student’s paper:  Bryan Jarrett, Vending Appellate Briefs: The practice, its future, and implications if found illegal.   Submitted October 30, 2010.

Abstract:

This paper analyzes the collection and sale of appellate briefs.  It presents the findings of a survey of seventeen jurisdictions.  The paper discusses how Westlaw and LexisNexis access the briefs, whether they have structured mutually beneficial agreements with the courts that provide the briefs, whether attorneys commonly object to the sale of their briefs, the likely future of the industry, and the potential policy implications of a successful legal challenge to the industry’s practices.

A Pair of Lawyers, One from Oklahoma and One from New York, Sue West and LexisNexis for Reproducing Their Court Filings

Oklahoma lawyer Edward L. White and New York lawyer Kenneth Elan sued West Publishing and Reed Elsevier yesterday in the Southern District of New York — White et al v. West Publishing Corporation et al (12-cv-01340-JSR ~ Judge Jed S. Rakoff) — for reproducing their documents in the Westlaw and LexisNexis databases.

See:

Two Lawyers Sue West and LexisNexis for Reproducing Legal Briefs

See also:

Class Action Complaint

For other blog coverage, see:

How Appealing

Volokh Conspiracy

Wall Street Journal Law Blog

The docket sheet as of today is as follows:

U.S. District Court
Southern District of New York (Foley Square)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:12-cv-01340-JSR

 

White et al v. West Publishing Corporation et al

Date Filed:

Feb. 22, 2012

Nature of suit:

820 Copyright

Assigned to:

Judge Jed S. Rakoff

Cause:

17:101 Copyright Infringement

Jurisdiction:

Federal Question

Jury demand:

Plaintiff

Parties and Attorneys

Plaintiff

Edward L. White
on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated

Attorneys and Firms

Gregory A. Blue
Gregory A. Blue, P.C.
405 Lexington Ave., 26th Floor
New York, NY 10174
(646) 351-0006
blue@bluelegal.us
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Raymond A. Bragar
Morgenstern Jacbos & Blue, LLC (NY)
885 Third Avenue
24th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 750-6776
Fax: (212) 750-3128
bragar@bragarwexler.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

 

Plaintiff

Edward L. White, P.C.
on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated

Attorneys and Firms

Gregory A. Blue
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Raymond A. Bragar
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

 

Plaintiff

Kenneth Elan
on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated

Attorneys and Firms

Gregory A. Blue
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Raymond A. Bragar
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

 

Defendant

West Publishing Corporation doing business as: West

Defendant

Reed Elsevier Inc. doing business as: LexisNexis

 

 

Docket Proceedings

 

Filed

#

Docket Text

 

 

 

1

Feb. 22, 2012 

COMPLAINT against Reed Elsevier Inc., West Publishing Corporation. (Filing Fee $ 350.00, Receipt Number 1030502)Document filed by Edward L. White, Edward L. White, P.C., Kenneth Elan.(mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

2

Feb. 22, 2012 

SUMMONS ISSUED as to Reed Elsevier Inc., West Publishing Corporation. (mro) Modified on 2/23/2012 (mro). (Entered: 02/23/2012)

3

Feb. 22, 2012 

Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis is so designated. (mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

4

Feb. 22, 2012 

Case Designated ECF. (mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

5

Feb. 22, 2012 

Mailed notice to Register of Copyrights to report the filing of this action. (mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

6

Feb. 22, 2012 

 

STANDING ORDER IN RE PILOT PROJECT REGARDING CASE MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES FOR COMPLEX CIVIL CASES IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK (See M-10-468 Order filed November 1, 2011). This case is hereby designated for inclusion in the Pilot Project Regarding Case Management Techniques for Complex Civil Cases in the Southern District of New York (the Pilot Project), unless the judge to whom this case is assigned determines otherwise. This case is designated for inclusion in the Pilot Project because it is a class action, an MDL action, or is in one of the following Nature of Suit categories: 160, 245, 315, 355, 365, 385, 410, 830, 840, 850, 893, or 950. The presiding judge in a case that does not otherwise qualify for inclusion in the Pilot Project may nevertheless designate the case for inclusion in the Pilot Project by issuing an order directing that the case be included in the Pilot Project. The description of the Pilot Project, including procedures to be followed, is attached to this Order. (Signed by Judge Loretta A. Preska on 10/31/2011) (mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

 

 

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

LexisNexis Launches “Social Media Visibility”

Online provider of legal research, news and other content LexisNexis, has launched a new service: LexisNexis Social Media Visibility.

According to the press release here, the new service enables solo practitioners and lawyers at smaller law firms to establish a solid, comprehensive, and manageable social media presence.

LexisNexis Social Media Visibility includes creation of an exclusive blog page as well as guidance and assistance in crafting profiles and in generating and posting appropriate content on major social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

Easy Does It: Examining First-Year Law Student Impressions of the Online Resources They Use Most Often

“Easy Does It: Examining First-Year Law Student Impressions of the Online
Resources They Use Most Often” 

LISA D. KINZER, University of Texas at Austin – School of Law

You’ve got what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

It’s a mantra heard in households across the country when kids sit down at the
kitchen table and realize they do not have what they wanted for dinner. A few
weeks ago, I had a “you’ve got what you get” moment as I was looking over data I
had collected from first-year J.D. students at the University of Texas School of
Law.

The data, as it turned out, were not what I wanted. I had asked
students to name the online resource they use most often, and then to answer a
series of brief questions about that resource. I had intended to (1) measure
student use of WestlawNext, and (2) get a sense of what students think of
WestlawNext. But in retrospect I realized I had not accomplished my second goal,
because I had failed to collect any information about WestlawNext from students
who do not use it. It is not particularly useful to hear about a resource from
its fans, without also hearing from individuals who are perhaps not as enamored
with that resource. So I could not use the data to write anything very
interesting about WestlawNext.

However, some of the data patterns that
emerged were so striking that I wanted to share them. I found that, regardless
of whether a student is using Lexis, Westlaw, or WestlawNext, students are
overwhelmingly convinced that their resource is the easiest and the fastest to
use. I also found that students are not nearly as convinced that their resource
returns relevant material or everything they need. In addition, it seems that
students simply do not care near as much about vendor rewards programs as
vendors might have us believe. And finally, to the extent that their legal
research professors have any preference as to what resource students should use,
students are either unaware of that preference or simply unaffected by
it.

In this paper, I review the data that create these patterns, and then
try to sort out what these patterns mean, practically speaking. I will begin
with an overview of my methodology, then review the results of the survey, and
then turn to the implications and possibilities for further research.

 

Source: LSN Legal Education eJournal Vol. 8 No. 41, 07/20/2011

Bloomberg Law’s discounts challenge information suppliers

“Bloomberg Law’s discounts challenge information suppliers” is the headline to a story in today’s Financial Times (p. 19) by Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.

The story quotes Lou Andreozzi, the new head of Bloomberg Law, on the company’s efforts to persuade attorneys to consider at least replacing one of their “Wexis” accounts with Bloomberg Law, since Bloomberg’s flat rate pricing (quoted at $ 450 per attorney) is preferable to the “more expensive and unpredictable sums” charged by the competition.

The story also reports how “Bloomberg has recruited ‘hundreds’ of lawyers to create a citation system, which advises users whether cases are still in use, to rival those owned by Westlaw and Lexisnexis.”

The story quotes analyst David Curie who says that “Bloomberg looked unlikely to make big inroads in the short term, but its ‘deep pockets’ made it a long-term challenger.  ‘The pricing definitely is the most challenging and disruptive thing about it,’ he said, predicting that others may follow its flat fees . . .

The story  includes a sidebar, “Legal services industry continues to expand” which includes this information:

Law firms and corporate legal departments once looked to legal research services for basic case law, newspaper articles and public records.

As such information has become more freely available, companies such as Thomson Reuters’ Westlaw division and Reed Elsevier’s LexisNexis have concentrated to turning their databases into online tools to enhance clients’ productivity.

The sidebar goes on to use Thomson’s acquisition of Pangea3 as an example.

Bloomberg Law’s selling point

According to this story in today’s Wall Street Journal (p. B8):

Bloomberg Hangs New Shingle

Financial-Data Firm Enters Legal Research, Challening Westlaw, LexisNexis

By Russell Adams

From the story:

Bloomberg Law says its selling point is the news and company information and financial data it has pulled from the core terminal product and woven into the legal-research materials. For example, if company X sues company Y for copyright infringement, lawyers representing company X can get more than a copy of the complaint and relevant legal history. They get stock charts, patent histories and corporate filings. In addition, the name of every judge and attorney links to a database that pulls up that person’s school, his or her holdings and boards they served onpotential conflicts and case histories.

“We think we can help both the rainmaker and the junior associate with one, eat-all-you-can, elegant, easy-to-use platform,” said Constantin Cotzias, a 42-year-old former mergers-and-acquisitions attorney from the U.K. tapped by Bloomberg five years ago to build Bloomberg Law.

Citation Process for California Supreme Court Opinions

On the NOCALL list today was an interesting posting from Kerry Shoji, Paralegal/Research Analyst.

Kerry had recently asked questions on the NOCALL list about the citation process for the California Supreme Court.  Kerry then passed the questions along to the experts, Fran Jones, Director of Library Services, California Judicial Center Library and Edward Jessen, Reporter of Decisions.

Below is the text of Kerry’s questions and Mr. Jessen’s responses. [Reproduced with the permission Kerry Shoji and Edward Jessen.]

“How can you find out a California Supreme Court citation on a recently decided case?  I have the LEXIS citation, but I am curious:

1) How the official reporter volume/page number for the citation is assigned?

The California Official Reports publisher assigns volumes and page numbers because it is essentially a byproduct of the print composition process, and deadlines preclude much involvement in this function by the Reporter of Decisions.  But the publisher is contractually required to print opinions in the order received, and there are contractual requirements for the pagination of volumes.

2) How long does it take to go from slip opinion to the bound opinion?

For example, Official Reports advance pamphlet No. 16 will contain all published opinions filed between 5/17/10 and 5/25/10, and will be issued on 6/17/10.  Promptness is regulated by the Official Reports publication contract.*

Citations for opinions in that pamphlet, however, will be available on LexisNexis by approximately June 11.

3) How one can determine the official citation once bound?

Bound volumes, as a general rule, publish about 10 to 12 months after the last pamphlet issues with opinions  for a particular volume.  Citations, however, never change between advance pamphlets and bound volumes, except that superseded opinions (review granted, depublished, or rehearing granted) are omitted.

4) Do all the Westlaw or Lexis electronic references get converted to the official citation once the bound version is issued?

For the California Official Reports, there are several points in the editorial process leading to the final version of opinions in the bound volumes at which this office or the publisher would “convert” a Lexis or Westlaw cite to another California opinion to the Official Reports cite.  The LexisNexis version of that opinion would also then receive the Official Reports cite in place of the Lexis or Westlaw cite.  I cannot speak to what Westlaw would do in this situation because it is not the official version of opinions and we do not control content in the way we do for opinions on LexisNexis.”

*Special note: Peter W. Martin, Cornell Law School, has published in his Access to Law site many of the contracts between State courts and law report publishers, including California (2003).  There is also a great table showing these contracts, too.

Why Ask Why West

I just received a brochure from Lexis for its set of California Reports, and I intend to share it with our advanced legal research class.

From the blurb:

As the official publisher of the California Reports, LexisNexis is part of the court’s publishing process.  LexisNexis editors work closely with the California Reporter of Decisions’ staff to meet all requirements for authenticity, integrity and accuracy.  All opinions are checked, corrected and approved prior to publication in the official advance sheet — and again before the bound volumes are published.  Plus all headnotes and case summaries are approved by the author of the opinion. . . .

A lot of work, to be sure.  And there’s no doubt that West’s efforts are similar.

What’s not similar are the prices for the bound volumes:

LexisNexis:

California Official Reports: Supreme Court Bound Volumes . . . $ 22.30

California Official Reports: Appellate Court Bound Volumes . . . $ 22.30

West (from our latest monthly invoice)

West’s California Reporter . . . $ 195.50