Can LexisNexis pivot with changing technology?
LegalTech 2013: Old habits die hard, but die they do

UPDATED: Lexis’ new tool is innovative, but for whom?

 

Stacked3This week's Daily Record column is entitled "Lexis’ new tool is innovative, but for whom??"

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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UPDATE: A LexisNexis representative has advised me that there was some confusion regarding the information I originally received regarding pricing and that MedMal Navigator is indeed available as a stand-alone product. In that case, as I discuss below, offering it as a stand-alone product certainly makes it a more appealing offering for medical malpractice attorneys.

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In last week’s column I promised to review an interesting new offering from Lexis, the Lexis Advance MedMal Navigator  (www.lexisnexis.com/en-us/products/lexis-advance-medmal-navigator.page). You may recall that I learned about this new software product earlier this month when I attended the Lexis Influencers’ Summit in New York City, compliments of Lexis.

Lexis describes the MedMal Navigator as follows: “Lexis Advance MedMal NavigatorSM is a new interactive, all-in-one medical malpractice dashboard tool designed to help medical malpractice attorneys formulate the appropriate on-point strategy for their case more efficiently and cost-effectively. The Lexis Advance MedMal Navigator feature combines medical and legal research content with a user’s case facts so that attorneys can quickly assess the value of a case, understand the medical issues and standard of care, identify expert witnesses, and access relevant medical and legal content — all in one place.”

Of all the new Lexis products discussed at the summit, I found this one to be the most intriguing. First, because it offers medical malpractice lawyers uniquely tailored access to Lexis’ vast amounts of content. And second, because of the built-in assisted legal research dashboard.

This interactive tool walks lawyers through the process of analyzing the applicable standard of care, aids in assessing case values, and helps lawyers locate similar verdicts and settlements.

When I saw a demo of it in action, I was very impressed. It’s chock full of relevant information, all of which is easily accessible in one convenient place.

My first impression of it is that it has the potential to be a very valuable tool. But for whom? That was the question I repeatedly asked myself as I thought about this new product. Who’s going to be willing to pay for it?

Well, according to Lexis, it’s only available to Lexis Advance subscribers: “Lexis Advance MedMal Navigator is offered to Lexis Advance customers via subscription and can be accessed under the Lexis Advance MedMal Navigator tab. We will be offering various product packages, based on the litigator’s needs and the existing content subscription on Lexis Advance.”

So that limits it to those willing to fork over cash to use Lexis’ legal research platform. And, as I discussed last week, for newer solo and small firm lawyers practicing law in a depressed economy, free and lower cost legal research options, such as Google Scholar and Fastcase, are becoming increasingly appealing these days. So for many of these lawyers, Lexis Advance is out of the question and thus, under the current pricing scheme, so too is the MedMal Navigator.

But they’re not the only possible customers. What of the already existing boutique medical malpractice plaintiffs firms? One of my parents' friends is just such a lawyer — he’s had a very successful personal injury practice for decades now and is known as “go to” guy in town for medical malpractice cases.

I imagined asking him if MedMal Navigator would interest him and could already foresee his response: “Why would I need expensive software like this? I’ve been doing this forever. I know the legal issues like the back of my hand and I’ve already got a Rolodex full of experts.” So, count him — and most well-established firms like his — out.

That leaves mid-sized and large firms. As we all know, most large firms view their litigation departments as low rung, necessary evils — especially when it comes to consumer, as opposed to commercial, litigation matters. But even so, these firms have the money to spend — for now — and might be willing to pay for this tool, assuming the firm even permits its attorneys to handle such lowly matters as medical malpractice cases.

Which leaves us with the mid-sized firms — many of which are struggling to stay afloat these days, between the economy and the rapidly changing legal marketplace — a marketplace ripe with competition from boutique firms, solos and do-it-yourself sites such as Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom.

So while it’s possible that those mid-sized firms already using Lexis for legal research might consider paying a bit more to add the MedMal Navigator to their arsenal, that will only happen if their senior litigators aren’t old school like my parents' friend. Otherwise, they likely won’t think it’s worth it.

So, I’m not entirely clear on who will actually pay to use the MedMal Navigator. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the chips fall. Will there be a market for this innovative and undoubtedly useful product as it stands? Will Lexis consider selling it as a stand-alone product at a price point that might be more appealing to mid-sized and smaller boutique firms? Or will it just die out as a failed attempt at innovation?

Only time will tell.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, an intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform for the modern law firm. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at niki@mycase.com.