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The Death of Legal Research on Desktop
The Death of Legal Research on Desktop 570 269 Raymond Blijd
I hear them…these voices all around me…whispering: they will never do legal research on a smartphone, the screen is too small! How can lawyers or any knowledge professional do research on a mobile device? These voices weren’t whispers 2 years ago, they were loud and clear and drove me to write about it. Mobile consumes and desktop creates, no if and’s or but’s. Now several events hopefully will exorcise these faint yet persistent notions and help us embrace our enlightened reality.

Extinction
While Health and especially Finance went full throttle in mobile, driven respectively by pure need and speed, other business markets have been slower to adopt. Yet, this anxious stance does not reflect reality: PC shipments will only be 20.6% of the total market of smart connected devices. Tablets are forecast to overtake PC sales entirely this Christmas. By 2017,total traditional PC devices are expected to drop to 13%, while tablets and smartphones will contribute 16.5% and 70.5% respectively to the overall market. Those that cling towards a PC oriented design strategy will face extinction just as the operating system and software needed to run it.

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Man your Stations!

These whispering spirits are often accompanied by the argument: Legal Professionals are different. Legal professionals spend between 40-50 hours on computers. Yet, they spend only 15 hours (30%) on research. Now here’s my question: if 70% on computers is not spent on research, than what are they doing? I presume emailing, drafting,scheduling or reading the news? I haven’t gotten my hands on studies to confirm this. But if so, do you really need a desktop for those “non research” activities?

Read/Write/Research
The answer is No, emailing doesn’t need desktops anymore and drafting is slowly but surely going mobile. This entertaining post asks lawyers to share their iPad home screen. I wasn’t surprised that a word processing app was pinned to their task bar. I can imagine that formatting in MS Word still is a challenge on any screen but its not impossible. Moreover, at the rate of consumer innovation we are just a few swipes away from full-blown word processing on mobile. That leaves us with just those 15 hours chained to desktops (or laptops). Now, why do these voices persist? Because designing legal research is still a challenge on small screens.

Exorcism 
Legacy that goes all the way back to the shift from print to online has left walls we cannot see beyond. While the consumer tech broke down barriers and completely conquered businesses to the point of being unethical in some cases. Signs of changing times have shown the wait is almost over. In all corners of Wolters Kluwer we are rethinking and redesigning research on any screen size and in all environments.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I started drafting this post in Simplenote while waiting for my car to get repaired. I copied it to the WordPress app to add links and formatting*. Links I saved while reading the web on my tablet and smartphone in Pocket. No desktops were harmed during the making of this post. So I hereby say farewell to my ghosts.
*Due some technical difficulties and app design issues formatting was finalized on desktop, but at least I tried 🙂

When Does A Legal Service Add Value? [Infographic]
When Does A Legal Service Add Value? [Infographic] 614 1024 Raymond Blijd
 Last week the esteemed Washington Post was sold for a fraction of what Facebook paidfor Instagram, and also a fraction of what Yahoo paid for Tumblr. A reminder that the value of this prestigious 135 year old institution of journalistic expertise is in stark contrast to current internet-first content aggregators. That content served up by an extensive community is worth more than when it is provided by a set of hand-picked experts.

When numbers do not add up

As one legal blogger stated: “The logic of economic value has changed forever”. So my question is: what is the value of traditional legal services? When does a product provide value to customers? And how to measure it?

To help answer these questions I delved into the meaning of value and specifically what value is for a consumer of legal services. One simple answer I heard during a lively discussion on the subject of new versus old legal business models: Does the product generate more value for the consumer that it cost to acquire it? To find out I took two low-end and two high-end legal service examples which many see as a disruption to the establishment and analyzed their value.

Apples & Oranges

For this exercise I looked at four services which by the very nature of their a product make them different:

Legalzoom & Rocket Lawyer

It’s reported that Legalzoom would be #163 on the AmLaw 200 based on its generated revenue. Similar to Rocket Lawyer, its end product is legal documents, which are supplied by a community of legal professionals. Both provide a platform for the legal community to interact with consumers to provide legal services. You may read more here on both their effects as branded networks.

Axiom Law & Legal Force

Axiom has been characterized as a project , a mysterious animal in the legal market which is pondering its own IPO. With a complex set of services it accommodates both small and large deals. Based on its revenue I assume its ranking would be similar to Legalzoom. LegalForce also seems a fairy tale that doesn’t fit the legal market reality. They claim to have filed more trademarks than any other entity in the world and add clients at a blistering pace. Besides their two impressive legal search engines LegalForce recently designed a unique kind of retail stores to augment their online service.

The Quadrant of Value

Based on the services above I distilled 4 elements which seemed essential to their success and looked at the amount available in each:

  • expertise: the amount of legal knowledge capital captured within the service;

  • discovery: the way the knowledge capital is made available in analog (e.g. books) or digital (search portals, workflow etc) format;

  • technology: dependence of these services on technology such as cloud, algorithms etc to augment the knowledge capital;

  • community: the size of the community engaged to increase the knowledge capital.

Specific numbers would in any case still make it arbitrary exploration so I used my honest judgement weighing each element per service based on reviews, comments and articles I could gather.

For example a book on a specific legal subject would be heavy on expertise but light on discovery due to lack of more advance discovery mechanisms that go beyond the table of contents or index. While a workflow tool might hide the expertise with technology and hamper simple browsing of it. In exchange, a workflow or automation tool would deliver a more consistent but maybe less personalized end result.

So the goal of this exercise is to visualize how traditional legal services stack up against technology first legal services (and give me an excuse to dabble with infographics).

My lesson from this exercise is that a lot of expertise without technology (e.g. book) might have less value than a technology first service (workflow tool). Then again, a workflow or automation tool may have too much technology going for it to expose the expertise which is still valuable in solving unique cases. I also suspect that services like Axiom Law use technology to continuously calibrate their elements based on what’s needed to help their clients. Thus making it more valuable. Finally, the size of the engaged community will boost value of a service exponentially as opposed to a limited set of experts (Washington Post effect).

Adrift

Many lawyers find themselves adrift in this market, in search of a purpose: What value do we provide? Legal services shift from lawyer to non-lawyer providers supported by the changing mindsets about the value of legal products. In turn these new legal service providers invest heavily in technology. Their organizational structure is also very different from traditional law firms. Although under regulation these parties are not allowed to dispense formal legal counsel, they seem to grasp a large portion of the work.

Traditional services would benefit greatly by boosting their technology expertise. Not only because it is required by the industry and clients demand it*. Not even because workflow tools and other software aids increase efficiency. Simply because an expertise in technology will boost value for their clients more than the legal expertise. In addition the sale of the Washington Post demonstrated: the value is not always derived from the number of experts on staff or the legacy of the institution but also by leveraging of the crowds with technology.

I believe more models will arise because the industry is still in transition but now is the time to hack instead of attack.

*Note: I read somewhere that a General Counsel requires lawyers to take a technology aptitude test as part of the procurement process. Unfortunately, I lost the article. The fact that I’m losing stuff I will tackle with Monocle.

Value-of-a-Legal-Service

Mission Monocle: Chasing Mona Lisa In An Online Reader
Mission Monocle: Chasing Mona Lisa In An Online Reader 1024 539 Raymond Blijd
Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st. It has been my filter of the internet and a window to the world for over 8 years. It helped me focus in the chaos of content on things that matter to me. I can honestly say it has made me smarter by helping me discover countless artifacts and precious information I would otherwise have never seen. Now my mission is to find a replacement and if I don’t, I will build one. Here’s what I’m looking for.

There are numerous articles deliberating its demise and many more posting alternatives. The decision to stop may be understandable, but it belies the cries of a declining but vocal minority. I must admit that lately Google Reader was just the engine that fed my other apps which have more modern design and features. In a previous post, I explained how to create a personalized newspaper. Now I’m chasing something more ambitious.

1. Is it convenient?
Google Reader was a simple app but what made it special for me is the following:

  • It was the first cloud app enabling me to access it on any PC
  • It was my first mobile app which made me use it daily
  • RSS feeds enabled me to aggregate information from across multiple sites, sources and topics
  • By tagging, I was able to group and filter based on my own interests
  • Not just news but it doubled as a personally curated repository for research

In short, it gave me the freedom to be diverse and to balance work and play.

2. Will it make me smart?
There’s still the attraction of one window for all information, but now I crave more. The speed in which you can cycle through content, the clear presentation and sharing features are delightful. However, I’m looking for a service that will help me easily filter or mute the noise and help me schedule consumption. One that can correctly alert me and integrate with other apps and silos of information. It doesn’t need to have an elaborate feature set but must strive to eliminate copy-paste or window switching. It should be able to gauge what I know and most likely what I want to know and, therefore, find, filter and organize that what I need to know.

3. Is it Mona Lisa?
There is a wide variety of services which are capable replacements. I have gone through some established names and encounter a few unusual suspects. Most differentiate on design and presentation, some even have a few neat tricks, but I haven’t found my “Mona Lisa”.

I lifted this quote from a video ( (32 min. mark) of Roger McNamee (Elevation Partners and Facebook investor): “.. content protection would be similar to that of the Mona Lisa …It’s hard to paint something like the Mona Lisa…”. I believe this rule also applies to any product or service that aims for loyalty or retention.

Leonardo Da Vinci drew 750 anatomy sketches, but only one resulted in the Vitruvian Man. Below is my first sketch and according to innovation scholars I have 3000 to go.

Pirates & Spoilers: What I Learned From The Film And Music Industry
Pirates & Spoilers: What I Learned From The Film And Music Industry 1024 640 Raymond Blijd
I’m watching a series of short interviews from a recently held conference by the music industry. Seeing our future challenges unfold in real time I imagined our industry to rise above and leap ahead. I observed the similarities such as our deep passion and optimism we feel in our pursuits. So while old media (Books, CD’s, DVD’s) fades to black, new media companies are lighting up the skies. What have I learned?

 

piratebay2

Don’t Sue but Seduce

Over 10 million people in the US and UK have stopped buying music altogether. So not even visiting concerts or migrated to subscription models according to Mark Mulligan (Midia Consulting). The main reason, he points out, is that these previous customers quite frankly are bored with the current music experience and they would much rather download for free. Strangely enough, research also indicates that music piracy is in decline while video piracy is increasing as presented by researcher Joost Poort from IVIR(my alma mater so irrefutable :-).

Joost also concluded that clinching to existing business models is actually aggravating the problem for especially the movie industry. Mark encourages to not just copy new entrance business models (e.g Spotify or Deezer), but explore new experiences and thus new business models.

My takeaway: Even though the disruptive effects in the traditional B2B publishing is more gradual, I suspect it will endure the same fate. To counteract in the same fashion might not necessarily result in a more positive outcome. So while there’s still time, experimenting with new models early and redefining our position continually will help not hurt.

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Spoiler Alert

Licensing issues are what most point to as a core problem. Copyright regimes based on geographical parameters is at odds with a borderless Internet. It is inhibiting media industries from exploring alternative models and thus new experiences. Yet, within these confines there is still room for maneuvering. There was one particular quote which indirectly made me aware of a possible solution. Joost warned of the possibility of renting a video stream when the same film or TV series might air the next day on TV.

I wondered what would possibly drive someone to indeed proceed with such a purchase. Contrary to music, with videos there is a real danger the experience might get ruined if your surroundings are already aware of the content. Similarly in a business setting, if you are the only one not in “the know”, you run the risk of being “left out”.

My takeaway: While exclusivity will increasingly get harder to enforce and maintain, we still can control speed of delivery. Moreover, for media companies and end users alike: owning the experience will trump owning the content.

Conclusion: As the saying goes “repeating the same mistake twice is not a mistake but a choice”. So is blindly following others down a doomed path. As we ease into a new world we must experiment and learn new things within the confines of our current models but also look beyond. In the end, it is just a matter of figuring out what experiences to choreograph to seduce new and old customers.

 

Skeuomorphism: Will It Make Us Smarter?
Skeuomorphism: Will It Make Us Smarter? 1024 653 Raymond Blijd

Recently Apple has been awarded a patent for the virtual book page turn. Now imagine such an event in the age of the printing press. How would we navigate books or other printed materials? The tools and the methods we used in the physical world are slowly coming to live in the digital world. Skeuomorph design has blazed the path to copy from the physical to the virtual world. Yet, without a better understanding of the real world, will it help or hurt?

Not Flipping
I do not despair the page flip patent. To the contrary, I salute the fact that we will one day seize to use remnants from an inexpedient paper past and replace it with more convenient digital methods. Although we measure the power of a vehicle by horses we do not use their techniques to advance engine technology. So while we slowly transition from tangible to digital with clever tricks that ease our reluctance and broaden our acceptance, we will also surely break with tradition at some stage.

Epiphany
This has triggered my venture to seek out those methods that will likely make us smarter in the future. I’ve looked at the techniques we’ve been using to capture, preserve and reuse information, the things that help us remember, navigate and connect the dots. Not only prepackaged tools such as table of contents or book indexes. But also whatever we create ourselves like highlights, annotations, linking and citing to help us (re)organize information and easily consume it. I’ve sought the deeper meaning of why we need to have these techniques and then…I completely abandon them.

Red Highlight or Blue Highlight?
I could not find a viable way to translate the paper methods we are accustom to using in an efficient manner to a digital screen. I will not substitute the hardship of thumbing through indexes references, going back and forth in pages with the ease of simple search boxes or hyperlinks. Or digitally flipping pages and waiting for each page flip animation while a simple swipe with a continuous scroll that ‘rubber-bands‘ naturally seems a lot more appealing. Even the fundamental purpose of highlights seems a bit archaic if your primary goal is to filter out the contextual noise and focus on a phrase. In my humble opinion, the truth does not lie in any particularly fancy visual design but rather designing the animation of the interaction. In short: the presentation of the animation.

Awards and Rewards
I’ve now embarked on a crazy quest to seek out and find or create the perfect animations and interaction designs for seemingly mundane tasks such as highlighting. I’m not aiming for any awards just for real life applications and usefulness. I belief the secret of our intelligence lies not in the amount of information we can access but rather in the manner we interact with it. What makes us smarter is not what we read but how we understand it and remember it.

Now if you follow the logic of D670,713, see if you can spot the concealed patent in the video below. First correct answer in the comments will be rewarded.


The video is an announcement of a future of digital research and the departure of paper.LegalComplex’s mission to explore different options and challenge the status quo through a belief that digital tools are here to enhance not facsimile our intelligence…everywhere.The path to profit was never a straight line yet it was a well marked road. Now, it’s more a adventurous journey towards an elusive place I call Convenience, where profit resides in a hi-res glass house.

6 Reasons for Building for The Concept Worker
6 Reasons for Building for The Concept Worker 960 540 Raymond Blijd

Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future contains a description of a new age: the Conceptual Age which features the Concept Worker. This is different from what is called a Knowledge Worker, a term introduced by Peter Drucker. Publishers traditionally serve the knowledge workers: people who work primarily with information and those who develop and use knowledge in the workplace. So, if the next wave of customers will be Concept Workers, what tools would they need?

Concept Workers
Concept Workers would hopefully enjoy working with a tool like Concept Zepp (Solving Social and Research Online) which I introduced in an earlier post. It aims to reward researching and sharing information between peers to expose expertise; a personal knowledge management application that will help them advance their knowledge.

building for knowledge worker

6 rules of knowledge management
First, we need to understand what knowledge management is before we can make a tool for it. Unfortunately, there is no industry consensus. One blogger stopped counting knowledge management definitions at 54, after which the blog went offline. As with a lot of complex problems they are often easily solved by explaining them to a 4-year-old. Keeping that in mind, I found this definition in Rules of knowledge management:

How children share – Davenport’s Kindergarten Rationale:

  1. You share with the friends you trust
  2. You share when you’re sure you’ll get something in return
  3. Your toys are more special than anyone else’s
  4. You share when the teacher tells you to until she turns her back
  5. When toys are scarce, there’s less sharing
  6. Once yours get taken, you never share again
Translating this to a concept worker network it might look something like the image below:
Legalcomplex Concept-Workers-Network
In short: we get smarter by reading and enriching content other people have produced. By sharing our own we have the chance to make others benefit equally. But we only share if we’ll get something in return.

 

6 reasons social is important
In essence, knowledge sharing is a fundamental part of being a social human being and a member of society. I’ve gather a few arguments which indicate why ‘social’ is important:

  1. There is a growing awareness among most major players that they must tap into social networks. For instance, Google is reportedly betting the company on GooglePlus and CNN made a sizable investment to acquire technology to incorporate a more personalized experience for its users.
  2. The main impetus is to extract information from the social activity that occurs on such networks and to use that information to make better decisions about search results and other targeted services. From: How Social is Changing the Search Industry
  3. Activity streams in social networks facilitate serendipity and informal learning.
  4. They help flatten organisations and traditionally hierarchical structures.
  5. They inspire an open knowledge sharing culture. From: 5 Reasons Why Activity Streams Will Save You From Information Overload
  6. Corporations like law firms want to create a social platform for better knowledge flow because they are struggling with email filing and knowledge management as a whole. From: What’s New in Legal KM?

6 reasons for building tools for the concept workers
Finally, here are 6 reasons why we should build tools to support concept and knowledge workers:

  1. Knowledge workers understand information as currency. Sharing is a core strategy for success even in a corporate context. This can bring knowledge workers to the commons.
  2. Their worldview is informed by systems thinking or is polyglot. It’s not informed by a single political ideology.
  3. They understand that influence depends on the ability to persuade, and that choice of language is important.
  4. Knowledge workers can become moderate radicals, meaning they believe that fundamental change is needed.
  5. Their identities are not wrapped up in a single belief system so they have options. Courtesy of: The new knowledge worker
  6. And to add my own: They will always look for and find better ways of advancing their knowledge.

So why don’t we give them a special toy to do just that.

Concept Zepp: Solving Personal, Research, and Social
Concept Zepp: Solving Personal, Research, and Social 960 540 Raymond Blijd
“The next big thing needs to be a proactive approach to knowing where data lives and what it means. It needs to include tools to keep data organized and secured regardless of location.” I lifted this quote from 3 Geeks and a Law Blog because it sums up part of Zepp, a concept that I have been thinking about for the past few months.

The Challenges
In some of my previous posts (the LegalComplex Library and it’s precursor post) I looked at the analysis of the current and future environment of knowledge workers. The challenge which many knowledge professional face is that they have a multi-verse of applications and solutions to do research tasks in sequence and within one workflow.

Example: How can one capture web content, annotate, save, organize it for easy retrieval, and share it while preserving context and within this process also be rewarded with a pleasant experience and the ability to showcase your work and expertise? This would ultimately benefit the user through recognition and perhaps more profitable assignments.

The Workflows
Let’s run through this: You’ve discovered an important argument for a copyright case on the web while browsing. You now want to save, annotate, and share it. A browser’s core function is singular in the sense that its main focus is rendering web content. The save, annotate, and share parts are just add-ons.

So one will have to just copy and paste the content and hyperlink (! must not forget) to a word processor. Depending on your tool of choice, you will either have a canon or water pistol in your hands to do the basic saving and annotating. You head over to your email client, hunt down your work via the ‘attach file’ dialog box and send it. It’s now gone and only you and your recipients know what has transpired.

The Solutions
So far we ran through 3 applications (Browser, Word, Email) and I haven’t counted the retrieval part yet. Depending on your set-up you are faced with having these 3 add-on features (Browser History, File Search or Email Search) to do the retention/retrieval or have a fourth application to tie it together.

Some tools might even add a layer of knowledge management but this is most often an afterthought. You could use something like Apple’s Reading List, however, you would still be faced with figuring out the initial integration with your other solutions.

The Social
Most of these applications will not have the goal to help you promote, showcase or profile your work. As indicated in this post on The Next Web (“In Social Media: Doctors, Lawyers, and Financiers, oh my!), ’chances are, when you think “open,” “social,” and “sharing,” your doctor, lawyer, and financial person are probably not at the top of your list…But doctors, lawyers, and financiers are people too.

The above link and this article delve into a paradigm of these heavy regulated industries and why being social is so difficult because of compliance or policy. On our own Solutions, Blog Cathy Betz talked about it here and here for the Drug Industry and Leanne Summers also made a passionate plea for sharing with colleagues.

The sheer number of users on Facebook (700+ mln), Twitter (300+mln) and Google+ , reportedly the fastest growing in history, make the case: it isn’t about traffic, searches, or page views anymore, it’s about users and sharing.

“Social Business” is not about technology, or about “corporate culture.” It is a sociopolitical historical shift that is bigger, broader and much more fascinating.” (Social Business Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does, Neither Does Enterprise 2.0)

“Zepp it”
To sum it up, the core activities to be tied together and simplified are:

  1. Discover (Search, Read, Browse)
  2. Organize (Save, Annotate, Group)
  3. Share
  4. Profile

Copy/pasting, multitasking and app switching has become so ingrained in our daily workflows that we have grown accustomed to it. We tend to forget the frustration and tediousness until we have to do it on a 3.5-inch screen with no keyboard.

So Zepp is first and foremost an acknowledgment that these four essential research activities for any knowledge professional can and must be simplified and…pleasant. The video below demonstrates how Zepp would look like…plus a sneak peek at what’s next, Enjoy!

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Call My Agent: Evolution In Information Retrieval
Call My Agent: Evolution In Information Retrieval 772 457 Raymond Blijd
 It is known by many names: OffspringMagnets, Filters, Bloodhounds  but in theory they can also be called: Agents. My definition: An intelligent application that basically goes and fetches ‘your’ information without you re-entering a query at every instance. Undoubtedly there are other more scientific explanations but for argument’s sake we’ll keep it simple and stick to this one. Now, how can agents make our lives more pleasant?

 

You’ve got Mail!
The first ‘agent’ I used online were email newsletters. If an interesting site had the option to subscribe to an email newsletter it gave me two features in exchange for my email address and exposed preference:

  1. I did not need to visit the site to get the latest information;
  2. By popping up in my inbox, it was a reminder that this source existed.

More advanced email delivery systems gave you more flexibility in delivery times or topics to choose from and the more advanced sites gave you more sources. Yet, not all sites had these options so I moved on.

webtimeline

Blowing the Pipe
With the rise of R.S.S. (Really Simple Syndication) feeds also came more creative features to play with. As with email one could subscribe to a site and use a separate application (RSS Reader) to receive the information. Yahoo Pipes – An interactive feed aggregator and manipulator- gave me the extraordinary ability to, “rewire the web”. For example, one of my favorite pipes was created right after the launch of the first iPhone. It used several online feed sources and persistent searches to scour information on the iPhone. If a site did not provide a feed I could always create one for it by using a web scraper.

While it all started out nicely, information overload crept in really fast. By using services like Postrank to prefilter my feeds based on popularity I was trying to stem the tide. By using trends and suggestions instead of Pipes in Google Reader I was also encouraging serendipity.

Back to Basics
Twitter, Friendfeed ,and Facebook added a new dimension to this overload fire I was fueling. Especially FriendFeed was menacing in its torrent of good information. By piling on filters on feeds I think I’ve managed the problem. My latest darling filter isSummify iPhone app. It summarizes and reduces my Google Reader 78 feeds and Twitter 226 friends to 10 story-links every 8 hours, depending on my settings.

Looking at this from another angle I think I have subconsciously created a personalized newspaper edited by humans and machines alike. Yet, I feel like I’m still missing some things in terms of relevancy, quality, and serendipity. Moreover, in the real world, I’m still pleasantly surprised by learning new stuff from friends and colleagues at the water cooler. It’s also scary to realize that speed will increasingly become more important. The earlier we know something the better prepared we can be and you might even be able to predict the future.

I think the web has evolved enough for us start rekindling this notion of agents. My dream is to have an intelligent agent which can rummage the web and alerts my friends in the real world to provide me with relevant information based on my profile. In real time or at predetermined times based on the substance of the information and the impact on my live and work.

More importantly, I hope that the web and my friends also know that I’m available to share, just ring my agent.

The Dogs of Legal Search: Facts vs Concepts
The Dogs of Legal Search: Facts vs Concepts 1024 640 Raymond Blijd
Legal research has passed the crossroads of print or digital and is heading for the next: facts or concepts. But are search engines getting too “easy” to use? Is the “dumbing down” of legal search engines a real threat to the quality of legal research?

Bloodhounds
As promised in a comment on a previous post, I would delve into the dilemma of simplifying of legal search engines. The question was raised again on the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog , which led me to some very intriguing insights presented in Roberta Shaffer’s key note at the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Vendor Colloquium.

Here are some of the many trends in legal research which she highlighted during her keynote:

  • More complexity in legal issues (opinions longer)
  • More diversity of jurisdiction
  • More cases of “ a first impression”
  • More data-driven evidence
  • More focused on fact as compared to previous centuries – concepts/legal theories
  • Legal academy is more multi-disciplinary as are practitioners (judges?) – bringing to the table different ways of finding, evaluating, exploiting, and employing knowledge
  • Education by “edit” and “isolation”

The reason I’ve picked these statements is that I think they are key in the evolution of legal search engines. Deep analytical research is like finding a crumb and following its trail through the forest. My suggestion is to clear the forest or use a bloodhound. The skill set we needed in the past are evolving but the tools we use aren’t. In short, a logical evolution of legal search engines is trying to distill more facts and less concepts; also because the latter is much harder to achieve by a ‘machine’.

How much will this case cost me?
The European Cartel Digest compiles and summarizes every decision of the European Commission and all case law of the courts on cartels. Unlike most legal print publications its construct is similar to a database. This setup makes it especially suitable for extracting facts in a flexible manner and experimenting with alternate online displays. The ultimate goal is answering factual queries quicker by exposing facts such as: what are the amounts of damages awarded in particular cases? This concept video demonstrates how such a question might get answered faster:

The essential question on everybody’s mind will always be: what’s at stake? In this new age the margin for errors for professionals are far greater simply due to amounts of data available. Let’s not forget that an online legal search in the many repositories is only one way to get answers. But wouldn’t it be nice if it was our first stop for quick answers about the facts of the matter.

 

LegalComplex Library: Concept of a Modern Library
LegalComplex Library: Concept of a Modern Library 1024 458 Raymond Blijd
Awhile back I went on an adventure to uncover the “modern library.” A traditional library is a place the curious roam and discover bundles of meticulously crafted and curated information. Massive wooden bookshelves would instill a sense of awe and ignite a challenge to absorb all hidden wisdom. Then came the Internet and it became a dated notion to pick up a book. The library was effectively replaced by a search engine. LegalComplex Library is an attempt to rekindle this enchantment in a new era.

(Unique) Case

The starting point was looking at a typical ‘modern library’ that a knowledge professional would operate in and the tools they would use to solve a case. Most often they would use an internet connected PC accompanied by installed software to accomplish several tasks. Depending on the subject matter or phase in the research process, the professional would need to switch between several tasks and applications to accomplish their overall goal.

Unique_Case-2

You the Platform

In the above examples, most of the used tools would have been developed with a focus on a specific set of tasks. It required a certain level of skill and knowledge to effectively operate these tools. The reason is that most were not developed with personalization or customizing in mind but rather adding enough features to accommodate the majority of projected uses. In short: they were not built around you but rather the perception of a task you would ultimately be forced to adapt to. The video below is the first in a series and presents the framework and fundamentals to try and change this paradigm.

Time magazine announced in 2006 the person of the year: You. Now let us start building products and services that are suitable for this magnificent person.

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