Is there a new ‘evil’ vendor in the law library community?

In the history of law library-vendor relations, Thomson Reuters traditionally has been viewed as “the evil vendor” for its long history of nasty B2B relations with law libraries due to the company’s past aggressive duopolistic business practices. No longer in my opinion. One clear impression I got from reading Feit Consulting’s 2019 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey Summary for Survey Respondents is that LexisNexis is the new evil vendor.

It takes a lot to replace Thomson Reuters for this “honor.”  Despite TR trying to gouge law libraries by attempting to charge as much as a 20% premium for Westlaw Edge and pricing Practical Law too high according to survey respondents, dissatisfaction with the functionality of LexisNexis’ search platform, pricing trends, and new tying tactics is so widespread and passionate among survey respondents that LexisNexis is clearly entrenched as our new evil vendor.

I’m not sure how LexisNexis ended up here.  Perhaps because of –

  • the decline in cost recovery practices for search services along with the reduction in the number of firms that provide both Westlaw and Lexis since 2008;
  • the 2011 not ready for prime time release of Lexis Advance;
  • the nearly annual corporate-wide reorganizations, and executive, managerial and account rep staff replacements (voluntary or not);
  • the perception that the company is now offering a search product inferior to Westlaw Edge (While most Feit survey respondents do not license Westlaw Edge yet a majority of Westlaw respondents say they will within the next 3 years.); and
  • the company’s new tying tactic leverages the popularity of its legal news products in an attempt to prop up Lexis Advance’s install base and revenue stream (And which appears to be backfiring according to the verbatim comments found in the Feit survey.).

My bottom line:  LexisNexis needs a turnaround specialist in its C suite.

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