US News & World Report has announced that it is creating a new ranking, separate from the overall Best Law Schools, that measures faculty productivity and impact. The intent is to analyze each law school’s scholarly impact based on a number of accepted indicators that measure its faculty’s productivity and impact using citations, publications and other bibliometric measures. U.S. News is collaborating with William S. Hein & Co. Inc. to complete this analysis.
For reactions to this change by law professors, see the links in this post.
In its sixth presidential ranking since 1982, 157 scholars surveyed by the Siena College Research Institute ranked Trump the third worst president of all time after Andrew Johnson (who was impeached) and James Buchanan (whose presidency was followed by the Civil War).
Respondents ranked each of 44 presidents on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) on each of twenty presidential attributes, abilities and accomplishments. Overall rankings were computed by assigning equal weight to each of those twenty categories. Trump ranked last for integrity, intelligence and overall ability. Details here.
Excerpted from the press release:
The Association of Research Libraries has published the ARL Annual Salary Survey 2017–2018 (paywalled), which analyzes salary data for professional staff working in the 123 ARL member libraries during FY 2017–2018. The 2017–2018 data show that Canadian ARL librarians’ salaries kept pace with inflation, but US ARL librarians’ salaries did not. The median salary for professionals in US ARL university libraries in 2017–2018 was $73,357, an increase of 1.1% over the 2016–2017 median salary of $72,560. The US CPI rose 1.7% during the same period. The Canadian CPI rose 1.2%, and median salaries in Canadian university libraries increased from $97,380 (Canadian dollars) to $99,912 (Canadian dollars), a rise of 2.6%.
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.
States are addressing cybersecurity through various initiatives, such as providing more funding for improved security measures, requiring government agencies or businesses to implement specific types of security practices, increasing penalties for computer crimes, addressing threats to critical infrastructure and more. NCSL compiles a 50-state survey of legislation each year. Here is the 2018 survey.
According to the 2018 survey’s introduction at least 35 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico introduced/considered more than 265 bills or resolutions related to cybersecurity. Some of the key areas of legislative activity include:
- Improving government security practices.
- Providing funding for cybersecurity programs and initiatives.
- Restricting public disclosure of sensitive government cybersecurity information.
- Promoting workforce, training, economic development.
At least 22 states have enacted 52 bills so far in 2018
On Dewey B Strategic, Jean O’Grady wants to know what you thought about 2018 legal publishing and tech trends for her new “Hits and Misses” survey. It only takes about 5 minutes to complete and it closes on Jan. 31st. Recommended.
Michael Feit offers some tantalizing preliminary results from Feit Consulting’s 2019 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey. The survey found that 54% of Am Law 200 firms use either Lexis or Westlaw but not both. Firms that have gone sole search provider are more satisfied with the remaining vendor.
In another post, Feit reveals how satisfied firms are with their vendors generally. 70% of firms are moderately/extremely satisfied with Westlaw. Wolters Kluwer scores a 55% moderately/extremely satisfied response, Lexis 32% and Bloomberg 20%. In view of the satisfaction ratings, the preliminary results for firms considering cancellation at the next contract renewal is not surprising. 46% of firms are considering canceling Bloomberg, 33% of firms with Lexis, 14% of firms with Westlaw and 13% of firms with Wolters Kluwer are considering cancellation of those vendor contracts.
As 2019 commences, it looks like Westlaw and Wolters Kluwer are market leaders in their respective search markets — general for Westlaw, and specialist market for Wolters Kluwer. I wonder how much Lexis and Bloomberg’s recent product tying changes have contributed to their dismal performance in Feit Consulting’s 2019 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey.
From Public Attitudes Toward Computer Algorithms (Nov. 16, 2018): “Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults finds that the public is frequently skeptical of these tools when used in various real-life situations. … This skepticism spans several dimensions. At a broad level, 58% of Americans feel that computer programs will always reflect some level of human bias – although 40% think these programs can be designed in a way that is bias-free. And in various contexts, the public worries that these tools might violate privacy, fail to capture the nuance of complex situations, or simply put the people they are evaluating in an unfair situation. Public perceptions of algorithmic decision-making are also often highly contextual. The survey shows that otherwise similar technologies can be viewed with support or suspicion depending on the circumstances or on the tasks they are assigned to do.”
A Tulane University study that found Republicans and Democrats weren’t persuaded to abandon false beliefs about election fraud after reading correct information from fact-checking organizations. What did work? Surprisingly, both sides were most persuaded when the factual information was believed to be from conservative news source Breitbart.
H/T Gary Price’s InfoDocket post.
ATL’s SCOTUS Power Index 2018 rates Supreme Court justices based on the career success of their former clerks with extra weight given for leadership positions in private practice, government and academia. Interesting take on employment outcomes based on SCOTUS training.
According to a Knight Foundation-Gallup survey, Americans believe that 62% of the news they consume on TV, in newspapers, and on the radio is biased. Bias and inaccuracy differed based on the respondents’ political persuasions, particularly with regard to Fox News, Breitbart News, CNN, and MSNBC. For complete survey results, see this Business Insider article. — Joe
According to this Above the Law post, attorneys searching Casetext’s CARA completed their research 24.5 times faster compared to Lexis Advance. Annualized time savings using CARA adds up to between 132 and 210 hours a year. The survey also found that attorneys rated CARA’s results 20.8 percent more relevant than Lexis Advance. Interesting but I would prefer to see a similar study comparing Casetext’s CLARA and Westlaw Edge. — Joe
A new Pew Research Center survey examines whether members of the public can recognize news as factual – something that’s capable of being proved or disproved by objective evidence – or as an opinion that reflects the beliefs and values of whoever expressed it. Survey results include the politically aware, digitally savvy and those more trusting of the news media fare better; Republicans and Democrats both influenced by political appeal of statements.
H/T Gary Price’s InfoDocket post. — Joe
On Above the Law, Casetext CEO Jake Heller reports on research conducted by the company which uncovered that judges have a surprisingly consistent opinion of the work they see from litigators: they believe attorneys miss important cases often, and when they do, it has real consequences in the course of a litigation. Details here. — Joe
According to a recent Pew survey on American democratic values, 55% of Americans now say the Supreme Court should base its rulings on what the Constitution “means in current times,” while 41% say rulings should be based on what it “meant as originally written.” In her FactTank post, Kristen Bialik reports
Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (78%) now say rulings should be based on the Constitution’s meaning in current times, higher than at any previous point on record and up 9 percentage points from 2016 (69%). Just three-in-ten Republicans and Republican leaners now say the same, an 11-point increase from 2016 but little changed from GOP views in the years prior.
About three-quarters of conservative Republicans (77%) continue to say the Supreme Court should base its rulings on the Constitution’s original meaning rather than its meaning in current times (21%). But moderate and liberal Republicans are more divided: 50% favor an interpretation based on the Constitution’s original meaning, compared with 46% who say the court should base its rulings on a current interpretation.
Ideological differences are less pronounced among Democrats. Liberal Democrats (88%) overwhelmingly say the Supreme Court should base its rulings on the Constitution’s meaning in current times, as do a majority (70%) of conservative and moderate Democrats.
For more, go here. — Joe
From the introduction to The Public, the Political System and American Democracy (2018):
[T]here is broad support for making sweeping changes to the political system: 61% say “significant changes” are needed in the fundamental “design and structure” of American government to make it work for current times.
The public sends mixed signals about how the American political system should be changed, and no proposals attract bipartisan support. Yet in views of how many of the specific aspects of the political system are working, both Republicans and Democrats express dissatisfaction.
In general, however, there is a striking mismatch between the public’s goals for American democracy and its views of whether they are being fulfilled. On 23 specific measures assessing democracy, the political system and elections in the United States – each widely regarded by the public as very important – there are only eight on which majorities say the country is doing even somewhat well.
The new survey of the public’s views of democracy and the political system by Pew Research Center was conducted online Jan. 29-Feb. 13 among 4,656 adults. It was supplemented by a survey conducted March 7-14 among 1,466 adults on landlines and cellphones.
H/T to beSpacific. — Joe
CJ Ryan and Brian L. Frye’s “revealed-preferences” ranking is subjective because its purpose is to ask where prospective law students choose to matriculate. In other words, objective rankings tell students what they should want, but the authors’ subjective ranking asks what students actually want. In The 2018 Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools, the authors present a law school ranking based exclusively on the combined scores of the students in a school’s 2017 incoming class. The authors also compare this ranking to their previous ranking, as well as other objective ranking systems, and provide regional rankings of law schools. — Joe
Above the Law wants to know because it is conducting its March Madness poll about the best legal fiction. You have until Monday, March 19 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern to cast your votes here. — Joe
On a daily basis, Morning Consult polls registered voters across the country what they think about President Trump. Every month the company releases those numbers to provide a detailed understanding of how Trump is viewed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., benchmarked against previous results. To date, this project is based on more than 800,000 surveys. See the full methodology here, and explore the full polling results here.
H/T to beSpacific. — Joe
Since 2007, the biennial Salary Survey has reported on AALL membership by market sectors: Law Firm/Corporate, Government and Law School. The table, above, details non-AALL membership as a percent of the professional workforce as reported in the last six biennial salary surveys. The percent of non-AALL members in the law firm/corporate legal sector workforce increased 19% in 2017 compared to 2015 and has increased 56% since 2007. Note that the percent of the professional workforce in the law firm/corporate law sector who are not AALL members has steadily increased during the past ten years. No similar increase is manifest in the government and academic sectors.
Time to mount an AALL membership outreach campaign targeting non-traditional legal information professionals in law firms and corporate legal departments? — Joe