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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

The LN Sale Rumour Rollercoaster Rolls On

Well, well…what a surprise. The LexisNexis sale rumours have raised raised their ugly head above the parapet again. This time after a report authored by Ian Whittaker of Liberium Capital ( published in early July. Obviously this report that won’t make many employees at LN feel particularly comfortable about how long they’ll have a job at the company

Whitaker’s report suggests that the days of Reed being one large publishing conglomorate are numbered and that one of the first sensible steps for splitting up the company would be to sell off the Lexis Nexis division.

We’re not sure . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Moving Our Course Readings Beyond the Fair Use Exception

The course reader, that photocopied bundle of readings for a course, and now its more recent iteration, the digital e-reserves, have proven to be hot spots for “fair use” legal entanglements with copyright law in the United States. In the 1990s, the big cases were Basic Books Inc. v. Kinko’s Graphic Corporation (1991) and Princeton University Press v. Michigan Document Service (1996) which put an end to royalty-free photocopying for class use of copyrighted materials, for, the courts rule, the course readers were being sold for a profit and were competing against the original books (with 5-30% of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The End of Legal Publishing?

It’s not hard to find those who argue that the end is nigh for legal and professional information publishing. The security and strength of “need to know” and “have to have” information appears to have diminished, with content seeming to be down to “prince” or an even more lowly status in the monarchical hierarchy. Those who argue in those directions do so effectively, showing how the Internet, changing profitability and competitive models and the shift in favour of workflow solutions render the publishing component no longer core. Informed commentators see the current fortunes of the main professional publishers, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Death to Loose-Leaf?

The future of loose-leaf legal publications is a recurring theme here on Slaw. Ruth Bird, Susannah Tredwell, and I have each written about this topic over the last couple of years. So the tweets from the recent CALL conference proclaiming “Death to Loose-leaf” really caught my attention.

The tweets expressed the need for different formats and the hope for different content (commentary only), different format (bound instead of loose-leaf, or online with links to primary law). One alternative identified was commentary only plus research training for users in updating legislation and case law. Unbundling commentary out of loose-leaf . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Choice Architects

Persons who design and arrange the shelving of items in a supermarket or in a cafeteria or books in a library can affect the choices people make. Such persons are choice architects and they have the opportunity of nudging people to make choices that may be good for them. The position of items can affect the choices that people make.

Whenever choices are made by individuals there is an opportunity for choice architects to affect individual decisions. For example, in organ donation some nations have a very high participation rate by requiring a negative choice on drivers’ licences. That is, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Listening to Law Librarians…Listening to Customers

Listening to law librarians at their recent annual meetings, it is apparent that online services are now seen in the same light as loose-leaf services. Both are sources of increasing consumer frustration that is triggering the cancellation of services that were once seen as essential to the practice of law.

The fall from grace

In their prime, online services and loose-leaf services were each seen as the panacea for all that was wrong in the world of legal research. Given the inflated expectations as to what each format could deliver, a fall from grace was inevitable.

It is hard to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The West’s Way: From a Ladies’ Room and Sheep’s Skins to Suffering Stress Toys

My involvement in law publishing spanning now over 15 years, it was difficult to resist a title like “How West Law Was Made: the Company, its Products, and its Promotions” (Ross E. Davies, Charleston Law Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 231-282, Winter 2012; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-34. Available at SSRN: Who in this industry is so distracted by their daily toil so as to neglect reading a paper promising to share such an important piece of wisdom? How indeed was West Law made? Maybe some know, but I didn’t. So when I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Failures and Metal Postcard

Initially I was going to write about the latest publishing developments and products post the easter break. But as most of you will know a bombshell hit the legal world earlier in the month: the collapse of Dewey in the US will, I suggest, have long term ramifications for both major publishers in the US market, particularly if partners and employees are owed large sums by the firm. We imagine there are more than a few unpaid bills that will remain unpaid or will be paid back on Greek terms over a very long period of time to publishers, content . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The New Mega-Journal

The scholarly journal is a form of publishing valued for being tradition-bound rather than path-breaking. The Philosophical Transactions of the 1665, which saw the very launch of this genre in England, is not all that far removed from the Philosophical Transactions A and B today (volumes 370 and 367 respectively). Certainly, in the early years, editor Oldenburg may have handled peer review with less formality, the references in an article may have amounted to referring to a letter from a friend, and the cover may have immodestly referred to its content as that of the ingenious. Yet for all of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Connecting the Dots: Justice System Reform and Medical-Legal Partnerships

Probably the most interesting thing happening in the BC legal world just now is the Justice Reform Initiative launched by the BC government back in early February. The review is chaired by Geoff Cowper, QC, of Fasken Martineau. The terms of reference for the initiative are ambitious. According to the government’s press release: “He [Geoff Cowper] will identify the top issues that are affecting the public’s access to timely justice and what can be done to ensure the efficiencies already underway have the desired impacts while respecting the independence of the judicial system.” The chief justices of the BC . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Not All Animals Are Equal

It’s easy and sometimes entertaining to note the negative or bizarre aspects of the major international law publishers but ultimately it is more interesting to identify areas of achievement. Far from the only one, but one such example is the work and evolution of what is now Bloomsbury Professional, based in the UK but increasingly recognisable around the world.

For me at least, it’s hard not to admire the business and the people involved in it, though I have to admit to a bias, though not an interest, in its favour. I consider a number of the people in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Behavioural Economics

What is behavioral economics?

Behaviorial economics studies the effects of insights from psychology on economic decisions.

Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist, was awarded the Nobel prize in economics in 2002, for his work in judgment and decision making. Kahneman’s work is the subject of his 2011 book, titled Thinking, Fast and Slow. He is the only non-economist to receive the Nobel prize in economics.

Kahneman in his book refers to intuition as operating automatically and quickly with little or no effort. In contrast, are effortful mental activities demanding attention, including complex computations. Two plus two requires no effort, but 17 . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing