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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Legal Search

“Legal search algorithm” … now there’s a phrase to make your head spin. I’ve been thinking about legal search for years, but I confess that I hadn’t given the algorithm much thought until recently. Type it into Google, and you come up with an excellent post by Aaron Kirschenfeld in the Cornell LII blog: “Everything is Editorial: Why Algorithms are Hand-Made, Human, and Not Just for Search Anymore”.

For legal publishers, ensuring that our users can find what they are looking for is one of the biggest challenges we face. I’ve never encountered legal information that isn’t incredibly dense. We . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Ever Cuddled an Aardvark? Ever Studied Zymurgy?

A hitherto senior colleague, a mentor in legal publishing, speaking more allegorically than in truth, I imagine, recalled a difficulty that his wife allegedly suffered. Although an intelligent, urbane and charming person, she did not find herself always comfortable with some of the duties of the corporate spouse, particularly when it came to institutional dining. Her heart would sink at the prospect of an evening trapped between two crusty old judges with whom she had little in common. Her tactic, it was said, in trying to maintain conversation when it did not flow naturally, was to use alphabetic sequence to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

International Legal Publishers — Lexis, Westlaw, Wolters Kluwer, And… Wikipedia

Yes, Wikipedia

A recent encounter I had with German tax law was quite revealing. A claim had been made by the German tax authorities for the payment of a gift tax on a transaction in Canada that took place more than a decade ago. A computer trace of some kind by the German tax authorities had recently brought the matter to light and resulted in a demand for the payment of back taxes by a Canadian to the German government based on incomplete information.

Recognizing my serious limitations in tax matters of any kind, I approached a highly regarded member . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Frankfurter Buchmesse

With around 7,500 exhibitors from over 110 countries, the Frankfurt Book Fair is the publishing industry’s biggest trade event in the world. I found myself there this past October, mostly hanging around the “Digital Innovation” track. This for two reasons: we (Lexum) are in the business of helping publishers look good on the web and there was a beer stand conveniently located not far from the stage to help fight the jetlag.

The premise of the courtship between an IT service provider and a publisher is quite straightforward. Publishers want to sell more of their books by repurposing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Legal Publishing Is Vogueing

Look around everywhere you turn is heartache
It’s everywhere that you go (look around)
You try everything you can to escape
The pain of life that you know (life that you know)

“Vogue” Madonna

Legal Publishing is vogueing again and Madonna’s lyrics must have been written for the legal publishing industry!

Here at Law Librarians News publishing legal books is a development that has come back into play in a big way in the last 12 weeks or so.

Management at various publishers may well raise their eyebrows at our comments if and when they read this. But it really . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

It’s the End of the World as We Know It …

Mobile devices! Google everywhere! Is this the end of the world as we know it? Is it the end of legal research as we know it?

Of course, it isn’t any such thing. Even so, the rise of mobile devices does seem to be related to changes in how legal research is conducted and what results are expected.

A recent post from Raymond Blijd of Wolters Kluwer predicts the death of legal research on desktop. As mobile devices become even more easy to use, and as information is organized and formatted to make it more accessible on those devices, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing


Lawyers are frequently asked to predict the outcome of litigation.

Predictions are important in many other fields such as economics, politics, the weather and earthquakes.

The future performances of employees and athletes are regularly the subject of prediction. Predicting the performance and character of persons is very difficult. Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister of Singapore when discussing the appointment of ministers stated “despite all the psychological tests, we could never accurately assess character, temperament, and motivation”. See Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights ….. by Allison and Blackwill (2012).

In the field of politics the polls sometimes fail . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

In Praise of Peer Review: A Modest Proposal for Identifying Unscrupulous Open Access Journals

I remain indebted to peer review. Sure, I’ve been called a dilettante. Had ideas dismissed as half-baked. Had the floor swept with the derivative nature of my work. Been chastised for treating data as singular. And then the self-inflicted wounds of my own careless error. But having suffered from what appears only at first glance to be the slings and arrows of outrageous peer-review, I stand by this process.

I will defend a career’s worth of the anonymous and thankless work of reviewers who have provided the concerted kind of attention that I undoubtedly needed. It has made me, such . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Professional Publishers in Professional Practice

Sean Hocking’s recent article Law Firms Should Have Become Legal Publishers Because Legal Publishers Are Now Becoming Law Firms, although prompted by the news of the establishment of Jordans Corporate Law Ltd., a new offshoot of The Jordans group of companies, brings into question an opportunity that for a long time I have thought feasible. Love or hate them, legal and professional information publishing entities for hundreds of years have been a critical component of the education, training of lawyers and their competence to practice. It is almost surprising to see that, at least since the beginning of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Naming Tradition in Legal Publishing

When is an author not the author?

The publication of the twenty fifth annual edition of Tremeear’s Criminal Code by David Watt and Michelle Fuerst raises an obvious question about the naming tradition in legal publishing. Why name a new edition of a book after someone long deceased, who had nothing to do with its creation.

Specifically, why name an annotated Criminal Code prepared by Justices Watt and Fuerst Tremeears Criminal Code?

The making of a “tradition”

Over the past century or two, a practice evolved whereby legal publishers launched new editions of established works under the name of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Less Serious Legal Research

Legal information is boring. As much as you may enjoy reading a court case, a legal article or conducting legal research, the experience cannot realistically be compared to listening to a song or planning a vacation. Browsing a legal resource will never entertain you more than searching YouTube or TripAdvisor. Exceptionally, isolated masterpieces here and there spark a certain degree of buzz and then the tide of uninteresting data takes over again.

Legal information professionals and users should not feel singled out though, because legal information is not the only boring information out there.

But why is it that legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Law Firms Should Have Become Legal Publishers Because Legal Publishers Are Now Becoming Law Firms

The really interesting piece of news that we’ve come across in the past fortnight is the announcement by Jordans publishing that they are now moving into the world of legal services.

Here at LLN / HOB we have always repeated ad nauseam that we hoped a law firm of some stripe would discover they could actually generate revenue from legal publishing activities; but instead the tables have been turned and Jordans have decided that there will be money in the world of practice while it appears to us, from the report, that they still intend to retain their legal content . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing