West Group Expands Online Strategy and Product Line

Article excerpt

West Group, a provider of information to the U.S. legal market, has made several announcements regarding its strategy for the future, new agreements with companies to provide more information to customers, and new products.

Expanded Online Strategy

West Group has announced its online strategy for 1998 and beyond. The strategy announcement coincided with the release of westlaw.com, a functional, comprehensive legal research source on the Web. Also unveiled is anew signature for WESTLAW and the WESTLAW family of products.

"The online strategy of West Group is to develop products and solutions for our customers that build on the traditional strengths of WESTLAW," said Andrew, Prozes, West Group executive vice president and chief operating officer of West Online. "The traditional strengths of WESTLAW content, enabling technology, and customer support. Looking into the future, our online strategy will also depend on the Web."

According to the company, the new signature further symbolizes the transformation of WESTLAW to a global supplier of electronic data. "The sweeping, elliptical nature of the new signature highlights the unique ability of WESTLAW to provide a continual flow of accurate, fresh, and exhaustive information," said Prozes. "West Group is focused on the future, and our new WESTLAW signature better reflects that commitment."

The major product announcement supporting West Group's online strategy is westlaw.com. Martin noted, "westlaw.com is the most important strategic product line West Group will launch this year. With it, our customers will recognize West Group as the true provider of choice for online legal and business information."

West Group's online strategy will also lay the groundwork for future needs of professionals wanting more and more electronic information, according to the announcement. For example, West Group expects an increasing number of law firms to use intranets to convey a variety of information within their firms. Intranet services from West Group will allow customers to enhance that application by providing active links from local content to WESTLAW content, says the company.

New PRO Strategy Products

West Group has also announced an expansion of its focused product development strategy with the release of three new WESTLAW PRO products. WESTLAW PRO (Predictable Research Online) products provide users with research capabilities tailored to their specific needs through access to targeted information essential to their jurisdiction and practice. According to the company, the three new topical products, WESTLAW Tax PRO, WESTLAW Commercial Law PRO, and WESTLAW Environmental Law PRO, are designed to serve the specific needs of solo practitioners and smaller law firms, and are offered at a low fixed monthly rate.

Information flexibility is a key element of the WESTLAW PRO series, according to the company. In addition to core content, subscribers have the option of adding additional databases to serve specific practice needs. While product content is focused on specific topics, PRO subscribers also get exclusive WESTLAW features, including the timesaving Key Number functionality, enriched synopses and headnotes, and WESTLAW Is Natural (WIN) plain-English searching.

Tracy Scott, vice president of marketing and segment operations for West Online said West will expand the WESTLAW PRO line in the coming year, launching products targeting such practice areas as insurance. "We now offer more than 60 PRO products tailored to specific practice areas and jurisdictions,"

WESTLAW Tax PRO offers users unlimited access to federal tax cases, Internal Revenue Code, tax regulations, IRS releases, Revenue Rulings, Revenue Procedures, Private Letter Rulings, and more. Tax cases from any or all 50 states and the District of Columbia can be added for an additional monthly fee, while state tax administrative decisions and administrative guidance materials are also available for most states. …