Magazine article Information Today

Is the Legal Profession Finally "Connecting" with Technology?

Magazine article Information Today

Is the Legal Profession Finally "Connecting" with Technology?

Article excerpt

From the Editor's Desk

Is the Legal Profession Finally "Connecting" With Technology?

Talk to any law librarian and they will tell you that the legal profession is traditionally slow in accepting new technology. And yet, according to a ten year study (1978-1987), compiled by Information Market Indicators (IMI), Mead Data Central (Lexis) and Dialog accounted for 70 percent of the usage market during the ten year period. Of course, you must take into account the fact that Mead Data Central also provides the Nexis service and the IMI study gave no indication of the Lexis/Nexis ratio of usage. West Publishing (Westlaw) shared the next 20 percent of the usage market with four other vendors.

The revenue picture for the ten year period was similar. Mead Data Central and Dialog shared 80 percent of the revenues, leaving West and the four other vendors sharing 18 percent of the revenues. The study covered fourteen vendors in all which left a little over two percent of revenue for the remaining seven vendors.

In the several years that have passed since this study was conducted some of these fourteen vendors have ceased to exist, others have been bought up and merged but the Lexis and Westlaw services have continued on with a steady pattern of growth.

Obviously, there is a demand for legal information in the electronic form but where is that demand coming from. The data in the IMI study relates to online vendor systems in use in the information center/library market which could indicate that a good portion of online legal research is being performed by law students or contracted by law firms and performed by research services.

Then again, the study was completed several years ago and this is 1991, things are starting to change. Change may be slow in coming but indications are that the legal profession is finally starting to "connect" with electronic information in a big way. …

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