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Open Password – Dienstag, den 17. März 2020

# 723


Outsell – ALM – LexisNexis – Hugh Logue – Law360 – Legal Radar – Narrative Generation Technology – Multiple Cases – Personalization – – Eagle Tree Capital – JD Supra – Lexology – Bloomberg Law – Thomson Reuters – Wolters Kluwer – Moreover Technologies – Mlex

Outsell: The March Contribution

ALM Takes on LexisNexis
With Launch of Automated News Product

The Global Market Leader in Legal News
as a Disruptor

By Hugh Logue, Director & Lead Analyst – Email:

ALM launches a free AI narrative generation legal news product, taking direct aim at LexisNexis Law360 despite the fact that LexisNexis is currently ALM’s exclusive licensing partner.

What to Know and Why It Matters

ALM recently announced the launch of Legal Radar, a legal news service providing a continuously updated news feed generated by narrative generation technology that is reviewed by editors before publication. The AI technology allows Legal Radar to generate updates very quickly and to cover a wide range of practice areas and industry sectors. Once Legal Radar has identified the relevant data from court documents based on algorithms set by experienced ALM editors, it can create a news summary within 20 seconds using predefined templates. It then makes the summary available for an editor to review to check for any errors that may have come from the data source, add any additional wider context text, and publish the summary potentially within an hour of the court decision’s release.

An additional benefit of this technology is that it allows ALM to cover a wider range of cases. Legal journalists typically focus their attention on key courts, such as the 13 US courts of appeals and the US Supreme Court, but Legal Radar can scan for important or interesting cases across all judicial districts. Another advantage is that it can look at court decisions across multiple courts and spot patterns almost in real time. For example, recently reported human sex trafficking cases being filed across the US, but while other news providers reported on a single case, used Legal Radar to be the first to identify multiple cases being filed across the US against various hotel chains on the same day.

At launch, ALM will offer Legal Radar for free; it will cover new federal lawsuits, litigation trends, client engagements, breaking news, and the latest headlines from across the network of publications. Readers that don’t have a subscription will only be able to click through to three stories per month but will have unlimited access to case law summaries and attached complaints on Legal Radar.

Future releases will offer enhanced features and new content for transactional lawyers, and a native mobile app is in development, although the current website is mobile-optimized. Users can also personalize their feeds based on key industries, practice areas, law firms, companies, and regions.

Last month, ALM launched International to further its expansion of legal coverage beyond its current core markets of the US, UK, and Hong Kong to create a global legal news platform. In time, ALM is considering expanding Legal Radar internationally as it overcomes the challenges posed by the wide variance of formats used within court judgments around the world.

With an estimated 20% market share, ALM is the global market leader in the legal news segment. The company also produces conferences and trade shows for the legal profession. The company is owned by an investor consortium led by EagleTree Capital (formerly Wasserstein Partners), which reacquired ALM Media in 2014. Since then, ALM has streamlined its operations, made a handful of follow-on acquisitions, and entered a licensing agreement with LexisNexis, which integrates ALM content within LexisNexis legal research solutions. However, the exclusive licensing agreement with LexisNexis expires in December 2020, opening up the possibility for ALM to create a new exclusive agreement or multiple non-exclusive ones with other providers.


Analyst Rating: Positive

The launch of Legal Radar adds value for ALM’s customers by extending ALM closer to the pure law information market as an addition to its existing generalist legal news. ALM has nothing to lose by giving this content away for free, as it will draw new readers onto the ALM platform. ALM’s existing data assets are often overlooked as much is contained within unstructured data. However, it is now much easier to use technology to extract and structure this data and combine it with other data sets, including ALM’s lawyer ranking publications and its law firm intelligence content. The addition of Legal Radar, combined with the editorial insight from the legal newsroom, will enable ALM to bridge pure law content with legal news, creating a new proposition for ALM’s customers that serves their need for timely updates without a firehose of alerts on every single filing in a particular area of law.

While the underlying AI technology is innovative, the far bigger disruptor is ALM giving Legal Radar away for free. This is a direct challenge to LexisNexis Law360 and places pressure on LexisNexis ahead of an important renewal deal. ALM is now a threat to LexisNexis on three fronts: It can provide a huge competitive advantage to a LexisNexis competitor by providing it with exclusive legal news content; it can damage LexisNexis market differentiation with its quality legal news coverage; and it can threaten Law360 market share with Legal Radar. There is no doubt that this is a brave move by ALM but one that could backfire if ALM is unable to secure a deal with a LexisNexis competitor.

Recommended Actions for ALM

Narrative generation technology is not particularly new; indeed, Outsell published a report on it in 2017 that lists the third-party technology vendors in the space, and the PACER data sets are also freely available to anyone. While ALM is adding value through its expertise in designing the templates, algorithms, and content to add context, the competitive barriers are still relatively low. If customers provide positive feedback to Legal Radar and uptake is strong, ALM needs to invest in expanding it to other types of data, such as bills, legislation, minutes from legislator debates, tribunal hearings, etc.

There is also the potential to apply this technology to the thousands of briefing papers and blog updates provided by professional advisory firms every day. ALM could agree to exclusive licenses with these firms to automatically summarize their content while simultaneously giving credit and linking back to the original authors. By doing this, ALM will establish a stronger competitive barrier and take market share from Law360, JD Supra, and Lexology.


Recommended Competitor Actions

Law360 is a successful product that filled a gap in the market for immediate updates when it launched in 2003; it was subsequently acquired by LexisNexis in 2012. Law360 emphasizes being first to report, and it achieves that goal by using technology that scours federal court systems and identifies relevant news stories; editors then assign those stories to reporters. However, if Legal Radar’s new system can consistently break news stories to time-sensitive legal professionals first, then Law360’s customers will question why they are paying so much for a service they can obtain for free from ALM.

LexisNexis differentiates itself from its three main competitors — Bloomberg Law, Thomson Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer — through the depth, breadth, and quality of its legal news. In addition to acquiring Law360, it also acquired Moreover Technologies in 2014 and MLex in 2015, before agreeing to an exclusive content licensing agreement with ALM Media, which resulted in the direct integration of ALM content into LexisNexis products. Legal news is a valuable legal data source and is an important anchor to pull readers into other products. If LexisNexis wants to keep its legal news crown among its three largest competitors, it needs to consider acquiring ALM Media, which is currently owned by private equity, before ALM partners with a LexisNexis competitor. A new CEO at Thomson Reuters with a background in private equity may be a sign that LexisNexis’s biggest competitor is gearing up for a major acquisition spree.


Essential Actions

ALM’s example demonstrates the importance of information and content providers exploring narrative generation technologies to provide advantages over their more traditional competitors. Automated news summaries are very useful to increase coverage in particular areas or cover new topics that news teams can’t handle due to the costs involved. They can also immediately connect two or more related events that would be difficult for a human editor to notice among the thousands of ongoing current events. The technology is now readily available from third-party technology vendors, creating opportunities to launch new automated information services, which can be particularly disruptive if competitors have large manual editorial teams baked into their operating models.

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