LexisNexis and Westlaw charges – who’s paying?

A story in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Law Firms Face Fresh Backlash Over Fees, caught my eye with this paragraph:

Johnson & Johnson has its own strategy for curbing charges for legal-research services. The health-care-products company maintains its own subscriptions to legal databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis. It asks law firms to use its accounts when doing work for the company. A J&J spokesman says the practice is one of several used to reduce costs for outside legal work.

Is this a common practice?  Comments welcome.

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One thought on “LexisNexis and Westlaw charges – who’s paying?

  1. I agree that clients should not be charged for searching in national reporters, state reporters, codes & regs, and state practice materials ( like Witkin and Rutter Guides, Matthew Bender etc.) as these were always staples in a law library and built into a firm’s overhead model. However, one item never mentioned in articles such as these is the vast array of unusual resources ( think unique Nexis articles like from Tablebase, treatises from another state or obscure foreign materials) that are not on the internet for free and with a push of a button, can be upon a client’s desk or part of a court brief in a minute and that one used to have to pay a document delivery charge/interlibrary loan charge, plus the time it took to get these items. I think it is fair to have a reasonable charge for these items. Moreover, I have yet to see a client complain of paying for public record documents so why does the law firm have to be punished for being able to supply the docs on short notice? The other great issue that I have seen as a consultant is that many firms do not treat databases with equal parity when they are charging back search charges, i.e. certain formulas for WEXIS, but often BNA, CCH, RIA, IP, and business databases are not usually charged or often have very nominal charges. I think the firms need to come up with a reasonable client cost policy that is fair to all clients but covers out of contract searches. Long ago, there was a study by I believe Lexis that proved conducting legal research by CALR was eight times faster that manual research methods. Has anyone ever seen an update to or a new study discussing these metrics?

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