Legal Research Technology: A Background
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By Dave DiCicco | LexisNexis Senior Director of Product Management
Law firm business development teams have changed the way they identify, connect with and track their firms’ engagement with prospective new clients. The evolution has been fueled by the emergence of technologies that have enabled more visibility into new business opportunities and more targeted interaction with those prospects. This includes platforms for email marketing, customer relationship management and content management.
In fact, eight of the top 10 marketing techniques used by law firms are now of a digital nature, according to the 2021 LexisNexis® InterAction® Marketing & Business Development Survey, which polled firms of all sizes and from all over the world. Technology is squarely at the heart of nearly all modern law firm marketing strategies.
At the same time, not all firms embrace the same emerging technologies, nor do they deploy them in the same way. The InterAction survey drilled down a bit more and found that “high growth” law firms (those seeing more than 20% growth in 2020) were four times more likely to track metrics for marketing and business development efforts than slower growing firms. Perhaps the lesson is that today’s increasingly metrics-led marketing by law firms is more likely to be successful when law firms leverage the right emerging technology tools that make their initiatives more precise, efficient, and targeted.
One example of this is that some leading law firms are now implementing Application Programming Interface offerings (APIs) that allow them to gather key data streams from third-party vendors — e.g., legal research services, software providers, etc. — and integrate that data within their own law firm systems.
An API is simply a connection between one computer system and another computer system that allows data to flow seamlessly between the two environments. API technology has been around for years and many law firms have used various APIs for back-office functions. However, important law firm data security considerations have slowed their penetration to a wider range of use cases. Those concerns have now been addressed and resolved, opening the door to an exciting new world of innovation in law firm business development.
For law firm marketing teams, APIs create the ability to integrate valuable content they rely on from external sources with their internal computer networks. This allows lawyers and professional staff members to pull that valuable third-party data directly into their own internal workflows — rather than forcing them to log onto a vendor’s website to go find the content they need. This might include data from the firm’s Experience Management software, CRM software or other high-value third party tools.
This has been a major product development priority at LexisNexis®. With LexisNexis API solutions, we now provide law firms with the ability to access data from LexisNexis and/or approved third-party software vendors within their existing workflow, allowing lawyers and marketing staff members to tailor their research tasks to their needs.
For example, we had the opportunity to discuss our API innovations at the KM Legal 2021 conference. We shared specifically about our close development work with Foundation Software Group, a leading provider of experience management software for law firm marketing departments, and our capability to push client experience data from a law firm’s Foundation Firm Intelligence Platform directly into the firm’s own data environment. This means that your marketing team members can spend less time aggregating and wrangling data — and more time analyzing and extracting actionable insights from the data that is delivered directly to the firm’s internal applications.
In addition to the workflow efficiency gains that API solutions deliver to law firm business developments; they also create a pipeline for more timely dissemination of news and information. Law firm marketing teams can obtain automatic news updates, relevant news and docket alerts from LexisNexis, pushed directly into the firm’s internal applications, so they are able to move swiftly in pursuit of immediate new business opportunities. These news feeds can augment the firm’s Intranet or preferred news sources with LexisNexis content that is delivered to the firm’s own data environment.
The evolution of law firm marketing over the past two decades has been driven by the development of new technologies that have fundamentally altered the way that firms can find, engage and track prospective new clients. It is not an exaggeration to say that modern-day legal marketing is digital marketing.
One of the most exciting tech innovations that law firm marketing teams can now put to use is the API. LexisNexis has a family of API offerings for law firms that are designed to meet the business development needs of firms of all sizes and are entirely platform-agnostic so they can work with any IT configuration. Visit the LexisNexis Data as a Service site to learn more about how this technology can support your firm’s marketing and business development team.
Dave DiCicco, Senior Director of Product Management, LexisNexis®, is a Fastcase® 50 Award winner from the Class of 2020. He has worked for LexisNexis for over 20 years, dating back to his last semester at University of Dayton School of Law, and extending from his early days as a software test engineer to currently working with customers to develop LexisNexis API solutions. Dave has led the Lexis® for Microsoft® Office product team since 2010. Meeting with clients to develop user stories and working with LexisNexis tech and sales teams puts Dave right in the middle of the transformation of APIs as the next generation of research information solutions.