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My WestlawNext Upgrade Negotiations: Proof that West Isn’t Interested in the Solo Market

February 10th, 2010 · 26 Comments


A few weeks ago, I wrote about my preview of West’s new search product, WestlawNext. At the end of the post, I said that I’d like to upgrade, but I know I don’t want additional content within my subscription plan. I promised to report back on my negotiations with my account rep. This is my report.

My Background with Westlaw

I’ve been a Westlaw user for five years, and am currently two years into my second three-year contract with them. Since I work with lawyers nationwide, I have a very broad Westlaw plan (especially for a solo), with particular depth in New York secondary sources (about 50% of my clients are in New York). I currently pay $489/month for my subscription, with a scheduled price increase in March to $514/month. Here’s what my current plan looks like:

Total$489.84
All Cases & Statutes NY Gold w/Regs Plus$301.88
Law Reviews & Journals$ 54.61
Results Plus$133.35

I picked up ResultsPlus when I signed my current contract. I love it. Basically, the ResultsPlus plan allows you to click on any of the documents you see listed on the right side of your Westlaw screen without incurring an out-of-plan charge (without ResultsPlus, you’d get an out-of-plan warning screen). Only the “first click” is free: while you can browse through the table of contents of the analytical source you’ve linked to at no cost, if you view any other section of the source from the table of contents, it will be considered out-of-plan (you’ll get a warning screen and can then choose to cancel or continue). At the preview meeting in Eagan, West explained that ResultsPlus was somewhat of an early step towards the development of WestlawNext (which extensively features suggested links to materials in databases other than what you may be focusing on).

My Views About Westlaw Pricing

I expanded the views expressed in my last blog post on Twitter (@ reply indicators have been deleted):

Suppose it’s possible @Westlaw could req. NDA re: Westlawnext pricing, but there would be a huge backlash.

What @Westlaw thinks is “modest.” Frankly, I believe “upgrade” 2 WestlawNext should be free 4 current customers.

After all, @Westlaw will still make $ when customer accesses out-of-plan document from WestlawNext results list. [cont.]

Charging 4 upgrade to WestlawNext is shortsighted, b/c WLN is designed to reveal all relevant docs (incl. out-of-plan).

A WestlawNext user who frequently accesses out-of-plan docs, will convince *him/her self* to expand scope of subscription.

Also want to know what WestlawNext equiv is to WL’s Results Plus add-on (=1st click to doc outside of plan is free).

Agree that there were large R&D costs. WestLawNext algorithm relies on much more than what’s in pub domain.

Still, @Westlaw shld treat current customers better than new 1s; it will still profit as explained in my prev twts

Whether current @Westlaw pricing is outrageous depends on ur view of the added value it provides. I think it’s worth it 4

…my practice, which is research-heavy. If ur use is very light, not much value in a monthly subscription at their prices

My WestlawNext Upgrade Negotiations

After I explained my upgrade goals to my Westlaw rep, I received this response:

Proposal #1

This proposal contains a straight migration of your All Cases & Statutes NY Gold with Regs Plus and adds the All Analytical library. The Law Reviews & Journals portion of your plan is a part of the All Analytical plan and therefore is not listed as a stand alone database. This proposal contains ALR, AmJur, AmJur POF, Causes of Action, Federal Practice and Procedure, etc., and captures the vast majority of your Results Plus usage. Based on your usage, the biggest missing piece in this proposal is CJS which you accessed approximately once a month through Results Plus.

Proposal #2

This proposal is a step up in analytical content and includes CJS and the Restatements.

Proposal #3

For this proposal I took a look at your usage of the CFR. Over the past year you have accessed the CFR 8 times, so it is a database that you may consider dropping. I kept you in All Cases & Statutes and added the NY Analytical plan to replicate the content of a NY Gold package. I added the All Analytical and included CJS as a stand alone subscription.

As I mentioned, WestlawNEXT is a premium product and while I have discounted my proposals to the highest order allowed, the prices reflect that premium. After we spoke I had the opportunity to speak with a reference attorney who has been using WLN for the past few months. Despite her exceptional skill at boolean searching she finds that WLN’s search engine allows her to find the most relevant cases quicker than boolean searching on Westlaw. The reason, she explained, is the intuitive nature of the search engine and its ability to look beyond your search to find the most relevant cases, statues and secondary sources.

As an existing customer, with any of these three proposals you will be eligible for up to $1000 in print at no charge.

Note also that your current plan is scheduled for an annual increase at the end of this month. Starting in March your monthly payment will be $514/month.

Here’s how the plans compare (all monthly prices have been adjusted to reflect the 45% discount I would get for being willing to sign a new 3-year contract at this point):

Proposal #1Proposal #2Proposal #3
Total$567.05$777.15$560.45
All Cases & Statutes NY Gold w/Regs Plus$357.50$357.50
All Analytical Library$209.55$209.55
National Secondary Sources - Premium$419.65
All Cases & Statutes$235.95
NY Analytical$114.95

(I’ve omitted the cost for CJS from Proposal #3 because I don’t need it as long as I have Am Jur, which is included in the All Analytical library.)

As you can see from the chart above, when a database (such as All Cases & Statutes NY Gold w/Regs Plus) comes over from Westlaw to WestlawNext without any change in its coverage, there is an approximately 11% price increase.

Here’s my response to the proposals:

Please provide me with a complete list of (1) All Analytical sources in WestlawNext; (2) New York Analytical sources in WestlawNext and (3) Results Plus sources in Westlaw. I would prefer if you provide me with links to where I (or anyone else for that matter) can find the sources lists online, as West should be transparent about what libraries/databases are available. If this information is not readily available online to the public (including individuals who are not current Westlaw Subscribers), please provide it as attachments.

Doesn’t All Analytical include everything that’s in New York Analytical? If not, the name of All Analytical is misleading.

Just to clarify: is the only difference between All Analytical ($381) and National Secondary Sources – Premium ($763) the fact that the latter includes Restatements and CJS?

He sent the database lists I requested, which I’ve linked to above. He also responded:

Remember that Results Plus allows the first click into the listed databases, while subscribing to the All Analytical Plan gives you unfettered searching in many of the same titles.

Re: All Analytical v. NY Analytical: The “all” refers to national analytical titles such as ALR, AmJur, etc. As evidenced by the attached documents, NY Analytical is targeted to NY specific analytical sources.

Re: The difference between All Analytical and National Secondary Sources, premium, is primarily the restatements and CJS. I haven’t cross checked all the databases (the list is too long), but those are the major titles.

Re: Proposal #3: The NYCRR is contained in the All Cases & Statutes portion of the proposal.

Any person can always go to www.west.thomson.com and find a complete list of databases for any of our online plans. It is my understanding that they are current with WestlawNEXT as well. As you mentioned, West should be and is transparent with the content of their plans.

Here’s my response:

The All Analytical list is far from comprehensive, and is nowhere close to offering equivalent value to the sources available in Results Plus. Specifically, the vast majority of the All Analytical database seems to be composed of Law Reviews and Journals. Another huge chunk of All Analytical is composed of what appears to be redundant portions of larger works. Here’s one example:

ALR American Law Reports [doesn't this include all of the segments below?]
ALR-BKR American Law Reports–Bankruptcy
ALR-BUS American Law Reports–Business Organizations
ALR-CML American Law Reports–Commercial Transactions
ALR-CSTR American Law Reports–Construction
ALRDIGEST West’s ALR Digest
ALR-DUI American Law Reports–Driving While Intoxicated
ALR-ELD American Law Reports–Elder Law
ALR-ENV American Law Reports–Environmental Law
ALR-EPP American Law Reports–Estate Planning and Probate
ALR-FAM American Law Reports–Family Law
ALRFED American Law Reports, Federal
ALR-GOVK American Law Reports–Government Contracts
ALR-IMM American Law Reports–Immigration
ALRINDEX ALR Index
ALR-INS American Law Reports–Insurance
ALR-IP American Law Reports–Intellectual Property
ALR-LB American Law Reports–Labor and Employment
ALR-MRT American Law Reports–Maritime
ALR-MUN American Law Reports–Municipal
ALR-PAT American Law Reports–Patents
ALR-RP American Law Reports–Real Property
ALR-SEC American Law Reports–Securities
ALR-US-INT American Law Reports–Multinational (Issues Arising in the U.S.)
ALR-WC American Law Reports–Workers’ Compensation
ALR-ZONING American Law Reports–Zoning

Moreover, hardly any of the sources included in Results Plus Pro are included in All Analytical. Significant omissions from All Analytical include the state Jurisprudence works (e.g., CALJUR, FLJUR), the Witkin publications (re: California law) Couch on Insurance, Fletcher Cyclopedia of the Law of Private Corps. and Williston on Contracts. Only a tiny handful of non-law journal sources that are included in All Analytical are excluded from Results Plus (e.g., Handbook of Federal Evidence, West’s Federal Forms)

Since the biggest chunk of All Analytical is equivalent to Law Reviews and Journals, while All Analytical is missing perhaps 90% of what is included in Results Plus, the value of All Analytical is much closer to $54.61/month (the current charge for Law Reviews & Journals) than the $209.55/month (after 45% discount) that you propose to charge me for All Analytical. At most, I would pay $100/month for All Analytical, as that database is currently comprised. I would pay $209.55/month for National Secondary Sources – Premium, but only if that plan includes all (or a significant number) of the databases included in Results Plus Pro.

I understand that, in WestlawNext, I have access to the entire secondary source in All Analytical, as opposed to only the first click in Results Plus. However, the whole point of the new WestSearch algorithm is to display the most relevant content alongside my search results (that is also the model for ResultsPlus). Therefore, the first click is generally all I need.

I proposed the following solution:

If National Secondary Sources – Premium, does not include all (or a significant number) of the databases included in Results Plus Pro and/or I can’t get it for $209.55/month, then can I do the following: in WestlawNext, take All Cases & Statutes + NY Analytical and retain in Westlaw only ResultsPlus + Law Reviews and Journals (all of which I calculate to come to $539.06)?

My rep’s response:

The value of the All Analytical package is in its inclusion of ALR, AmJur, Federal Practice & Procedure, Causes of Actions and Proof of Facts. These are huge and popular national analytical sets containing a great deal of information across all areas of law. The content is vastly more comprehensive than the Law Reviews & Journals database.

In all my pricing I have maxed out the available discount. I cannot change the pricing any further and exceptions beyond our discretionary discount (which is, as you know, a generous 45%) are not being considered.

Additionally, accounts can choose from Westlaw or WestlawNEXT. It is not possible to purchase databases from WestlawNEXT and Results Plus. (Practically, this would force you to run all your searches in both search engines).

We do have plans that allow you access to virtually all databases outside of your plan at a discount of up to 90%. For example, for $100/month you get up to $1000/month of ancillary usage. This would be a good way for you to expand your universe of available databases while maintaining cost certainty.

Perhaps you would be interested in a trial password for WestlawNEXT? This way you can use the two products side to side and make the best value decision for your practice.

And mine:

I find substantial value in having access to the 90% of Results Plus sources that are NOT included in All Analytical. In fact, I would appreciate if you can take a look at my account and provide me with a report detailing all of the sources I have used through Results Plus and the frequency of access.

I have used Westlaw Next. I am familiar with the value it can provide. The plans you suggest ($100/month for up to $1,000/month of out-of-plan usage) are not a good choice for me, since $1,000/month adds up very quickly. I want complete certainty.

The “discretionary discount” has a benefit for West, in that it locks in customers for 3 years.

I have no problem running my searches in both engines: it’s a simple copy and paste.

I asked my rep to put me in touch with his sales manager if he couldn’t do anything more for me. Here’s the sales manager’s response:

I received your message from [your sales rep]. You may contact me at your earliest convenience.

In advance, I will let you know that West has painstakingly put together its packages and prices with careful consideration. I assure you [your sales rep's] proposal has met the limits of pricing negotiation and options.

We will understand if you feel your current plan which includes Results Plus remains a better solution for you.

So the bottom line is this: even if I’m willing to pay an 11% premium for the power to search with the WestlawNext algorithm in the same databases I currently have access to on Westlaw, tough cookies. They’re going to change their offerings around enough to make it difficult for you to compare apples to apples. And, most importantly, they’re not going to let you eat just you want to eat: they want to stuff you until you explode, like some crazed Jewish grandmother on Shabbos. Oh (and to beat this food metaphor to death), they’re not going to let you eat just a few courses at the fancy new WestlawNext (the Bouley Restaurant of legal research), and pick up the rest of your meal next door at good ol’ Westlaw (Bouley Bakery/Market): if you don’t want to eat your whole meal at WestlawNext, it’s No soup for you!

Update 2/11/10, 11:30 a.m.: I received this message from my rep’s sales manager this morning:

After reviewing the proposals we sent, I noticed we failed to mention that this is an introductory pricing that we will not be offering after February 28th.

As with all of our proposals and emails, I am hoping this information would be kept confidential.

Not smart, West. Not smart at all.

Update 2/13/10, 1:00 a.m.: Last night, I sent the sales manager an e-mail requesting a complete list of sources included in the National Secondary Sources – Premium plan. I also responded to his request for confidentiality:

With respect to confidentiality, in my view there are no trade secrets involved in our negotiation. The process of upgrading to WestlawNext is like buying a new car. There’s an MSRP, and each option also has its own price. Packages can bring down the price of certain options. But would a car salesman ask you to keep your negotiations confidential? There is no reason—other than a desire to divide and conquer your customers and potential customers—to request confidentiality for these negotiations. “Transparency” goes beyond providing complete source lists (see Elwyn’s message of February 9): it must extend to pricing, too.

Just now (yes, I’m burning the midnight oil), I sent the sales manager this message:

Further to your message of 2/11, please advise what the prices will be for all WestlawNext plan components that I have discussed with [my sales rep] after February 28.

Additionally, please provide the URL(s) for any public statements by Westlaw informing the legal community that it would be offering “introductory pricing” for a total of 14 business days after launch, at a time when very few customers have had a chance to be exposed to WestlawNext, and before “Johnny and Jenny Westlaw” have even had an opportunity to visit six major markets. Certainly, there’s no way each rep can pitch all of his or her accounts, and negotiate plans for all interested customers, in that time frame.

I’ll update again once I hear back (which may not be until at least Tuesday, since Monday is a holiday).

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Tags: Legal Research · Practice Management

26 responses so far ↓

  • Laura Bergus // // Feb 10, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Wow. Thanks, Lisa, for the concrete insights into WLNext implementation. I like that there’s a (undoubtedly unbiased) “reference attorney” who has been using this just-released-to-the-public-this-week product for “months.” Such statements really help TR’s credibility.

    As a law student, it’s useful for me to see the prices in black and white. I now better understand the risk of students that use WLNext becoming spoiled and demanding this from their employers.

  • Jason Wilson // // Feb 11, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Lisa,

    Terrific post, but you seem surprised at this outcome. When you asked the question about solos and small firms in Eagan, I walked away with the distinct impression that they didn’t care what that segment was going to do. Frankly, I’m surprised they segmented the packaging at all, apples or oranges.

  • Edward Wiest // // Feb 11, 2010 at 10:45 am

    The transparency (not!) of Westlaw pricing makes the folks in the health care and health insurance industries look like amateurs!

  • Lisa Solomon // // Feb 11, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Thanks, Jason.

    I can understand a big company like West not being interested in the most price-conscious solos with limited subscriptions. However, I have a broad subscription (for which I pay around $6,000/yr) and always sign a 3-year contract. You’d think they’d be willing to work with a customer like me.

    West’s conduct stands in sharp contrast to the approach of another large company I deal with: Verizon. I have all my phone and online services through Verizon (two landlines, cell phone with extra line and data plan, FIOS internet FIOS TV). Every time I call them, they actually end up saving me money.

    For example, recently I noticed that Verizon had started charging me for HD TV service and an HD DVR. However, we have probably the oldest TV on the block: it’s as deep as it is high and wide, and it most certainly isn’t HD. While the representative couldn’t do anything about the HD charge because Verizon now offers only HD service, she did apply a new “Quadruple Play” discount I already qualified for (since I have all my services w/Verizon). The discount was more than the “Triple Play” discount that I was already getting, and ended up more than offsetting the HD charge. We’re just one family – not some big busines – but we use a lot of Verizon services for one household and they know it’s important to keep us happy.

    Edward: I completely agree. In the absence of transparency from West, users need to band together to crowdsource the knowledge. Please encourage all the lawyers you know to share the details of their WestlawNext upgrade negotiations. Anyone who doesn’t have a blog is free to provide the information in a comment to this post.

  • Edward Wiest // // Feb 11, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    West _once_ possessed tremendous market power in legal publishing through the near-complete scope of its offerings in US primary legal materials (cases, statutes), supported by its creation of indexing systems (Key numbers, statutory notes) . Westlaw (which I have been using for about 25 years!) extended that dominance by making those indexes accessible for computer assisted research in conjunction with a database as broad as the West hard-copy portfolio. The negotiating style you described in the update was entirely consistent from what one would expect from a monopolist.

    It seems in terms of sales tactics, Thomson Legal hasn’t realized the world has changed. Virtually all case law and statutes of the last 50 years is available full-text on one or more free or low-cost online databases. Even with Google [Scholar] style searching available, West’s indexing and annotation services are still of significant value–but West’s (and Lexis’) ‘ power to leverage pricing on access to a universal database is no more. To the extent that West’s value now lies exclusively in its indexing services and access to secondary works, lawyers can–and will–change their conclusions about the cost/benefit ratio of dealing with West.

    My last communications with Westlaw sales seem to reflect this. When I got the renewal time call from my (new) rep some months back (no mention of NEXT), I advised him I had come to the conclusion I would be better off paying Westlaw on an a la carte (per search) basis than continuing on a $4-5K/year plan. After some discussion, we agreed I would be presented with some proposals for a scaled-back monthly plan for review. I’m still waiting to see it. Res ipsa loquitur.

  • Sam Glover // // Feb 11, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    West is completely clueless, isn’t it? You would think that new, no-cost offerings like FastCase and Google Scholar would have forced West to make some price concessions, since they deliver the same content that most people use Westlaw for, but free.

    Of course not. The obvious response is to raise prices. Glad I don’t subscribe, and I have no plans to.

  • Kenneth Kunkle // // Feb 11, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    At the risk of going counter to everyone’s comments. As a former developer at West I would like to note that the problem of “transparency” is, in my opinion, the result of every practice being different – there is no one size fits all fixed rate plan that covers the exact resources each practitioner needs. As a result, West has a multitude of plans that are always evolving – sometime a reflection of the market, sometimes newly developed content, and sometimes changes in contracts with vendors. The result is the apples to oranges complaint raised in the posting.

    As for the free / low cost primary law providers – in my opinion these are not a concern of Wests or Lexis, as that is not what they really see as the value they provide. The value is in the editorial materials, the tools, and operability. I liken West/ Lexis vs. Fastcase (which I use) to the equivalent of hiring an attorney vs. going to Legal Zoom or random Google searches.

    Finally, as far as the All analytical being made up of 90% Law Reviews – I think you need to go back and get clarification. While it has been several years since I have seen the complete list (which is very long) I think you are mis-stating its content. Obtaining such a list can be somewhat difficult, so it is possible that your rep did not explain coverage to you properly. As for the redundant databases – these are typically created so that relevant portions can be used in smaller plans at a reduced price, rather than paying for coverage that a specialized practitioner does not need.

  • Lisa Solomon // // Feb 12, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Thank you for your comment, Kenneth.

    I’m not suggesting that there is a one-size-fits-all rate plan that fits every lawyer. However, each database has a fixed cost, and representatives are authorized to give certain “discounts” for 2-year and 3-year contracts. There is no reason that the base prices for the databases, and the discounts available for extended contracts, should not be published.

    Legal research subscription plan negotiations aren’t huge, unique deals involving proprietary information or trade secrets. The process of upgrading to WestlawNext is like buying a new car. There’s an MSRP, and each option also has its own price. Packages can bring down the price of certain options. But would a car salesman ask you to keep your negotiations confidential?

    Furthermore, I am not suggesting that the free or low-cost providers are or should be a concern to West and Lexis. I recognize the value that West’s and Lexis’s secondary sources, editorial materials and operability provide. But, as I stated, I’m a loyal customer who has demonstrated my willingness to pay for a lot of coverage – including secondary sources that I have found to be of value. You would think a company would want to keep a customer like me happy. Nevertheless, West is unwilling to consider even my compromise proposal of continuing to pay for what I like on Westlaw – and can’t get on WestlawNext – while moving some of my plan to WestlawNext (and paying the 11% premium they charge to use that tool to search databases that are identical to the ones I already subscribe to on Westlaw.

    Finally, you can find an annotated list of the All Analytical sources at http://tinyurl.com/ye62klp. My rep provided me with this list earlier this week. I have no problem with larger databases being broken down into smaller components so that subscribers can get – and pay for – only what they want to eat. However, listing component databases separately on a sources list when the umbrella database is already included misleadingly inflates the number of sources on the database.

  • NMissC // // Feb 13, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Go Lisa! And continue keeping us posted!

  • Don Cruse // // Feb 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I have to disagree with Kenneth. Secondary sources and analytical tools are nice. But it’s the idea of losing access to supposedly more “authoritative” primary law that makes some people fearful of switching away from West or Lexis. That’s the meat of the law. Most of the rest of what West sells is gravy (or maybe just garnish).

    What really needed a “Next” treatment was the West sales model. I’ve been deterred by the two-year contract, agents who clearly have their principal’s interests at heart, and worse. West is selling a web product. They should sell it through the web — especially to solos and small firms. That would reduce West’s transaction costs in serving this market considerably.

    The reason that won’t happen is clear: The price transparency needed for coach-class web sales to solos would hurt West’s power to charge big firms first-class and private-jet prices.

  • Robert Brooks // // Feb 18, 2010 at 9:34 am

    I’ve got a 7 day trial. I ran a search on the old and new interfaces and, frankly, got better results with the old one. I’ll try others over the next few days. My first impression is what may be a substantially improved interface, a few more databases (assuming I didn’t lose any), and maybe a somewhat better search engine. But not worth anywhere near $100 more a month. I may change my mind, but at first blush I might go $50 more, but that’s a big might. And I definitely wouldn’t go any more than that.

    But honestly, I don’t think West should be charging for what is really just a glorified upgrade. Maybe I’ll change my tune by next week.

  • Robert Brooks // // Feb 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

    The more I use WestLawNext the more underwhelmed I am. The user interface is a substantial improvement. But it is a sad commentary on West’s business practices that they don’t see fit to make it available to all of their subscribers

    And I don’t think the search results are really any better than the old search engine. My rep kept emphasizing over and over that I could see all of West’s content that might apply to my search. Frankly, I think this is just a transparent marketing ploy to try and sell more grossly overpriced piecemeal material.

    Well, what did you expect?

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  • anonymous // // Feb 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    They tried to force it down our firm’s throat, lacking communication and immediate add-on. The pricing is ridiculous- some have received “add-on” charges. We are offered a new range of fees for searching sixty to start and then a charge to open each document. The hourly doesn’t get better, with preposterous hourly rates depending on document viewed.And, the lack of a free extended trial makes this “beta” a bad idea.

  • Steven B // // Mar 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    As usual, some attorneys feel the need to find something to complain about. West has spent ALL of the last 130 years to bring the absolute best legal research tool to the market, and all you people do is complain. Why don’t you drop your plans, and go to the law library and spend weeks on a research project that can be completed within a few minutes on WL or WL Next? Most of your comments are incorrect and a representation of your being underinformed, or less than intelligent. The rep here has offered a 45% discount!!!!!! and the author has the audacity to state that a solo firm is not important to the company? Please go back to handling your clients needs and stop wasting time posting on blogs like a bunch of 5th graders.

  • Dee Dublewe // // Mar 8, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Steven B – Thank you for sending the wake up call to the children. Go use the free stuff and increase your malpractice insurance.

  • Lisa Solomon // // Mar 8, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Usually, I wouldn’t bother responding to comments left by anonymous trolls like “Steven” and “Dee.”

    I’m writing to point out that the “45% discount!!!!!” that Steven seems so happy about is actually the standard discount extended to anyone who signs a three-year contract (as opposed to a one-year contract).

  • Steven B // // Mar 8, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks Lisa. Since you were so gracious to point at that the 45% discount is “standard”, let me assure you that it is absolutely not, and further explains your lack of a grasp on the situation. If the discount was “standard”, then why wouldn’t the price be just that (the discounted amount)? Apparently, your rep is trying to help you with the lowest price possible, but some people are never happy. There are far more things in life to complain about, without trashing the best legal research provider on the planet.

  • Lisa Solomon // // Mar 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Steven, it would be much easier to have a reasonable discussion with you if you let us all know who you really are. Without that information, I (and the rest of my readers) will have to take your defense of West with quite a large grain of salt.

    Moreover, calling the 45% off that West regularly offers off the price of a one-year contract to those willing to sign up for three years is mere semantics. Perhaps a more accurate term would be “volume discount.” Plenty of businesses give standard volume discounts to entice customers to buy more or sign longer contracts.

  • Steven B // // Mar 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    So now your firm delivery of the fact that the 45% discount is “standard”, now turns to “semantics”. I am sure your readers can determine themselves that you have no idea what you are talking about.

    Please keep up the good work and continue to offer your ever so informative insights. You have obviously done your homework, and any intellegent attorney can truly benefit from your experiences.

    FYI – Your likening Westlaw to buying a car with an MSRP couldn’t be more rediculous. And as far as it being a “web product and should be bought on the web” is even more rediculous. Most of the comments here are so far off, that one has to wonder where their degrees are from. Mail order? It seems a law degree should be able to be purchased on the web.

  • Jason Wilson // // Mar 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Lisa,

    I’m afraid you’ve been baited. I suggest you not approve anymore of “Steven B’s” comments as he is simply a troll, something that Jaron Lanier has warned us about in “You Are Not a Gadget.” The more you allow Mr. B to pollute the comments, the less effective this post becomes, regardless of your desire to engage him or her. He/She is not adding anything to the debate on whether WestlawNext is appropriately priced given the fact that there is no market to determine MSRP. We all understand what we are dealing with, and I think the latest Pricing Schedule released by Thomson Reuters makes the pricing (and it’s effects) painfully clear.

  • Lisa Solomon // // Mar 8, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    You’re so right, Jason. Thanks for giving me a whack upside my virtual head!

    I was able to take only a quick look at the Subscriber Agreement and Schedule A that I received in the mail last week. Aren’t the Schedule A prices applicable only when you go outside your WestlawNext subscription plan?

    Talking about subscription plans, a week ago I asked my Westlaw rep how much my plan components will cost now that their “introductory” pricing has expired. At the end of last week, the rep gave me the pricing for each of the proposals as a whole, but did not provide a plan breakdown, as I had requested. I’m still waiting for further details and will report back once I receive them.

  • Jason Wilson // // Mar 9, 2010 at 12:50 am

    Lisa,

    Yes, the Pricing Schedule you received should show you two prices, one for out of plan pricing and one for QuickView (or in plan) pricing. If you aren’t sure, just email me and I’ll send you the one I have showing you the charges. The QV pricing for search is pretty low (considering it is all databases), and it is much lower than some of the other numbers thrown around like $50 or $60 per search, which is more in line with the out of plan search charges.

  • Marshall R. Isaacs // // Jul 28, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Hey there Lisa,

    Thanks for chiming in at Smallfirmville. Our contrasting experiences may simply have something to do with our representatives. Mine have always been transparent and have helped me find ways to save money.

    Also, I think of Westlaw the same way I think about air conditioning in the summer. I’m so thankful to have it that price really isn’t an issue.

    In any case, feel free to call me if you want to compare notes on pricing, plans or representatives.

    Warmest regards,

    Marshall

  • My response to rethinc.k series on WestlawNext, WestSearch, and Haters | legalresearchandwritingpro.com // // Oct 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    [...] isn’t one that even comes close. (Rather than re-post my earlier analyses, I refer you to My WestlawNext Upgrade Negotiations: Proof that West Isn’t Interested in the Solo Market and Westlaw Reps Don’t Know their A$$es From their Elbows When it Comes to WestlawNext Packages [...]

  • WestlawNext Pricing | Small Firm Success // // Dec 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    […] Lisa Solomon, My WestlawNext Upgrade Negotiations:  Proof that West isn’t Interested in the Solo Market […]

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