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More clients rejecting online research bills

By Deborah Elkins
Dolan Media Newswires

Law firms are seeing a lot less success in getting clients to pay separately for online legal research, even as costs keep going up, according to a new survey of firm law library operations.

In 2013, one-third of responding law firm libraries said they were recovering 40 percent or less of their charges from the three big online search sources – LexisNexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law – according to The American Lawyer.

In the past year, nearly half of the responding firms said they were recovering 40 percent or less of their legal research costs from these sources, according the 2014 Law Librarian Survey.

Clients balk at separate billing for online research, with many categorically saying they won’t cover it. Firm managers predicted the trend toward absorbing online research costs will accelerate to a point of no return, with most firms picking up the tab in the next few years.

On a brighter note, survey respondents reported increased success in negotiating contract prices with the big three vendors, especially when a firm can pit one against the other in a bid to go with an exclusive provider.


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