This is a live blog post from the Ark Best Practices & Management Strategies for Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services conference in NYC. The topic of this session is “Librarians as Market Analysts: The Intersection of Big Data and CI“.  

The presenters:

  • Steven A. Lastres, Director of Knowledge Management Services, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  • Anne Stemlar, Managing Director, Research & Knowledge Management, Goodwin Procter LLP

[This is live, posted as a session ends. Please forgive typos and any error in understanding.]


The law library profession now supports the business of law as much as the practice of law. Yet during the time this new function has been taken on by the law library, staff has not grown or even shrunk. This talk will show two approaches to embed competitive intelligence and big data analytics in day to day work flows.


Lawyers should not have to know about sources or where data comes from. They should be able to get to the data they need quickly. Debevoise created a page that aggregates internal and external data by client.

Info on this top-level page includes key document, deals, litigation, representation, people, company profiles, and client development information. One of the goals of aggregating this information is improving business development. For example, there is also a partner-only section that pulls from Relationship Science to show partners strength of partner relationships with clients and prospects.

Debevoise intentionally aggregates deal and litigation sources and info on the same page. Clicking from the main page described above goes to more detail. Examples include pages that show

  • Deal and litigation information in detail. It displays a source of competitive information that shows share of wallet by law firm.
  • Strength of relationships graphically.
  • Executives at the company.
  • Profile report allows user to select types of information to display.


Unless lawyers see information in email, it is not really there for them. The firm use third-party software to push CI information out by email. A SharePoint page exposes all feeds per client on a single page. This also provides lawyers an opportunity to stay current throughout the day. Eventually the system will be more dynamic, presenting results in the order in which users typically consume information.

The firm has embedded research analysts in each practice area. Through them, the firm learned that many lawyers did know how to consume all the information provided. To address this, every research analyst spend 3o to 60 minutes each morning to curate, with Clipper product, the most important news of the day in a pre-formatted HTML newsletter. There are 19 curated newsletters published by 10 research analysts.

Goodwin Procter

Goodwin Advantage is a self-service competitive intelligence platform. It’s built on SharePoint by CI and KM teams. It was built and deployed in a 6-week sprint. The speed was necessary to align to a firm-wide initiative re-aligning practices. The data comes from Thomson Reuters Peermonitor’s Monitor Suite

The library can no longer wait for inbound requests. The staff does not exist for running routine and rote reports. So self-service was key to provide needed resources.

Main navigation includes buttons for Goodwin (firm), clients, competitors, courts & judges, industry, league tables, and legal market share.  Some of the details on pages linked to: The league table link goes to some 50+ league tables. There are over 600 available Monitor reports for competition. Industry links to alpha list of top industries with which the firm works.

The firm has an extensive matters and experience database; it was started in 2004. The firm has data on 121k total matters with 31k richly profiled with 120 profile fields. Profile fields include insurers, industry code, etc. The data are are stored in an enterprise data warehouse. Getting to it took 18 months of data clean-up and harmonization. The firm firm uses Tableau for visual presentations.

Visualization include a US state map of where the firm has cases. Another is Merrimeko chart that uses a series of colored rectangles forming a bigger rectangle. (RF: reminds me of my days at Bain & Co, which loved this type of display in my day.)

The firm will use these data and tools for early case assessments for certain cases to help existing clients and in pitches.