Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
July/August 2003, by Delia Venables

We continue here the series of articles from the major legal publishers, explaining what they do and how the different parts of their “empires” fit together. Last time it was Sweet & Maxwell/Westlaw. This time it is Butterworths/LexisNexis and Context.

New face, new name for Butterworths
By Caroline Phelps

There have been some changes over the last couple of years at Butterworths (www.butterworths.com), a trend that is set to continue as the company follows through on a business refocus that includes global branding and investment in global content and technology.

The company is owned by the Anglo-Dutch Reed Elsevier (www.reedelsevier.com) publishing empire, which has four divisions. The global legal information division is called the LexisNexis group due to the fact that the largest business in that division is LexisNexis, based predominantly in the USA. It supplies legal research, directories, and news and business information to lawyers and corporates.

Following customer research, all the businesses in the LexisNexis group are adopting LexisNexis as the global legal brand, hence Butterworths has changed its corporate identity to LexisNexis UK (www.lexisnexis.co.uk), and LexisNexis is being used in association with its local brands. Butterworths has not been bought, nor will its brands disappear.

The benefit of the closer association with the LexisNexis sister company is that it gives the UK business access to US content, which is of great value to larger customers.

The global rebranding is in preparation for the launch of new global technology and products that will change the way LexisNexis’ online services look and function over the next five years, building them into a single coherent suite of services.

The strength of Reed Elsevier (currently the leading performer in its sector) makes investment in this kind of project possible. It is a huge innovation to bring together the “gold standard” in legal research and news and business information from around the world, into one service, available from one login. It will mean that, in time, the UK online services will change the way they look and some of the functional features. The content and the quality will remain.

In addition to considerable investment in online services, LexisNexis UK will continue to produce its hardcopy products, such as Halsbury’s Laws, the All England Law Reports and the Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents. In the words of newly appointed MD, Helen Mumford, “There will always be a market for printed information, it’s a complement to online, used in a different way, not competition to it.”

Helen Mumford joined LexisNexis UK at the beginning of May this year. She was previously at Gartner, a global publisher of information services for the IT industry where she ran Gartner’s European Operation and one of its worldwide divisions. Her early career included roles in Andersen Consulting, Kleinwort Benson and Ernst and Young, before taking the job of IT Director for GE Capital Insurance Services. From there Helen moved to Wentworth Research, which was subsequently acquired by Gartner.

Her view on the UK market for legal information and LexisNexis UK’s competitors is, “Competition is good for the customers and for us. The growth of free information in the market over the last few years, like BAILII, has undoubtedly affected how we operate. We’ve sharpened our customer focus and the emphasis on value-added features they require, like authoritative commentary provided by qualified lawyers, and faster updating and hypertext linking. Where we feel we differ from the approach of our competitors is that we have made a point of creating successful partnerships with some organisations that could be perceived as being competition. For instance, we partner with the Health and Safety Executive to create and build HSE Direct, as well as with many of our customers, such as Eversheds where we created a joint venture to launch Eversheds.com knowledge banks.”

LexisNexis UK also differs from many of its competitors by integrating current awareness and business information with its research services, making them available from the one screen. For example, Legal Updater, the current awareness and research service that offers free daily email updates, is available from lexisnexis.co.uk/law where customers can also access all the other services they subscribe to, such as cases, legislation, forms and precedents. The marketplace for legal information has changed a great deal over the last couple of years, and LexisNexis UK has lead from the front in responding to those changes. The business has grown successfully via acquisition over recent years. Tolley, the tax publisher, was acquired in 1996, and IRS Eclipse in 2000.

The focus now is on organic growth. Integration is a key driver to the way that LexisNexis products and services will develop over the next few years. Integrating content from around the global legal division, we can build services that offer a blend of current awareness, news, business and legal information, that can be as “local” or as “global” as customers want.

The Company is committed to getting closer to its customers and their businesses and to find better ways to use its expertise to enhance their services to their clients. The investment in global technology and the benefits of leveraging the LexisNexis database to create faster, more targeted, research services will put LexisNexis UK in a powerful position to give customers what they want.

Caroline Phelps is Head of PR at LexisNexis UK.
caroline.phelps@lexisnexis.co.uk

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