Once again, a lively ,standing-room-only crowd showed up at the Forum. The forum is your chance to learn about the LEXIS & WESTLAW academic programs for the coming year, and to meet and ask questions of the people in both companies who are in charge of the law school programs. At the 2000 Forum , LEXIS was represented by Timothy F. List, Vice-President, Law School and Federal Courts Markets. West was represented by Gerald Johnson, Vice-president, Academic & Librarian Relations.
Timothy List joined LEXIS in early 2000. He came to LEXIS with an MBA in marketing from the University of Michigan and a lot of marketing experience for such companies as Monogram Credit Services, a joint venture of Bank One and General Electric, Campbell's Soup, Vlasic Foods, and General Mills. Gerald Johnson has been with WESTLAW for 16 years. He has a law degree from Boston University, and has worked in a variety of management positions with West during that time, focusing on law firms,as well as law schools.
A show of hands indicated that most librarians at the forum work in their law schools as coordinators of LEXIS & WESTLAW service and instruction. But law library administrators and public services librarians were also well represented. During the first part of the program Mr. List and Mr. Johnson discussed their companies' plans for the year. Then, librarians began an animated Question and Answer session.
Mr. List discussed his view of LEXIS as a partner with law schools in legal education. He highlighted specific initiatives including product enhancements, equipment upgrades, and law school support. He also described enhancements to Shepards and lexis.com. He discussed education initiatives, including virtual classroom, interactive Citation Workstation, and the Legal Research & Writing Advisory Board. Perhaps of most interest to the librarians were the equipment upgrades for the 2000-2001 academic year:
Gerald Johnson of West discussed several changes including the new interface for lawschool.westlaw.com, the librarian relations program at West, and the addition of new foreign and international databases. Shelly Albaum, Senior Director for Westlaw Product Development, unveiled the new Westlaw interface. He demonstrated the use of its two-part screen and link viewers, which open windows to view linked cases or documents. The revamped lawschool.westlaw.com was a centerpiece of the program. It has been enhanced to provide easy access to TWEN, student resource pages, faculty pages, a redesigned career center, and a support page.
Gerald Johnson's announcement that Westlaw's experiment with print budgets was over disappointed the audience, but West still won points with the group for making a good faith effort to tackle the problem of unrestricted and wasteful printing.
Questions . . .
There were a variety of questions and comments from librarians. I will highlight several:
Hopefully, local issues raised at the forum, such as sharing account representatives with law firms or not having summer student help, will be dealt with on an individual basis by the companies. There are other issues, however, which LEXIS and WESTLAW could resolve in a way which would benefit all law schools and students. Librarians who attended the forum would be pleased if both companies would take positive action on the following issues:
What do you think would be helpful at the next forum?
Several ideas have been suggested for new formats:
Please submit your ideas to Vendor Roundtable Committee members Rosalie Sanderson at Emory University (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nancy McMurrer at the University of Washington (email@example.com), Gordon Russell of St. Thomas University (firstname.lastname@example.org), or April Schwartz of the University of Minnesota (email@example.com).