Information overload, especially in the form of too many emails, is a common issue for lawyers and those who support them. However, clients expect their adviser to know what issues are facing them and what is going on in their industry. And as to winning new clients, the inventive fee earner is on the lookout for that reason to give them a call.
There are many current awareness offerings out there of relevance to lawyers and other professionals, but the problem with many is they represent just one more source to go to. Linex’s specific strength is to bring this content together in one place. Linex crawls over 7,000 public web pages and RSS feeds, reviewed by Linex and deemed relevant to its audience. Sources include government and regulatory bodies, law firms, publishers, courts and more. Clients then add their own subscription sources in any digital format to create a comprehensive repository of alerts.
If you register on the site you can search core content on an ad-hoc basis and also have access to the free Alerts service. Free content includes Practical Law (PLC) abstracts, internet news, law firm commentaries, case law and legislation across a selection of subject areas. The free Alerts service currently includes 16 alerts, from Basel III and Bribery Act to Tax and UCITS. Most of the content is free to click through to on the publishers’ sites, but where you see the padlock symbol, this is subscription content, eg from PLC, unquote.com or i-law.com. All further alerts, customisation and functionality require a Linex subscription.
Smart Alerts are highly customisable and flexible. You can pick and choose what content goes into your alert. If you have a subscription news service such as Nexis or Thomson Reuters Newsroom, then the inbuilt search within Linex to these services makes it easy to “mash” the content. Alerts can be set to run automatically at a time and frequency that suits you. They can be set to go to groups of people; or people within your organisation can select their own alerts.
Content can come from your own subscription sources, any internet page that you ask Linex to track, an RSS feed, an email alert or the Linex search area. Another advantage of Linex is that it is content agnostic. All your alerts can have the same look and feel, with your own company logo. If you swap a subscription service, eg from Lawtel to Westlaw, this won’t affect the way the alert looks or the distribution list, thereby saving time for you and ensuring a common experience for the recipient.
Linex also helps with good knowledge management as rather than all alerts being lost when someone leaves, the archive is still available and it is very easy to manage names in the subscription area. The statistics area shows what content is being clicked through to, providing an indication of the value of the various sources; as regards subscription sources, this will help inform renewal decisions.
When I worked at a major tax and accounting firm we took the Linex service and had 200 alerts running on a combination of clients, industries and targets. The feedback from one fee earner was that he no longer had to view separately his MergerMarket alert, FT alert, Companies House information, Stock Exchange news and Google news and check his clients’ websites; he could get it all in one alert and his inbox was so much the better for it. He could see at a glance all the headlines and first sentences and if he went on holiday he could ignore the email alerts, safe in the knowledge that he could view the archive online.
Linex have over 50 Smart Alerts clients, most in the UK and some in the US, though closer to 200 hundred clients total. Over 104,000 individuals have registered with Linex since it started in 2002.
Whilst it is the most popular subscription service, Smart Alerts isn’t all that Linex is about. Linex also provides a newsletter-style service. The audience may be the same or may actually be external clients; and the newsletter may include your own content. Another service is the Panel submission tool. With this tool law firms can use Linex for submitting their materials to their client where they are one of a panel. The advantage for the client is that they get all their materials in one interface and for the law firm a very simple way of submitting their documents, knowing that they will be easily accessible and secure.
Fiona Fogden is Customer Relationship Manager at Linex Systems. She joined the company in April 2012 having previously been a customer of the product. She has over 15 years’ experience as a librarian in the professional services sector.
Editors’ note. This article is part of a series on digital products from publishers large and small. More will follow. Ideas? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.