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Capitalizing on Legal Research: the cost-efficiency of AI advances in software as a service (SaaS)

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The Value of Legal Research

In legal practice, expenses classified as adjustable costs have traditionally included the time-consuming activity of legal research. The once costly activity of case preparation has been transformed with the introduction of web-based, software as a service (“SaaS”) subscription services. Small firms can now capitalize on research like larger firms. Online services provide equal access to electronic records at a fraction of the cost. This has allowed firms to trim upfront costs for legal research, lowering initial estimates of case representation.

Legal Research and Other Online Services Redefined

When Lexis Advance and Westlaw first launched web-based tools for case research and discovery, the legal research process was redefined. Soon thereafter, the legal field sought innovations to meet a range of practice needs requiring software support. The demand for simple pricing and zero fee services by small law firm practices classifying research services as overhead expense, created the conditions for new software as a service marketplace entrants like Casetext, offering the benefit of  leveraged value-for-money solutions in the form of fixed fee unlimited usage pricing packages.

Today, the number of firms not prioritizing cost recovery by billing clients for legal research and e-discovery expenses has vastly increased. In addition to standard research tools like those offered by Casetext, Westlaw, and LexisNexis, Law firms can also take advantage of services for creation of a custom suite of in-house tools, such as a compendium of adverse case histories between corporate clients in service of future merger and acquisition cases. With these options, e-discovery tools, and online legal research sources connecting firms to county, state, and federal record, attorneys can provide clients with more effective and cost-efficient services than have ever been available to the market.

A Comparison of Legal SaaS

Law firms seeking the most value-for-money in legal research will find this comparison of monthly subscriptions listed by lead SaaS services available online informative. As evaluated here, costs associated with legal research subscriptions are relatively affordable, allowing firms to absorb research expenses formerly assigned to client billing. Here is a list of online legal research SaaS service providers’ monthly and annual subscription rates for a single-attorney practice and dual attorney practice requiring access to federal and state record of cases and appellate rulings, and legislation.

Subscription for a Single Attorney Practice

MonthlyAnnual
Westlaw$277$1300-$7200
Lexis Advance$173$2580-$3726
Casetext$65$780
Fastcase$65$695
Casemaker$60$600

In our comparison of the legal research SaaS listed here, we located the following information about the listed fee-for-service subscription plans:

  • Westlaw – offers subscribers a custom service planning feature that allows for designation of type of record and other legal research criteria for a monthly price of $277.00,
  • Lexis Advance – subscribers must purchase an annual subscription plan. The basic annual subscription provides access to federal and state records at a rate equivalent to a $173 a month for single-attorney use. The cost of subscription for two or more attorneys is equivalent to $228 a month. Contracts are assigned a $25 per month administration fee in addition to the base service rate.
  •  Fastcase – the basic plan costing $65 is a no contract required subscription to appellate case record search.
  •  Casetext – to avoid the higher monthly $89 single-attorney rate (and $73 per additional user), subscribers can save with an annual subscription that reduces the rate to $65 per month plus an additional $55 per user.
  • Casemaker. The prices shown are for its lowest tier and apply in the majority of states. It appears that attorneys in states where the bar offers Casemaker are not able to purchase it on their own.

New subscribers can gain insight about the legal research software application as service providers compared here by signing up for a free trial. Casetext’s Guide to Free and Affordable Law Firm Tools, shows law firm’s how to Obtain cases, public record, court filings, legal forms, jury instructions, legislative materials, and more without a subscription to Westlaw or LexisNexis with its alternative AI-based legal search application. 

If in the market for an online legal research service, a firm’s current research activities will inevitably drive selection of a subscription plan meeting the needs of their practice. Though the product comparisons listed here are based on price, subscription cost is unlikely the single factor determining if an e-discovery service is the right fit.

Reduce Legal Research Costs with C.A.R.A.

The time is now. With the advent of artificial intelligence, attorneys can turn the challenge of legal research into case completion. Casetext CARA A.I. outperforms similar competitor legal research SaaS offering attorneys optimized records search, Casetext’s CARA A.I. algorithmic search matches facts, legal issues, and jurisdiction with a case. Try Casetext and make the switch. Law firm subscribers can save more than $2,000 per attorney, annually.  

To learn more about AI Legal Search and the value-added secret of research subscriptions for law firm, visit www.casetext.com

Casetext automates litigation tasks to help attorneys efficiently provide high-quality representation.