From their beginnings in the late 1970s, Lexis and Westlaw rode the crest of an unprecedented wave of law firm growth and profitability. Law firm profits grew by 6% to 8% annually. Lexis and Westlaw expanded their content offerings and the cost of their online research services. Law firms and their librarians easily passed those costs along to clients. The economic downturn forced a dramatic reset of the legal industry that has sent tremors through the online legal publishing market. Law firms suddenly faced client pushback and demands for reduced prices. Lexis and Westlaw both started out with fairly simple "pay as you go" price plans with relatively few price points. By 2012, under the standard retail pricing, approximately 500,000 potential price points exist in the two systems. This seriously erodes the ability of lawyers to understand how to control the cost of online research.
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