Prism Legal Blog Interviews Fastcase Co-Founder Ed Walters

Here’s the preamble to the interview. We’d suggest a good read of this interview because this nimble and switched on publisher based out of Washington DC will be in your corner of the world sooner than you think


COVID-19 Prelude

I started interviewing Ed Walters, Fastcase co-founder and CEO, well before the COVID crisis started. This crisis will last a while and what happens after it remains uncertain. Early signs, however, point to large law firms cutting costs or taking other steps to conserve cash. As I noted in my post last week, Rethinking How Lawyers Work Post Crisis, now is the time law firm management needs to plan for what comes next.

Unrelated to the crisis, firms have been considering reducing online legal research expenses by choosing Westlaw or Lexis but not both. My interview with Ed here is helpful information for any firm that wants to consider sole sourcing digital legal research as we all adjust to the crisis and whatever comes beyond it.


Original Intro: In the last few years, many large law firms have moved to sole-source for legal research. That is, they select one and only one of Westlaw or LexisNexis. I recently talked to Fastcase co-founder and CEO Ed Walters about this trend. He shared that it was creating opportunities for Fastcase in large law firms. This intrigued me so I interviewed him to learn more. I start with a brief background before turning to the interview.


Until recently, almost all large law firms subscribed to both RELX LexisNexis or Thomson Reuters Westlaw. Both provide comprehensive legal primary and secondary sources via proprietary online systems.

In the 1990s and aughts, the legal research market seemed a virtual duopoly, mature, and staid. Almost all large law firms used both services. During that time, the change in the market seemed slow and limited. Developments I recall included moving to natural language queries, acquiring other providers, adding new data sources, and offering fixed price contracts.

Though I was not directly involved in the small law market, I saw a more dynamic market there for online research. In 2001, a mutual friend not in law introduced me to Ed, a fellow Washington-area resident. Ed and I have stayed in touch since.

Over the last 20 years, Fastcase has captured a significant portion of the smaller law market, both by direct marketing and by arrangements with state bar associations. In the interview below, I ask Ed about the how and why large firms now license Fastcase.


How did Fastcase get started?

Read interview at.