Since Fastcase’s big announcement last week, I’ve continued to think about what it might mean for me as a practicing small-town lawyer in a small state. And the more I think about it, the more I realize it will probably be a long time before Full Court Press publishes much for me.
I want somebody to compete with my state bar for state-specific treatises and practice guides. (Yes, West publishes some Wisconsin materials, but not enough.) Not because I think the books my state bar publishes are bad or necessarily overpriced, but because they could be a lot better. Competition spurs creativity.
I doubt Full Court Press will compete directly with state bars, though. I expect they will actively avoid it. Fastcase needs state bars to reach the user numbers that allow it to compete with West and Lexis. Bars pay for Fastcase. I doubt Fastcase wants to strain those relationships.
That’s the situation right now, anyway. I have to wonder, though, if Fastcase has a plan to reduce its reliance on bar associations. Many bars are facing tough times and declining revenue. I have to think Fastcase is working on a long-term Plan B.
Full Court Press is undoubtedly a big part of that plan. But for now, I’m guessing its strategy is to gain ground over West and Lexis, bit by bit, while playing nice with state bars.