Eversheds' FT.com deal signals online first
Legal Week reports
Eversheds has become the first UK law firm to act as an online publisher after signing an innovative content deal with FT.com, the internet arm of the Financial Times.The two organisations are to set up a co-branded website to deliver a breaking news service that can be filtered to meet the needs of individuals or corporations.The move is part of Eversheds’ wider ambition to sell a broad-based information service, including legal content, to the firm’s clients. The service will entail Eversheds filtering and editing the FT’s content for the specific client requests.According to Kevin Doolan, the firm’s head of e-strategy, the FT.com deal is one of 10 elements of its new web-delivered service, which is still being piloted.Doolan, an Eversheds partner who until January headed the firm’s banking and financial services practice, said the firm’s broad plc client list made the service economically viable.Although FT.com has some 120 deals to supply content to other organisations’ web-sites, a spokesperson confirmed that Eversheds would be the first to re-package its content and sell it on over the web.The idea is that clients will have sufficient trust in their legal advisers to buy into a broad package of online services. For example, a client could configure the FT.com service to send them all the news stories that mention their company and its competitors.Doolan said three of the 10 online products were already being piloted by a small number of users. The full range of services, which includes a set of CPD-accredited training modules for in-house counsel, is expected to go live in the autumn.Doolan said: “Our clients are willing to pay for content online as long as we can ensure it is relevant and of the highest quality.” He added: “The project’s timing [which coincided with a sharp drop in the valuations on internet stocks] was very fortuitous… by the time we started, the days of free content were going, if not gone. Now we are back to a business model that we understand.”
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