Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 3 — March 2001
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West Group Acquires FindLaw

West Group has announced the acquisition of FindLaw, a pioneer in free online legal information and services and the Web's most highly trafficked legal portal, according to the company. The acquisition gives West Group, a leading provider of e-information and solutions to the legal marketplace, an expanded presence on the Web for serving legal professionals and their clients. It also provides FindLaw with the resources for continuing the development and expansion of its content and services. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The acquisition gives FindLaw, which will operate as an independent subsidiary, new resources and reach to even better serve legal professionals, businesses, and individuals in North America and around the world.

"From the time we founded FindLaw, we had a vision," said Stacy Stern, co-founder, president, and co-chair of the board of directors for FindLaw. "After 5 years, we were making that vision a reality, but had reached the point where we wanted to take a quantum leap. As we explored how to make this happen, we found out that West Group shared our vision of what FindLaw really could be. Now we look forward to working with West Group to continue to deliver on that vision and to make FindLaw an even more powerful tool."

Mike Wilens, West Group president, said FindLaw will operate as an independent subsidiary of West Group and will maintain its operations in Mountain View, California. FindLaw co-founders Stern and Tim Stanley will remain in their roles, as will other key technology, marketing, and publishing managers.

"Our plan is simple: We're going to build on the formula that made FindLaw what it is," said Wilens. "Everything that exists on FindLaw today—from case law to career services and continuing legal education—will remain. And we'll invest in the content and services to make the site even more powerful in the future."

According to the announcement, the FindLaw/West Group combination will result in the legal industry's most powerful collection of community, content, solutions, and services. This will give West Group a new channel for connecting to the legal community and to the individuals and businesses who need legal information or counsel, according to Wilens.

"The FindLaw acquisition plays an important role in West Group's Web strategy," said Wilens. "We'll leverage FindLaw traffic to deliver more enhanced West Group information and solutions to our customers. FindLaw also adds a powerful new dimension to our West Legal Directory service—dramatically expanding its reach and value and giving West Legal Directory a high-traffic Web presence unmatched by any other legal directory service in the world."

Other services and solutions that will be developed or expanded include an online, on-demand continuing legal education service. Additionally, Wilens said FindLaw's popular legal news service and legal jobs center can now take advantage of West Group's editorial and technology resources to provide even greater value to FindLaw users.

Wilens said the acquisition is a key step in the company's drive to create the most comprehensive Web presence for legal professionals, businesses, and individuals. "This is really about the convergence of community, content, technology tools, commerce, and services," he said. "FindLaw is a unique and successful site. Together, we plan to make it even better."

Source: West Group, Eagan, MN, 800/328-7990;

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