Gary Rodrigues has written a blog post on the dangers of cutting editorial staffs at the large law publishers. In essence, he argues that the large publishers’ basic advantage over free web-based services will be lost since a skilled in-house editorial staff is what built the publishers’ brands, drove the profit margins, and today, in a digital environment of free information and proliferating software and cloud-based offerings, the editorial staffs represent the only genuine “head-start” these publishers have.
“The contribution of editorial to legal publishing has always been underestimated and undervalued by corporate owners. Editorial built the business and established the standards on which the reputations of the major legal publishing houses are based.”
Later, he asserts:
“‘Editorial’ was also largely responsible for the key product development initiatives that drove growth. The loss is not restricted to primary content. New titles and new editions of secondary works require intensive editorial work that cannot be replaced by automated processes.”
In 2014, have we reached the point at which legal insight and analysis can be automated?