This can be a huge expense for a solo practitioner. However, since I am not a litigator, time and search-fee intensive services like Lexis or Westlaw are not necessary. Basic Google Scholar searches and the Delaware court websites can usually get specific cases I need (if any).
There are often questions related to corporate/securities law that come up where I need guidance, my arrogance notwithstanding. For that reason, The Corporate Counsel website is great even if it is separate from the print newsletter and its archives, which is helpful but not necessary. I also have a subscription to their sister site, Deal Lawyer, which seems to be money wasted. There just is not enough substance there to be worth the fee. I have used it for a couple of issues that would fall squarely into its area of expertise, but each time the site has come up short. It either has nothing that addresses the question or the information it does have is not helpful or could have been accessed faster from the SEC’s EDGAR site.
That brings me to Other Research Provider (not named at this time). They have great services for business lawyers looking for SEC documents that are not available on EDGAR or could easily be missed using EDGAR’s clumsy search engine. However, like dealing with Lexis and Westlaw, there is no easy pricing guide. You deal with salespeople as if you were buying a car. Do you feel like you are being ripped off? You probably are, at least in terms of paying more for the same service than the solo down the block.
Try getting a list of services for your subscription. You get a one page .pdf sales sheet without the list of services. They may be running specials next week or not. At least with the Deal Lawyer site, I knew exactly how much I was paying and what I was getting without having to talk to a sales person.
At some point substitutes won’t cut it anymore, and I will need the service. I will keep putting it off until it is unavoidable or they make the process less unenjoyable.