By Kevin O'Keefe

Faceted Search Now on Legal Blogs, Extensibility of an Open Publishing Platform is Showing Itself

Kudos to Cleary Gottlieb, a New York City based firm with 1,200 lawyers worldwide, on launching the first blog, that I know of, using faceted search.

The Cleary Antitrust Watch not only better serves its readers, but also demonstrates the extensibility of open legal publishing, and it’s accompanying open publishing software, as it gains on the closed paywall/subscription driven legal publishing of the large legal publishers.

Faceted search, also known as faceted navigation or faceted browsing, is a technique often used in eCommerce brands to help users analyze, organize, and filter large sets of product inventory based on filters such as gender, category, size, color, price, and brand.

Customers, today, expect to find what they are looking for as fast as possible. 80% of e-commerce customers search for a product the minute they hit a site.

This classification system aims to increase product discoverability and conversions by excluding any objects that don’t meet the user’s selected criteria.

Cleary Antitrust Watch serves up a faceted search broken down by topics, jurisdictions and industries to wade through an unusually large number of blog posts – and growing.


Brian Glaser, Cleary’s Marketing Communications Manager, explains the firm’s need for faceted search.

“Our antitrust team is known for its work in multiple countries and across multiple industries—the blog had to reflect that deep reservoir of experience and allow readers to easily sort through an already large collection of posts that’s set to keep growing”

Building, maintaining and adding core updates and features, such as a faceted search, on a custom basis on a rogue/agency driven site, versus on a SaaS platform, is tough to scale. It’s also expensive for the customer.

But get something like a faceted search on a SaaS publishing platform for open legal publishing on blogs and you have something.

As LexBlog’s Director of Technology Scott Fennell says, LexBlog’s working with Cleary was the perfect situation for adding a faceted search to our managed WordPress platform.

This is something we’ve considered in various ways over the years. Cleary Gottlieb was a partner in scoping a helpful product that we thought would be useful for many other sites.

LexBlog’s Customer Success Specialist Kira Wilson hit on the win-win for the customer and platform provider when you respond to a customer’s request with the development of a feature on the software company’s publishing platform, versus doing custom work.

Back in our agency days we may have built a similar feature as a one-off solution for the Cleary Antitrust Watch site only. But our new approach is still modern and scalable without turning away valuable ideas from our clients. Customer input is something that many modern SaaS companies have challenges with and we’ve managed to break that cycle with our work on faceted search.

A faceted search feature is just one example of how extensible a SaaS publishing platforms is. It’s also an example of how open publishing on open source publishing software is going to eclipse proprietary closed legal publishing, which limits the niches being covered and access to the law in general.

Publishing law firms such as Cleary have at their disposable inexpensive feature rich publishing platforms that compete with the traditional legal publishers.

Hat tip to Alec Downing for his reporting on the Cleary faceted search development, from which I pulled from.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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