From the way you meet clients to the way you do research, everything’s more virtual in today’s pandemic climate. Practising Law Institute (PLI), known as the industry’s established provider of continuing legal education, also provides authoritative, practical guidance in an online format that makes finding information easy – even if your “office” is in your dining room.
Alexa Robertson, PLI’s Senior Director of Legal Information Services, answers some questions about PLI’s publishing offerings, including PLI PLUS, PLI’s online legal research system.
Many lawyers will know PLI for CLE. How would you describe PLI Press and the PLUS platform to those unfamiliar with this side of your organization?
As a nonprofit learning organization, we’re dedicated to keeping attorneys and professionals at the forefront of knowledge and expertise – this includes not only CLE and other training programs, but publications as well. PLI PLUS is our legal research database. We make all our publications available, so you have the benefit of finding answers in any of our renowned treatises, journals, or program course handbooks and transcripts. Subscribers to PLI PLUS have unlimited access to all PLI publications and course materials.
What makes your offering stand out in the crowded marketplace?
It is often said in legal publishing that “content is king.” For us, that is especially true. Our authors are experienced thought leaders who provide detailed and practical materials.
For example, we’ve been told that while there are other titles on regulation of broker-dealers, only the PLI treatise Broker-Dealer Regulation by Clifford Kirsch has a chapter that walks you through the FINRA registration process. These types of elements underscore the practicality of our titles, which can be guides that help you in your day-to-day practice. You can find these standout insights across our titles, including Manning on Estate Planning, Friedman on Leases, Fragomen on Immigration Fundamentals and Trial Handbook. A PLI treatise is a comprehensive resource.
What makes PLI PLUS especially useful is that it offers the complete library of these resources, so you can easily find the answers you’re looking for. And though it is a robust database covering 25 practice areas, we’re committed to making it as easy to use as possible so our customers can focus on the content, not the platform itself. For example, we call out the legal forms and checklists in our titles and allow you to download them to Word so they are easy to use. And with the “My Preferences” feature, users can customize the database settings to suit their needs.
What changes have you seen as a result of the pandemic?
When the legal world quite abruptly moved to remote work in March, we saw the effects right away; there was no one in their offices to receive our books. We immediately provided PLI PLUS access to print subscribers as a stopgap measure because attorneys and law schools across the country were shifting to remote work and remote learning. Throughout the summer and fall, we saw a large number of our print subscribers opt for electronic access through PLI PLUS. We hear people talk about the “new normal” and an increasing preference for resources that cater to remote work – that is something we will continue to respond to as we look ahead to the post-pandemic world.
How can non-subscribers benefit from PLUS?
Even if you don’t subscribe, we make some content freely available. The PLI Chronicle is our newest publication, aimed at giving voice to the diverse array of professionals working in the legal industry. It features concise articles contributed by legal scholars, practitioners and other experts on a range of timely topics that are practice-specific (such as renewable energy, SEC policy, copyright law, and pro bono advocacy) as well as relevant to the profession (such as negotiation skills, well-being in law firms, and remote work policies).
We also offer the Journal, which is an essential resource for timely, in-depth and authoritative analysis of topics impacting the law and the legal profession. Articles in this publication are more heavily researched, with footnote citations to relevant case laws and statutes, as well as links to interesting articles for further reading.
Looking ahead, what enhancements does PLUS have planned for the coming year?
Our enhancements come directly from customer requests we receive throughout the year – we have an ongoing dialogue with our customers that we find very beneficial. Next year we are focusing on integration between our programs and publication products, in response to our customers’ desire for easy access across all formats. We also plan to modernize the PLUS interface so that it is more in line with the main PLI website. We’re looking forward to working with our customers throughout the year to ensure we’re developing an enhanced site that meets their needs.
Practising Law Institute is a nonprofit learning organization dedicated to keeping attorneys and other professionals at the forefront of knowledge and expertise. PLI is chartered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York and was founded in 1933 by Harold P. Seligson. The organization provides the highest quality, accredited, continuing legal and professional education programs in a variety of formats which are delivered by more than 4,000 volunteer faculty including prominent lawyers, judges, investment bankers, accountants, corporate counsel, and U.S. and international government regulators. PLI publishes a comprehensive library of Treatises, Course Handbooks, Answer Books and Journals also available through the PLI PLUS online platform. The essence of PLI’s mission is its commitment to the pro bono community. View PLI’s upcoming live webcasts here.