Martindale-Hubbell Connected Redesign

Lexis-Nexis gave a sneak peak of some upcoming changes to their Martindale- Hubbell Connected social network site for lawyers.

They cleaned up the user interface, with new colors, improved navigation and improved searching.

The current Connected site has been a disappointment. I have a lot of hope for the site because it has the financial backing of Lexis-Nexis and the ginormous content repository of Lexis-Nexis.

They are trying to better combine the public lawyer directory from to the Connected social network. That means they are also redesigning

One surprise was the inclusion of third party advertising. There was an ad for the  Cadillc SRX prominently on the page during part of the demonstration. (I wonder what Paul Lippe would think about placing advertisements in Legal OnRamp.)

They are also creating a subscription model so that you need to pay for access to the full features of the site. It sounds like you get full access to Connected if you have a subscription to Martindale. They were dodgy on the details during the demo. You need to be a premium member to create a group and to send messages to people that you are not “connected” to.

The site will try to push content to you based on you interests. Supposedly the more complete your profile, the better focused the information that will be pushed to you.

They added a “Diversity Information” section, sponsored by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.  (Unfortunately, there is not much there for a white guy like me.)

The Martindale Peer Review gets a prominent display and lots of detail on how the rating was compiled. That may resuscitate lawyers’ interest in paying for that AV or BV rating.

They are continuing the emphasis on groups within the community. They went a step further and allowed for subgroups within groups. Personally, I think the use of groups is over-emphasized, merely leading to fragmented content. Groups are great for focusing an filtering information. You only need to filter when there is a big flow of information. Connected has too little information flowing to need many filters. LinkedIn had groups for a long time that merely acted as profile badges. Even now that LinkedIn groups can have substantive discussions, most are filled with self-promotion and spam.

They are also changing the privacy, allowing non-members to see the content in public groups and allowing Google to index the public groups. (I’m not sure there is much content to index.)

The redesign is scheduled to be deployed on June 2.

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6 Responses to Martindale-Hubbell Connected Redesign

  1. Adrian Dayton May 21, 2010 at 11:26 am #


    Thanks for the summary, I couldn’t make the call yesterday to hear about the new features.

    It is nice to see that MH Connected is closer to figuring out a model that could lead to sustainability.

    The big question now, can they reach a critical mass large enough to make that model work? Will the rate of growth continue if people need to “pay to play?”

    • Doug Cornelius May 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

      Adrian –

      I don’t think its a matter of size, but a matter of quality content. Connected is never going to be able to match the size and connective-ness of LinkedIn or Facebook.

      They really need to tie into the other Lexis systems to deliver a value proposition. Jon Lin, in his comment below, makes it sound like this redesign is the first step in that direction.

      By tying Connected to the Martindale public profile, they immediately resuscitate interest in Martindale profiles.

  2. Jon Lin May 21, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Doug – Yes, the main thing we are trying to achieve here is redesign Connected is and has always been a part of – it’s just the current design doesn’t convey that and that’s what we are trying to address. Agree with you completely with bringing in LexisNexis content, but without first cleaning up the site organization, navigation, and searching, it would be fruitless. Adding more stuff to a site where users can’t find what’s already there actually makes things worse, not better.

    As for the premium membership, it’s a freemium model like you see on many other sites. Everyone can join for free, like they can today, but to be able to do more, users have the ability to upgrade. Some law firms have premium membership added to their Martindale-Hubbell subscription so that all of their professionals will automatically have it. Finally, I must have misspoke about privileges about sending messages. Anyone can send a message through the system to someone in their network, but only premium members can send messages through the system to other members that they are NOT “connected” to.

    • Doug Cornelius May 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

      Jon –

      Thanks for the clarification on the pricing model and features. That aspect was dropped in rather awkwardly at the end of the presentation. I also edited the port above to make the clarification about sending messages.

      I think the changes go a long way to bring Martindale and Connected together visually and substantively. The current disconnect between the two is jarring.

      In the end it’s all about content. So making it easier to navigate to and find good content is important. Hopefully we will see more and better content making its way into Connected.

  3. Doug Cornelius May 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    For another review of the Martindale-Hubbell Connected redesign, read Robert Ambrogi’s Sneak Peak at the New Martindale-Hubbell Connected


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