Business & Company Information: Sources & Strategies - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Business & Company Information: Sources & Strategies

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  1. Business & Company Information: Sources & Strategies Research Refresher Laura M. Scott March 27, 2009

  2. Goals for today • Cover the basics of company research in law practice • Strategies and favorite sources • Provide examples of available online tools and their features • Discuss the kinds of information you can (and can’t) expect to find

  3. Why research companies? • Marketing and business development • Conflicts checking • Litigation • Due diligence • Competitive intelligence: research other law firms

  4. Scope of factual research • Depends on: • reason for the research • time constraints • financial constraints

  5. Internet research tools • Free & fee-based tools • Some free tools require registration • Some free partial access • Lots of fee-based (per search & subscription) sources • Don’t forget outside resources • e.g., Local public and university business libraries, government libraries, private subscription libraries

  6. Researching Companies

  7. Scenario • You’re preparing to visit a potential corporate client. What do you want to know? • Info about the people you’re meeting with • Info about the company’s business • Any recent legal issues they’ve had • Their competitors • Trends in their industry

  8. General tips for company research • Know whether the company is public or private. • Kinds & sources of info may differ • Public - SEC filings • Private - D&B, other private company reports, Secretary of State’s office • What if you don’t know? • Try Hoover’s

  9. Good example of a combination free and fee-based source.

  10. General tips, cont. • Start with the company website… • Especially the “About us,” “Investor relations,” and “Company history” sections • ...but do your own research, too.

  11. Earnings conference call

  12. News of potential legal interest

  13. General tips, cont. • Consider whether a fee-based source would add value to your research. • Save time • The only source? • Nicely formatted output • Support • Better search and navigation functionality

  14. Specific kinds of company information

  15. General background • Company info, general industry info and competitors • Why? • Marketing & good client service – important to understand client’s business. • Sources (examples): • SEC filings and annual reports to shareholders • Industry-specific journals • Company reports • Hoover’s • Business Source Complete (Datamonitor company reports; industry journals; market reports) • Mergent Online • Bloomberg, Lexis, and Westlaw • Yahoo! Finance

  16. Finding Business Source Complete & Mergent

  17. Includes many scholarly business journals and useful profiles and reports

  18. Report is based mostly on SEC filings, but provides a quick executive summary.

  19. Another useful fee-based source for company info. (Find it the same way you’d find Business Source Complete.)

  20. Good for a quick overview Another cool feature: Variety of output options - simple “tear sheet” to complex customized reports.

  21. Different amounts of info, depending on your subscription

  22. “Westlaw Business,” an example of a fee-based source for securities filings Lots of search options

  23. Business & Legal News • News about the company, including management changes, legal issues, trends affecting its industry • Why? – Understand the client’s business and industry and potential legal needs • Sources • LexisNexis (or Westlaw) • Bloomberg • Business journals (e.g., WSJ.com,) • Local/regional business newspapers • e.g., Bizjournals.com • Industry-specific trade journals • Try Business Source Complete or Dialog

  24. Great for local/regional business news.

  25. Lots of cities/regions