I just received an announcement from Bloomberg Law that they have just inked a deal with the 25 US offices of DLA Piper to bring Bloomberg Law to the desktop all of the 1,400 attorneys in those offices. This is by far the biggest coup that Bloomberg has had to date within the Big US Law Firms. It is actually exciting news to hear, and should cause a few wrinkles in the business of legal publishing.
Right off the top of my head I have a few questions that pop out on this deal.
- Who lost DLA Piper’s US business?? (I’d find it very hard to believe that a firm, even of DLA Piper’s size, would want to carry Westlaw, Lexis AND Bloomberg on their annual budgets.)
- If DLA Piper did dump one of the other vendors, what resources does DLA Piper lose in the change? Does making a deal like this for the US office affect future deals with legal vendors outside the US?
- Did the deal with BNA come into play on the negotiations of a US office-wide agreement?
- How are attorneys going to adjust to the new platform? I know DLA Piper has had Bloomberg in a more limited access role for a while now (in fact they were one of the first, if not the first firms to jump on the Bloomberg trial when it rolled out.)
This announcement will make a number of firms stand up and take note. There is a lot of talk about BigLaw firms going with a single-vendor, or at least a primary vendor with another smaller deal with the other. It’s apparent that the folks at Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis are taking notes as well, and attempting to set up barriers to going down this route (such as no longer offering pay-go or credit card access for one-off research requests.) With a legitimate third party in play, it may shake up the game a bit and make for some interesting times ahead for both the law firms and the legal publishers.
I’m hoping to learn the answers to the questions above. As I do, I’ll do some follow-up posts with what I learn. I applaud DLA Piper for testing the waters on this idea, and look forward to seeing if other firms follow suit. Things just got interesting!
Here’s the press release I received: