In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert sit down with Joe Breda, President of Bloomberg Law, and Mathew Rotenberg, CEO and co-founder of Dashboard Legal, to discuss Bloomberg’s recent acquisition of Dashboard Legal. The acquisition aims to expand Bloomberg’s reach within the legal workflow market and enhance its suite of tools for the legal industry.

Dashboard Legal, born from Rotenberg’s experience as a practicing attorney, focuses on streamlining project management and collaboration processes for lawyers. By integrating Dashboard Legal’s features with Bloomberg Law’s existing tools, such as AI-powered contract solutions, the combined platform seeks to provide a comprehensive legal workstation that addresses the pain points of managing the increasing complexity and volume of information in legal work.

The acquisition also presents an opportunity to leverage generative AI in a hyper-context-sensitive manner, allowing lawyers to access relevant information and perform tasks like document comparison and compliance checks within a secure, controlled environment. This approach aims to address law firms’ concerns about data privacy and control while still harnessing the power of AI.

Breda and Rotenberg emphasize the potential for the combined platform to serve not only large law firms but also small to mid-sized firms and in-house legal departments. The user-friendly interface and accessibility of Dashboard Legal, coupled with Bloomberg’s resources and credibility, make it an attractive solution for legal professionals across the board.

As the integration process begins, Rotenberg will join Bloomberg Law’s senior leadership team, working closely with Breda to expand the platform’s capabilities and deliver on the promise of an AI-enabled, content-rich legal workflow solution. The acquisition marks an exciting development in the legal technology landscape, with the potential to significantly improve the way lawyers work and collaborate.

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Marlene Gebauer 0:06
Welcome to The Geek in Review. Podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal profession. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert 0:13
And I’m Greg Lambert. And today we have a special episode where we’re bringing on our friend Joe Breda . And he is president of Bloomberg Law, and Mathew Rotenberg, who CEO and co founder at Dashboard Legal. And it was announced this morning, by the time we get this thing published, that Bloomberg has acquired Dashboard Legal and order to expand Bloomberg reach within the legal workflow market. So Joe and Mathew, we appreciate you guys jumping on the call with us today to talk more about what this means for the two of you and for the legal industry.

Joe Breda 0:50
I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. Thanks.

Marlene Gebauer 0:55
Well, Joe, with the acquisition of Dashboard Legal Bloomberg laws clearly aiming to enhance its suite of workflow tools for the legal industry. Would you describe how you envision Dashboard Legal’s Project management and collaboration features, integrating with Bloomberg laws, existing tools, such as AI powered contract solutions?

Joe Breda 1:16
So that’s an excellent question. I do want to make sure we allow Mat to explain for your audience a little bit, exactly what Dashboard Legal does. And then you know how we’re going to fold those into the ecosystem will make a lot more sense. But I will tell you that, you know, we started as a research platform, we definitely have ambitions to extend into attorneys workflows, we launched Bloomberg Law contract solutions. Last summer, and this is the next step towards fulfilling that vision. If you wouldn’t mind. I’d like Mat, to talk a little bit about Dashboard Legal and what it does for his customers and our customers.

Mathew Rotenberg 2:01
Sure. Yeah, happy to start there. So um, you know, Dashboard Legal was was really born from a pain, I experienced seven years practicing big law on New York City. And it’s really just about how lawyers are getting organized and collaborating. And if you look at the time, lawyers spend on process, just getting things from A to Z without things slipping through the cracks. It’s a vast majority of their time, and they’re doing these project management processes in their inbox. So the goal of Dashboard Legal from the beginning, now we’ve had a number of iterations. But the thesis has always been the same. How do we smooth out the project management matter management components that are required to practice law to be an effective attorney? That’s, that’s really what we’ve been delivering up till now, both with our kind of associate workflow, persona, and then more recently to partners and general counsel’s, but where I think the overlap really appeared. And I’ll obviously let Joe speak to this, too, was that our customers, lawyers, were identifying their biggest pain points around project management. They didn’t necessarily use that term, but they’re talking about just managing the increased complexity and volume of information that they’re responsible for, and that they need help. Now that doesn’t take away from their work with with document drafting, and, you know, all kinds of other mature categories in eDiscovery, and burgeoning ones like AI. But the really, I think the pain point is that 80% of the time they’re spending during their day, just trying to manage all the moving pieces.

Marlene Gebauer 3:48
Yeah, I’ve I’ve basically heard this too. But it’s, it’s just so hard to keep up with things, and sort of have one space where they can sort of see where everything is happening.

Greg Lambert 4:00
And I’ve seen their their Outlook folder structure. So I understand what you mean, by using Outlook to manage the projects. Yeah,

Mathew Rotenberg 4:10
it’s one tool. You know, lawyers are using one tool for so many different types of needs. And at the end of the day, the inbox is just one electronic filing cabinet of other people’s priorities. And people engage in this in this daily routine of dragging and dropping and lessly searching. And we’re trying to really alleviate that pain point and bring them some visualizations, some clear understanding of where their projects stand, who’s doing what, and do so in a way that it feels natural, feels modern and really slots nicely into their existing workflow. Yeah, yeah.

Joe Breda 4:46
I mean, and so, you know, we came to the same conclusion. You know, researching the market is just such a gap in just tooling for collaboration, and managing where for lawyers, you know, partners and GCS tell us is difficult for me to understand like exactly what the state of of different assignments, where they are in the process who’s who’s got what, what stock. And by using this tool, it really provides a lot of visibility. So I think that’s where Mat is going with, you know, young attorneys who start out from school totally get this like it’s they expect to have some kind of ecosystem to work in. At but getting the partners and more senior attorneys and supervising attorneys who really see the value of being able to understand what’s going on in these growing teams is is a really big part of the value proposition where where this kind of joins up with with a broader vision for us is, you know, and I was, Greg and I were talking a week or so ago, or maybe three weeks by now down and down his place. And, you know, we have a lot of really cool content and functionality in Bloomberg Law, that even attorneys who haven’t don’t know about it, because you have to go that extra step of knowing about the tool, knowing how to use it, logging in, what’s my password, in an ideal world, that stuff would just kind of flow in, as you’re working. And, you know, we started Bloomberg Law, we first launched a web product in 2009. So we’re kids compared to some of the other competitors. And so for us, the the change curve has always been, you know, part part of our fundamental challenge, I think we’ve done really well, we had to really bring differentiated products to market and get people to stop what they’re doing for a second and take a look at other, you know, other tools outside what they might have learned in law school. And I think cracking that code, a lot of it is finally bringing the content and the promise of AI into the workflow that the attorney is actually using. And so that’s why we’re so excited about this. And that’s, that’s the mission where we’re about to embark on together.

Greg Lambert 7:21
Yeah, oh, man, you know, take taking the two companies and putting them together. Now, how do you how do you see the new offering kind of shaping the way that you know, the future of legal workflow management? And what what is it about the Bloomberg content in the platform that you think will add to the current product?

Mathew Rotenberg 7:42
Sure. So I think Dashboard Legal today is is the structure by which legal work is getting done, it’s a skeleton for it. And there’s other components that need to be in there as well, content is a big part of it. And so I think some of the some of the initial integrations are going to be focused on embedding the the incredible Bloomberg content library into into natural ways within the Dashboard Legal structure. But taking it one step further. AI is changing the way law is being practiced. We all know that that’s happening. And one of the some of the earliest conversations I had with Joe and the other senior leadership team just kind of cemented that, that understanding that we both share. But the key, I think that’s that everyone’s coming to realize about AI is that it has to be it has to be implemented in the right way with the right use case very deliberately. And putting those AI components into a structured workflow with content that’s relevant. And then allowing the AI tool to access summarize, you know, get the information they need, visualize what they need, when they need it, is the opportunity for kind of these three tools to come together for, for the workstation of the future, the legal workstation of the future. That’s the goal. That’s always been the goal. And And honestly, you know, personally, it’s just it’s exciting to, to see such alignment on where we think the practice of law is going, and to have the incredible talent and resources and credibility and leadership that Bloomberg and Joe and his team provide.

Marlene Gebauer 9:26
So want to focus a little bit on on generative AI. So, you know, Dashboard Legal Mat was was developed by attorneys like you and Fedor Garin who recognize the need for like more efficient task tracking and collaboration in law firms. So, you know, how do you plan to leverage this, this this kind of insider perspective to drive further innovation at Bloomberg Law, especially considering the role of generative AI and other advancing technologies in the legal sector?

Mathew Rotenberg 10:02
Yeah, um, you know, I think, I think we were and we’re in alignment with Joe on this, too, that the, the needs of a lawyer are still going to stay the same, which is they need to be the trusted adviser, they need to provide counsel, and, you know, and assurances and credibility to the most important aspects of businesses in people’s lives. And the way the smoothing out of that processes is really the opportunity. So the skeletal structure the content, and talking about AI AI is as good as the content that you feed it. So if we have the workflows that they’re working on, you know, you’re working on a litigation, you’re working on a big transaction, and it’s in it’s in a workspace, it’s condensed into a workspace, you can do an incredible amount of sophisticated things to manipulate and surface that data. So that’s kind of the thesis is that it’s going into, it’s going into a certain workspace, and then we can leverage AI to, to do a whole number of things, you know, draft, summarize pulling information, collaborate, automatically create tasks automatically communicate with people, all of that just more fluid workflow that really helps alleviate the complexity and volume problems that we’re hearing.

Joe Breda 11:22
Yeah, let me give you just a concrete example. Imagine you set up a dashboard, or basically a workspace for a transaction, you know, consider it to it’s a deal room type thing, it becomes a deal room, right? So you have collaborators that you add there, you have task lists that are assigned to various people. And then you have documents, drafts of things, you know, attend, exhibits, things like that. So now you have this little kind of constrained library, this is everything about this thing that you’re working on. A lot of times, what you’ll want is I need an answer out of something in this pile. So I want to know, what are the closing conditions? I want to know like compare these two versions and tell me what changed. If I have a space setup for litigation, and I have some drafts in there, I might want to say check this thing for compliance with local court rules. And those are all the types of things that you can do with generative AI and a workflow like Dashboard Legal. It’s like hyper context sensitive AI, like right when you need it. And, you know, we individually, Marlene and Greg, we’ve talked about this, kind of off to the side in various conversations, one of the big challenges for law firms to really take full advantage of generative AI is they have to figure out a way to use it, but still retain control of really important client data and be assured that, that it’s not going anywhere. And as much as we’d like to say, look, we’re Bloomberg, you should definitely trust us with it. And I think you should, there’s still a lot of discomfort around moving my files from point A to point B and losing losing kind of control of it. The way Mat and his team have integrated, I manage and net docs into the Dashboard Legal so that they’re, they’re not really copies. They’re just kind of like a virtual reference to where the documents continue to live safe and sound in the law firms infrastructure, we think operating through that paradigm will allow us to bring generative AI to client workflow in a way that we haven’t seen in a lot of places.

Greg Lambert 13:55
In Joe, just to build on that with the clients. Do you see this acquisition as an ability for you to kind of expand your reach into maybe the small to mid sized law firms as well who may not have a huge, you know, it or Ay, ay? Ay? Yeah, way to manage projects like this, like the big law firms do. 100%.

Joe Breda 14:21
I mean, I think, you know, if you’re a sole practitioner, where you probably don’t need a collaboration tool to work with yourself, you might but you know, email might work for you. But small law firms, you know, face the same challenges as big law firms, in a lot of cases without without the support, right without the IT departments as you stated, and having a platform that, that doesn’t need to be configured to the nth degree to make sense, right out of the box, I think is really powerful. So we see opportunity at big law A mid size firms, but also in house legal departments that are continuing to grow and take on more work in house. And they are really acutely feeling the pain of managing all the all the tasks that are in flight.

Mathew Rotenberg 15:15
Yeah. And just to add on add to that point, I think that the CLM products that have gone to market have proven themselves to be valuable in a certain way. But just too much, in a lot of other ways. too costly, a lot of people were being priced out of the market, if the implementation just takes way too long, and it’s too expensive. And so for the in house teams looking for something just lighter, and to actually address the day to day workflow, Dashboard Legal. Power BI Power BI Bloomberg, I think is a really nice solution that is accessible. And, you know, that’s our goal. And the whole the whole, the whole ethos of Dashboard Legal. And what Joe is caught onto is just making something pleasant making it elegant, simple. And that’s that’s hard to do. But lawyers deserve it. And that’s why we’re building a tailor tool to facilitate legal work.

Joe Breda 16:15
Yeah. Yeah, we’d love to give you a demo, if you haven’t seen it at some point, but it has the kind of ease of use that you expect from like a consumer level product, it makes sense. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, and you don’t need an IT staff to use it.

Marlene Gebauer 16:36
Dashboard Legal powered by Bloomberg, I like the sound of that.

Joe Breda 16:39
Yeah, we do too.

Marlene Gebauer 16:44
So, so Mathew, the feedback from existing Dashboard Legal clients, like Naveen Pai at Gunderson Dettmer seem to be pretty positive on this acquisition. I’m wondering now that Dashboard Legal is part of the Bloomberg Law platform, you know, have you heard from other clients? You know, are they also feeling positive? Have they given any feedback about how to further you know, enhance the platform’s capabilities, you know, just sort of meet their needs?

Mathew Rotenberg 17:12
Yeah, well, we haven’t, we haven’t publicized it yet. So just just a few customers are aware of what’s going on. But you know, I think I’ll now take the bag out of the bag today, yeah, it is now. But, you know, for our existing customers, nothing, nothing is gonna immediately change, I mean, the product is still going to work the same way, they’re gonna get the same level of service from me and our team. And then what we’re able to do with Bloomberg is, is really a tremendous opportunity, which is to expand the offering to include items on our roadmap that were way far out. And now we have the resources and talent to to deliver those things. And we’ve been getting feedback for years. That’s, that’s what’s led to the success of this is just iterating quickly. And I think that the combined forces will allow us to really deliver the highest quality, legal workflow tool on the market. Yeah,

Joe Breda 18:07
I mean, if I think it’s important to, to understand the way we think about how Dashboard Legal fits in and how you know how important it is to our overall strategy. I really see this as, as the hub of a bunch of connected workflows. So it’s a hub that has spokes to research and content. It has, it’s a hub that has connections to drafting tools, you can imagine a future suite of products, legal spend management, litigation hold these things that all connect and are kind of centered around a matter but but are integrated in a way so you can go from one to another right? So if there’s a there’s a matter of litigation matter in house counsel was dealing with in Dashboard Legal, they can initiate a litigation hold and track it from within that software. So you know, to create too great, a whole modular system that talks to each other something that we don’t really think exists in the market right now.

Marlene Gebauer 19:08
Yeah, like the way you describe that it’s very, very visual. Like I can see it the way you’re explaining it. Joe, are Mathew, is there anything that we missed that you’d like to share with the audience? Before we we say goodbye?

Joe Breda 19:21
Well, let me just say, and then I’ll give Mat a turn. A huge part of this deal is having Mat unfettered join the team. They are sometimes with acquisitions, you know, the founders will stay on as consultants for a limited amount of time. That’s not the case here. They were really part of the value of of Dashboard Legal and a big driver of the acquisition. So Mat’s going to be joining the be law senior leadership team. We’re going to be working very closely together. He’s going to start out of course with his with his primary focus on Dashboard Legal and we have plenty of work to do. But you know, we’re going to use his talents, too, as we really kind of expand into this, you know, workflow enabled by AI and content, this overall strategy. So I’m super excited to start working with them. And and Federer is a fantastic engineer, he’s going to, he’s already accepted a position with Bloomberg engineering in New York, going to be an incredibly valuable asset as well.

Mathew Rotenberg 20:30
Yeah, thanks, Joe. And appreciate, you know, the the vote of faith here. And, you know, what appeared early on was just the alignment and excitement about the same vision we have for changing the way and improving the way lawyers work. And I think those conversations went were everything in terms of our excitement about the deal, and really pushing it through. So I this is the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m excited to deliver on the promise of Dashboard Legal. And I’m 100% confident that Bloomberg gives us the best shot to do that. Yeah,

Joe Breda 21:06
for sure. Just to give you a little bit of flavor. There’s a long text thread between Mat and I going back months, oh, we could do this. And then we could do this. And so we have we’re fully loaded. We’re ready to go. Again,

Greg Lambert 21:19
it sounds like there’s a lot of excitement going on on both those parties here. So, Joe Breda and Mat Rotenberg guys want to thank both of you for coming on and sharing the new news of the acquisition of Dashboard Legal by Bloomberg Law. Thank you both.

Mathew Rotenberg 21:35
Thanks. Yeah.

Joe Breda 21:35

Marlene Gebauer 21:36
Yes, congratulations to you both. And thanks to all of you, our listeners for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. We’d love to hear from you. So please find us on social media sites like LinkedIn. We also want to thank Jerry David DeCicca for the wonderful music you hear every episode. Thank you.