The talent at Columbia Law School apparently doesn’t limit itself to legal scholarship. The Law Revue put together a musical rendition of which online legal resource is the best “to cite… to cite.”

Whether it is the bribery of using Lexis, the snobbery of using Westlaw, or the lone man that uses Bloomberg, the Law Revue walks you through the law students’ night of deciding which resource is best.

So pick up your Lexis/Westlaw/Bloomberg coffee cup and sit back and enjoy the show.

image [cc] Angelskiss31

Let me start out this post by saying that I like David Perla, President of Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg BNA’s Legal division, and consider him to be an ally for the law librarian and legal information/knowledge profession. However, I have to say that I am a little disappointed at his Above the Law article yesterday called “A Challenge for the Gatekeepers.” His article starts out with a warning to the legal industry saying that “change is coming – with or without you,” but then he spends the rest of the article singling out Law Librarians and Knowledge professionals as the gatekeepers. Although David says this isn’t about Bloomberg Law’s new roll out of a Tax Product, quite frankly, it reads like it is. I’m really disappointed that he took to Above the Law to vent.

Transitions in how a legal products perform for practice areas is something law librarians deal with practically on a daily basis. One of our primary responsibilities for our firms are to evaluate these products and present an initial evaluation report to the Practice Group Leaders or power players within the practice area. Law Librarians have a diverse legal expertise, and some are legal area experts. I know law librarians that are more savvy when it comes to understanding practice areas like Tax or IP than most Associates or Junior Partners in their firms. We understand our firms, we understand our Practice Groups, and we are tasked with the responsibility to know when it is right to push for new products, and when it isn’t time.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I push for change every day! EVERY SINGLE DAY!!

I constantly evaluate new products, establish training sessions to teach attorneys and others the value of the very expensive resources we purchase with our law firm partners’ money. I work to de-duplicate resources so we are not wasting money. I also make recommendations on keeping similar products because I understand the way the attorneys work and know that sometimes it pays to have those resources, even if on the surface it seems irrational. I make sure that we have team members that go to PG meetings to observe, listen, and engage. It’s not gatekeeping. It’s called being a leader and making sure that we are implementing the overall strategies of our individual attorneys, our Practice Groups, our Offices, and our Firm as a whole.

I’m a little confused when David wrote:

I attended a session at AALL [American Association of Law Libraries] where librarians were brainstorming how to be more relevant or get lawyers to pay more attention to them. But when the moment comes to actually introduce change at law firms, they flinch out of fear. Afraid that the attorneys they work for will find change uncomfortable, they balk—just as Monster’s executives balked at upsetting the site’s customers.

Not buying a new legal information product is not the same as “flinch[ing] out of fear.” I find that statement to be a bit misleading, and way overly broad in the assumption that law librarians can’t pull the trigger on change.

I appreciate Bloomberg BNA being a disrupter in the legal information field. But, I will say that when the disruption initially affects the Tax and the Labor & Employment groups, it makes for a very difficult sale to those groups. Not that they are change adverse, but that they are either well served by their current products and have a comfort level with them, or that they are a group with very narrow profit margins that have to have concrete evidence that new, much more expensive, products will truly make their work more efficient and not decrease that narrow margin.

It’s not about throwing up barriers for change. It’s about understanding our environments and applying our expertise, experience, knowledge, and wisdom to every single change we see, every single day. I’m not a gatekeeper that flinches at change, I’m an experienced leader for change that make sense for my organization.

I recently participated in the LMA/ Bloomberg Law Survey (you can participate here before March 7th) on trends in legal marketing, business development, pricing, competitive intelligence and knowledge management.  I know, quite the range of topics. MarkGediman and I blogged a fair bit last year about the Bloomberg Law survey results, and I don’t doubt that the same will happen this year too.  In fact, I am already blogging about it.  The survey questions lead the participant through a series of questions with ranges on how much has changed within marketing and BD departments in the last three years.  Items like competitive intelligence, knowledge management, pricing and process improvement are lumped into the same survey as more traditional marketing efforts such as content marketing (rebranded client updates if you will), and public relations.  Are all of those things being delivered by Marketing and Business Development Departments?  Does that make sense?  Perhaps we should make kitchen sinks while we are at, or be both the umpires and the hotdog vendors…For many years, I have suggested that a key to a firm’s competitive advantage is better collaboration amongst its administrative teams, from BD to Marketing, KM to CI and Accounting, all of whom seem to play a role in this year’s Bloomberg Law Survey. Perhaps the silos are breaking themselves down as market forces are creating the imperative to share while the technology keeps getting better, making it easier to share and work towards a common goal of increased efficiency and smarter client service. 

The survey also attempts to determine changes in headcount and budgets for Marketing and Business Development Departments over the past 24 and coming 24 months, as individual line items and as part of the firm collective headcounts and budgets. Very interesting. I would like to think and will post eventually about the CI’s role (and others) in shifting from a cost centre to lead generator and sales pipeline for firms.  I am hopeful that the survey results will reflect this position as well.  The results will be shared at this year’s annual LMA conference April 11-13th 2026, in Austin TX.

Stay tuned, I expect there will be much more here to blog about soon! 

There has been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere and twitter this week about the Bloomberg Law article “Law Firm Librarians Feel Underused and Underpaid” and the accompanying survey. First off, I want to thank Bloomberg BNA for conducting this survey, sharing the results with the law librarian community and David Perla, President, Bloomberg BNA Legal Division and Bloomberg Law, for discussing these results with me.

I think this title was a bit misleading. Librarians were expressing their frustration that firms weren’t fully utilizing their talents. I think that leaner staffing and more recognition of Librarians as an excellent low cost resource have kept them extremely busy and useful. As David said, “Research is in its lowest cost place today. Research is being pushed down to the lowest cost research, the library.”

My discussion with him about this survey was interesting. Their motivation for conducting this research was as a vendor of Business Development (BD) tools, they wanted to get a sense of the scope of the involvement of law librarians in BD. The overwhelming response of librarians answering “yes” to the question of could they be better utilized took them by surprise (95% of the respondents to Question #6). This is something I’ve been talking about for years (Here’s an example) and I’m pleased to see that this is becoming a universal point of view.
He also noted that law firm librarians see themselves as a resource for the acquisition of work for the firm. This is borne out by the following survey responses:
Q1: 81% cite pushing relevant information on client intel directly to individual stakeholders as demonstration of their value
Q2: 72% see BD and CI as areas currently handled has part of their job
Q3: 66% see BD and CI as logical areas for someone with a law firm librarian skillset to add value

The numbers clearly demonstrate a recognition by the law librarian community of the fact that this is a major contribution they can make to the success of the firm. However, only 18% say their law firm is currently using them in this capacity (Question 5). When taken into account with the previously discussed results, it appears that librarians are not being acknowledged for the BD and CI contributions they are making now. The reasons for this could be that these contributions are funneled through other departments, not recognized as BD or CI, or simply done on an ad hoc basis.

One possible cause for this was identified by David in our discussion. He noted that firm BD initiatives lack consistency from one firm to the next. As result, the quality of the underlying research and analysis is not consistent. Using librarians in this capacity is an easy way for firms to utilize an existing resource to create a consistent high quality basis for strategic business decisions.
The most interesting post for me was from fellow Geek Zena Applebaum. Zena used the survey to point out a path to address the concerns that were expressed by the respondents. David agreed with Zena’s assessment that Librarians are natural sleuths and are good at figuring out the client’s needs early and identifying strategic areas for the firm to target. Let’s face it, the days of “they know what I can do and they know where to find me if they need me to do it” are long gone.   Her post should inspire each of us to take charge of our destiny. Pick up that phone and ask your Marketing counterpart to lunch. Meet with your practice group leaders and show them how you help them achieve their strategic goals. Now is the time for action!
 

Toby Brown and I got a sneak peek yesterday at Bloomberg BNA’s new Big Law Business community site, and we liked what we saw. We all know that Big Law is big business, but there are very few resources out there from vendors that cover current stories and trends of the business side of a large law firm, and even fewer that promote a community to comment and contribute. Most of us have relied upon bloggers to fill the gap, but a resource like this coming from Bloomberg Law is a welcome new addition.

The site is free to access, but content contribution will be limited to those of us that work within large law firms (AmLaw200), in-house counsel, thought leaders within the industry, and vendors within the industry that want to contribute useful content to the community through articles, white papers, videos, and other (non-commercial) type content.

BBNA’s David Peikin gave us the tour and said that “[T]he community enables legal executives to share best practices leveraging the insight and wisdom of those in similar roles at other firms and supports peer-to-peer engagement with focused, role-based content areas for managing partners, in-house counsel, technologists and marketers.”

There are no walled communities within the site, so everyone can see all the content regardless of what type of role you play within your firm.

The site is now open, so go check it out and see if this is a community you’d like to join. Bloomberg BNA’s press release on the Big Law Business site is below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
David Peikin
703.341.5900
dpeikin@bna.com

BLOOMBERG BNA LAUNCHES BIG LAW BUSINESS, 
COMMUNITY WEBSITE FOCUSED ON THE BUSINESS OF LAW

Arlington, Va. (March 5, 2015) — Bloomberg BNA today announced the launch of Big Law Business, a first-of-its-kind online community that helps law firm executives and in-house counsel be even more successful in addressing opportunities and challenges created by accelerated disruption in the legal market related to the business of law.  Big Law Business enables legal executives to learn how to better manage day-to-day business, finance and technology issues while also sharing best practices.

Big Law Business helps legal executives and professional managers better serve their internal and external clients through access to a wealth of targeted content — perspectives, news and insight, data, and resources — created by Bloomberg BNA editors and thought leaders in the legal market.  The community also supports peer-to-peer engagement in focused, role-based content areas for managing partners, in-house counsel, technologists and marketers and also will offer related online and offline programs.

“Big Law Business provides access to a wealth of robust content, including timely news on the business of law from our dedicated editorial staff and the rich data and in-depth analysis the market has come to rely on from Bloomberg BNA and Bloomberg Law,” said Scott Mozarsky, President, Cross Platform Businesses, Bloomberg BNA.  “Big Law Business features articles, podcasts, videos and white papers, enabling legal executives to stay on top of the latest trends affecting the business of law.  And the community will provide visitors ample opportunities to engage with those in similar roles at law firms and corporations and benefit from shared insights and wisdom.”

You can follow Big Law Business on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Bloomberg BNA
Bloomberg BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, is a leading source of legal, regulatory, and business information for professionals. Its network of more than 2,500 reporters, correspondents, and leading practitioners delivers expert analysis, news, practice tools, and guidance — the information that matters most to professionals. Bloomberg BNA’s authoritative coverage spans a full range of legal practice areas, including tax & accounting, labor & employment, intellectual property, banking & securities, employee benefits, health care, privacy & data security, human resources, and environment, health & safety.

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It has been a busy time for our illustrious Mr. Toby Brown over the past few weeks. In the past few weeks, he has co-written a book with Vincent Cordo on Law Firm Pricing: Strategies, Roles, and Responsibilities, conducted an interview with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the challenges of implementing a pricing strategy at a large law firm and the recent efforts to utilize Legal Process Management software, and last, but not least, been named as a Trailblazer and Pioneer by the National Law Journal (pdf, page 16). The only thing he failed to do this month was be named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive… (maybe next year, my friend.)

Congrats, Toby on being recognized for all your hard work and forward thinking.

Monica Bay of Law Technology News is reporting this morning that Bloomberg Law is rebranding itself as Bloomberg BNA.  This acknowledges what those us in the legal industry have known for quite awhile:

  1. Bloomberg doesn’t have the same name recognition as a provider of legal information that BNA does
  2. BNA’s name is respected for the quality of their content, and
  3. The Bloomberg approach did not seem to be getting much traction in the legal marketplace. 

Bloomberg seems to come to terms with this themselves with their acknowledgement that this change was client driven and their announcement that the Legal business would be consolidated in the BNA HQ in Arlington.  As Professor Harold Hill once said “You’ve got to know the territory.”  BNA certainly knows the territory.

One of the very first things you hear when you attend a Competitive Intelligence (CI) seminar is that CI is the ethical gathering of intelligence. The reason that ethics is stressed so highly when discussion CI, is that if your CI team is dabbling in unethical behavior (and that gets exposed), it reflects upon your whole organization and casts a shadow upon everything you do.

It seems that there are some reporters at Bloomberg L.P. may need to sit back in on some of those classes on ethics. The report in the New York Times states that reporters used information found through Bloomberg Terminal usage from banks and traders to break stories on certain people being fired from those companies (based upon users that suddenly “went dark” … i.e., were no longer logging into their Terminals.) That type of information, while effective, falls squarely on the unethical side of the ledger, and as a result gives all of Bloomberg a black eye.

Immediately, we all started wondering what exposure law firms had to this type of research, and if there were additional issues that were at play. According to Jean O’Grady’s blog, Dewey B. Strategic, the Bloomberg Law platform was not included in this type of internal research strategy. O’Grady contacted Greg McCaffery, CEO of Bloomberg Law, and got confirmation on that point. However, as Jean also points out, many law firms have the Terminals as well as Bloomberg Law access. It brings up ligitimate questions like the one Ed Walters of Fastcase asked on Twitter yesterday:

Alledgedly, Bloomberg reporters where systematically using this type of research on a regular basis. Hundreds of reporters used the technique according to the NY Times article. It simply makes Bloomberg look bad.

In this age of instant communications, hacking, and whistle-blowers, unethical behavior is very difficult to keep covered up. This should be held up as an example to others in the world of information gathering, that if you are performing unethical practices, you should expect that eventually those practices will be exposed. When they are, you will need to spend years repairing the damage.

This same type of damage can happen with Competitive Intelligence research. Be very careful how you conduct your gathering processes, and ask yourself what would happen if those practices were exposed to the public.

Big hat tip to my friend Jason Wilson in pointing out the new rebranding of Westlaw into the new “Legal Solutions” product, and for pointing out that Thomson Reuters is using a very familiar looking color and layout design that seems to be borrowing heavily from the Bloomberg Law product. Perhaps Orange, Gray, Black, and Blue are just the hip trends in New York these days. But, seriously, if you took away the mention of Bloomberg Law and Thomson Reuters’ Legal Solution, you might be hard pressed to tell the difference in the two products. [Note: an Arthur Andersen alum pointed out that they actually had this color scheme by in 2002 way before TR or Bloomberg started using it.]

Jason sums up my thoughts quite nicely on the similarities:

TR pages are getting dangerously close to the same color scheme of Bloomberg Law, and it makes me wonder why they are trying so hard to compete with something that hasn’t seen widespread adoption?

Alright Lexis… apparently you’re late to the game. Time to switch Lexis Red, and go with a Bloomberg Orange! After all, anyone that is in the know, knows Lexis is much more in the crosshairs of Bloomberg than Thomson Reuters is.

Judge for yourself (FYI – Bloomberg=Left; Thomson Reuters=Right):

Image [cc] Global X

Thomson Reuter’s flagship financial product, Eikon, is turning out to be more like the Titanic after hitting an iceberg. According to reports from the New York Observer, Thomson Reuters has laid off around 3,000 employees, most from the financial sector, including sales, training and analysts’ divisions. In addition to these, it is also reported that there were also layoffs in the Editorial ranks, including big names like:

Peter Bohan, editor of Reuters America Service, has reportedly been let go. Mr. Bohan had been at Reuters for two decades, most recently as the Midwest bureau chief. Brad Dorfman, Reuters’s U.S. retail and consumer products company news editor, and Lee Aitken, who had been in charge of political coverage since 2012, were also reportedly let go from the company.

While most of the departures occurred at the managerial level, the majority of the Reuters TV team is out as well, after YouTube’s decision not to renew its one-year-old contract with the news service.

It’s not a good time to be an Editor these days, as Lexis has also recently announced the closing of the Matthew Bender’s Albany, New York office.

The Eikon product has already cost one Thomson Reuter’s CEO (Tom Glocer) his job, and hit TRI’s stock considerably since 2011. Plus, the Eikon flop placed Thomson Reuters on a list of 12 Companies that Could Go Bankrupt Very Soon. (Which caused us to write Could Thomson Reuters Be In Trouble? back in October 2011.)

The pain isn’t just being felt in the Financial Sectors of Thomson Reuters either. Anyone at Thomson Reuters with a good salary (this should include our friends at TR Legal) will feel the pain, too.

All Thomson Reuters employees, not just those in editorial, who make more than $100,000 will not receive raises in 2013.

All of these issues are pointing to a company that is struggling to pull all of its different acquired pieces together (think how well BNA/Bloomberg has merged, and then think of all the different platforms TR is still supporting.) It also seems that Thomson Reuters is not taking the market share away from Bloomberg in the financial market. It also seems to point to the need for TR’s Legal group to ramp it up and start bringing in more revenue and profits.

Those of us in the Legal Industry should be on the lookout for more sales pressure on the horizon.