CRIV / Bloomberg Law Semiannual Call

Date: Friday, July 7, 2023

Participants: Jeanne Frazier Price (CRIV Liaison to Bloomberg Law), Lauren Kaplan (Head of Strategy, Bloomberg Law), Vani Ungapen (Executive Director, AALL), Madeline Cohen (Library Relations Director, Bloomberg Law), and Ross Pendley (Customer Experience Manager, Bloomberg Law)

The second semiannual meeting of 2023 with representatives from Bloomberg Law took place on July 7, with a follow-up meeting on July 16 during the AALL Annual Meeting. On the July 7 call, CRIV and AALL representatives were joined by Lauren Kaplan, who leads Bloomberg Law Strategy; Ross Pendley, customer experience manager at Bloomberg Law; and Madeline Cohen, Bloomberg’s library relations director. Cohen introduced herself as she is somewhat new to her role at Bloomberg (having joined the firm in the wake of Mike Bernier’s departure) and shared her prior experience as a government and academic law librarian. We are looking forward to working with Madeline and her colleagues.

Since the last liaison call, CRIV had not received any requests for specific assistance with Bloomberg Law products. Some members had expressed some general concerns about acquisition models and bundling of products by vendors more generally (Bloomberg was mentioned in those discussions). AALL members had shared some frustration with these models, especially those that took an all-or-nothing approach to the acquisition of resources offered by a particular vendor, as it left customers with few to no alternatives for subscriptions (and associated costs). We did not have time to address those concerns during the July 7 conversation; those issues were raised in the July 16 follow-up meeting.

Pendley and Cohen shared improvements to the Bloomberg Law platform, some of which responded directly to feedback from users, new content, and other enhancements. In broad terms, the improvements help users solve problems more efficiently and intuitively and focus on discoverability. Improvements to the platform continue to be made.

Dockets and Litigation-Related Enhancements

In redesigning the display of docket information, Bloomberg Law has:

  • Restructured the appearance of search results – shortening opinion titles and arranging information hierarchically so that users can more quickly ascertain the relevance of those results;
  • Enlarged the viewing area for docket information;
  • Addressed a download/docket request issue to improve docket request notifications and transparency of document availability; and
  • Added new fields for filtering or reviewing docket search results (e.g., case outcome, case settlement, potential class action, case status, and case length).

Bloomberg’s Docket Resolution classification system (which incorporates AI technology) assigns, for each docket requested, one of seven categories of outcomes.

Another AI-enabled improvement is the new Docket Path feature, which is available on open federal civil court cases that have between 10 to 18 docket entries. The Docket Path technology matches the case under review with closed cases having similar patterns (in the language of the cases, the motions filed, and the orders entered). Docket Path then suggests a number of possible different outcomes for the open case; those potential outcomes are weighted in terms of probability. Docket Path works best—in its current beta version—on cases in the middle stage of development and with no outliers in terms of the language used in the case or the fact pattern.

In addition to improvements in technology, the content of Bloomberg’s dockets has been expanded as well; Bloomberg Law dockets now include cases from all Indiana state courts, as well as additional coverage of state courts in Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Other new content includes the Litigation Statistics Series, which focuses on trends and outcomes in particular types of litigation in federal courts (e.g., multi-district litigation) and particular subject matters addressed by federal courts (e.g., patents, ESG, and bankruptcy).

Practical Guidance

With respect to secondary source materials, Bloomberg Law has made improvements to the search and search results interface (making it easier for users to quickly assess the relevance of any particular result, providing more context for highlighted search terms, and noting whether documents are annotated and what jurisdictions are covered), and download features (Practical Guidance documents can now be retrieved in Microsoft Word)—many more improvements to Bloomberg’s practical guidance resources, however, are content-related.

A number of new In-Focus resources have been added, some in response to litigation and court decisions (e.g., Abortion Law and Opioid Litigation & Regulation) and others to reflect important federal legislation (e.g., the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the Providing Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act). New In-Focus reports have also been added to cover current trends and events in the economy and markets (e.g., layoffs) as well as technology developments in law practice (e.g., Artificial Intelligence). Those In-Focus resources link to relevant state and federal laws, are updated with news and analyses, and link to docket and regulatory information relating to the subject area.

The number and nature of the Bloomberg Law Toolkits have expanded as well, with new resources that cover, among other topics, ESG in manufacturing and retail industries and product liability, social media, and cybersecurity issues.

Follow-Up

In July, at the AALL Annual Meeting, I met with Lauren Kaplan and Madeline Cohen to discuss some issues that had recently been raised by our members, some specifically relating to Bloomberg and others that apply to information vendors more generally. First, we discussed the availability and discoverability of Bloomberg Business news articles; Kaplan and Cohen noted those articles are on Bloomberg Law and that improvements have been made to the findability of those resources. I also shared some concerns from members, which focused on their hope that (i) Bloomberg Law make particular components of its platform available for subscription (as an alternative to being required to subscribe to the entire platform to gain access to particular parts of it); and (ii) vendors more generally share usage statistics that are more helpful and granular in terms of both the specific components accessed and the types and nature of those interactions. Kaplan and Cohen listened to the concerns expressed and planned to consider that input.

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