CRIV/BBNA Semiannual Call Minutes

CRIV/BBNA Semiannual Call – 6.28.19 (3:00 PM Eastern)
Call Participants: Vani Ungapen, Executive Director (AALL); R. Martin Witt, CRIV LiaisonJoe Breda, President, Bloomberg Law (BBNA); Andrew Prior, Senior Director, Customer Experience (BBNA); Michael Bernier, Director of Knowledge Services and Library Relations (BBNA)

Minutes:

1. Bloomberg BNA Updates (Andrew Prior)

  • Litigation Practical Guidance
    • The first suite is live now for anyone with Bloomberg Law entire site license at no additional cost. It integrates the “points of law” and “smart code” features and is designed to allow researchers to work from beginning to end of case.
    • Other features will be coming soon, including special defenses & discovery.
  • Dockets
    • Dockets on Bloomberg Law have been given facelift based on user feedback, now providing a clearer presentation of currency information and a more visible Update Docket button.
    • For docket alerts, complaints and other filings can be requested directly from email alert (no login required).
  • ABA/BNA Lawyers’ manual on professional conduct
    • This has been converted into a brand new Legal Ethics Practice Center. A method of citation to a permanent record is being explored.
  • Bloomberg Law Analysis Channel
    • For more in-depth analysis of legal issues

2. AALL Annual Meeting Update (Mike Bernier & Vani Ungapen)

  • Bloomberg BNA is once again a sponsor for the AALL Annual Meeting, at the Silver Level.
  • Specific items that BBNA is also sponsoring include:
    • AALL Annual Meeting Bags
    • SR-SIS Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Reception (Sunday, July 14 at 8:00 PM)
    • AALL/Bloomberg Law Continuing Education Grants

    • PLLIP-SIS Summit – For the 10th consecutive year (since inception).

  • Almost 1,450 Annual Meeting attendees had registered as of Monday, 6/24/29.

3. CRIV Requests for Assistance (2) (R. Martin Witt)

  • TOPIC: Standing Order program
    • BACKGROUND (CRIV): The text of a received letter is reproduced below (emphasis and underlines in original).

Dear Valued Bloomberg Law Books Customer:

As Bloomberg Law continues to deliver high-quality content and analysis that has been the hallmark of Bloomberg BNA since 1926, we are committed to serving your needs.

Moving forward, our Standing Order program will discontinue, and you will no longer automatically receive updates to this title. You can still visit us at Books.BloombergLaw.com to view and purchase all of our available print titles. Please note that this is in an effort to streamline our purchasing processes and to better serve you as we shift to our enhanced digital offerings on Pro.BloombergLaw.com.

We understand that changes to our programs can raise questions and concerns from our clients. For more information regarding your account, please contact us at 1-800-960-1220 or BloombergBNA@cheytec.com. Bloomberg Law is continuously innovating our products and offerings to continue to deliver world-class content to you. We thank you for choosing us as your source for your legal reference products, and greatly appreciate your business.

  • QUESTION (CRIV): Can you confirm that the Standing Order program has ceased, effective May 30, 2019?
    • (BBNA): The Standing Order program will actually continue through end of 2019 for all clients. Letters are sent out now on a title-by-title basis, included with final title of 2019.
  • QUESTION (CRIV): Can you confirm that existing standing orders will be serviced through end of the year?
    • (BBNA): Yes, standing orders will be serviced through the end of 2019.

  • QUESTION (CRIV): If the Standing Order program is being cancelled, is it being cancelled for everyone / every type of library?

    • (BBNA): The Standing Order program is being discontinued across the board, for all types of customers.

  • COMMENT (CRIV): The offer to visit Books.BloombergLaw.com to purchase individual titles that were previously covered by the Standing Order program has the potential to significantly increase the time spent acquiring the desired titles. Even understanding the ultimate desire to move to no-print-all-electronic, adding to the workflow of law libraries in the meantime seems to engender some degree of ill will.
    • (BBNA): Many standing order items get returned, and this will eliminate that problem. Users will be able to get title-by-title notification emails when a new edition is available.

 

  • TOPIC: Itemized Invoices
    • BACKGROUND (CRIV):  A law firm with BBNA products that includes several full Bloomberg Law licenses, a firm-wide subscription to a newsletter, and the BNA Tax Management Portfolios in print is expecting to renew (terms were agreed upon with the rep) for the subscription term of June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019. As of the end of the first week of June, the firm had not been provided with an invoice.
    • QUESTION (CRIV): Is it common practice to have a delay between the start of a subscription term and the issuance of an invoice?
      • (BBNA): Invoices are generally sent before renewal. If there are problems or specific questions, concerned users can contact Mike Bernier.
    • BACKGROUND (CRIV): Related, the firm also requested an itemization of the cost associated with each of the products purchased/to be purchased, demonstrating how much was being paid for each of the full Bloomberg Law licenses, the firm-wide newsletter subscription, and the BNA Tax Management Portfolios in print. In response to that request, they were told that BBNA would not long provide itemized costs.
    • QUESTION (CRIV): Does BBNA no longer offer itemized costs/invoices showing the money put towards discrete parts of a subscription?

      • (BBNA): Items are generally purchased as package and those packages are individually negotiated.

      • (BBNA): The invoice does not include itemization, but a library’s individual BBNA Representative can be asked for a quote on what a particular package might cost without a specific title in it.

      • (BBNA): It is possible in an invoice to break out print v. electronic costs. Anyone seeking that information in encouraged to contact Mike Bernier.

Bloomberg BNA Semiannual Call Notes

Date: December 21, 2018 / 12:00 p.m.

Participants: R. Martin Witt (CRIV Liaison); Joe Breda (President, Bloomberg Law); Michael Bernier (Director, Library Relations, Bloomberg Law); Andrew Prior (Senior Customer Experience Director, Bloomberg Law)

New Bloomberg BNA Products, Policies, and Issues of Interest

New Customer Experience Team

There is a new customer experience team in place, dedicated to the customer experience across all of Bloomberg Law, rather than being channel-specific. It is designed to provide high-quality customer service to all users of Bloomberg Law, regardless of subscriber type. Based out of the Bloomberg Law home office in Arlington, VA, this team includes nine employees, each of whom has certain areas of expertise.

Product Enhancements

There are also three new enhancements to the Bloomberg Law platform to highlight, each of which is currently available to all Bloomberg Law subscribers.

  1. Attorney Analytics (came out around November 2018)

This enhancement is building on the already-available analytics for companies, law firms, and judges. The data underlying it is pulled from both dockets and case law and includes roughly 100,000 attorneys from 775 different law firms.

  1. Points of Law

The Points of Law enhancement is an applied machine-learning tool, laid over all court opinions. It identifies critical language from opinions and allows users to view all the important points of law in an opinion without clicking through one-by-one.

  1. Transaction Intelligence Center

The Transaction Intelligence Center is a counterpart to the established Business Intelligence Center and Litigation Intelligence Center, but geared toward transactional legal work. It covers 15 discrete practice areas and has a practitioner tool tab offering practical guidance. There are a number of other transactional practice tools available in the Transaction Intelligence Center, including a chart builder.

Law School Migration

With respect to Law School Migration of content from the BNA Premier platform, there is some general information. As of December 31, 2018, the BNA Premier package for law schools will be sun-setted, with content already being available via Bloomberg Law instead. Recipients of Bloomberg Law news email alerts will be able to click through to three articles per email without having to log in to their Bloomberg Law account. For academic users that had campus-wide access to BNA Premier, Bloomberg Law can be provided via IP range for the remaining duration of their BNA Premier contract (through the next renewal). This information should have been communicated already, but if interested parties don’t have the offer information and are interested, they should contact Mike Bernier. Almost all ABA-accredited law schools subscribe to Bloomberg Law for all law students and law faculty members.

CRIV Requests for Assistance

There were multiple requests from each type of library, combined and organized primarily by library type to foster discussion, with a single universal issue listed first.

General Statements from Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law is unequivocally committed to becoming a digital-only platform, in the near future. There is not a concrete date set for the complete move to digital-only, but it is not remote and the complete move should be expected within the next few years.

Supreme Court Today is available in PDF on Bloomberg Law. U.S. Law Week and other standalone news sources are also available for digital purchase independently of a subscription to the Bloomberg Law platform.

  • Universal Issue
    1. Issue
      1. It appears BBNA is adopting an electronic subscription requirement to Bloomberg Law (of a varying number of seats/access points) in order to purchase materials (specifically the Tax Management Portfolios (TMPs)) in print.
    2. CRIV Questions
      • Is BBNA tying access to the TMPs in print to the purchase of a license or licenses to Bloomberg Law?
      • BL Answer: Bloomberg Law’s production and selling of Tax Management Portfolios (TMP) in print TMP is an accommodation exception for Bloomberg Law or Bloomberg Tax online subscribers who also want to continue getting print TMPs. Access to print TMPs were offered as a convenience. Bloomberg Law is committed to continual updates to the TMPs, something only possible in the digital format but understands many subscribers need time migrating users to the digital platform. Is BBNA tying access to any other materials in print to the purchase of a license or licenses to Bloomberg Law? If so, which ones?
        • BL Answer: For the moment, many BNA books can be purchased independently from Bloomberg Law. The ABA/Bloomberg BNA Manual on Professional Conduct is available in both print & electronic formats and can be purchased independently.
      • If BBNA is in fact tying access to print TMPs or to any other print resources to subscriptions to the Bloomberg Law product, why is it doing so?
        • BL Answer: Bloomberg Law isn’t aiming to sell TMPs (or any other individual titles) as stand-alone print resources, but instead marketing the Bloomberg Law platform in light of the move to digital-only. The existing TMPs are sold in print only to accommodate user demand at this point, while the shift to digital-only is not yet complete.
      • Law Firm Library Requests
        1. Main Issues Raised
          1. Requirement of minimum seat purchase that exceeded the number of people in the firm’s tax group (often more than double).
            • Specifically setting a floor of 15 licenses, when it is far more common (described as “industry standard”) to have a 5-license minimum.
          2. Dramatic increase in cost of print Tax Management Portfolios in the coming year (over 200% increase) in addition to an increase to electronic Bloomberg Tax.
  • Frustration with both the migration to practice centers and the notification/explanation (or lack thereof) accompanying those migrations.

BL Comment: Bloomberg Law acknowledges the frustration experience during this migration. A concerted effort has been made to remedy this, revisiting thousands of customer accounts in 2018. The migration nearly complete.

  1. Misrepresentation by representatives who initially claimed the TMPs were being discontinued in print when they came up for renewal, but then later offered print at a reduced price when negotiations for electronic began.
    • This misrepresentation has severely damaged the relationship between the rep and the firm, such that the firm librarian questions whether the 15-seat minimum is an absolute requirement from Bloomberg Law.
  2. CRIV Questions:
    1. For law firm libraries, is there any way to purchase TMPs in print without subscribing to the Bloomberg Law platform?
    2. BL Answer: Yes, via Bloomberg Tax online subscription, provided that meets the “significant” digital presence. If not, is there an absolute minimum number of subscribed seats to Bloomberg Law required for law firm libraries in order to purchase TMPs in print?
      • BL Answer: “Significant” digital presence is the only requirement.
  • If yes, what is that minimum?
    • BL Answer: It varies based on other subscriptions, market, and other factors.

BL Comment: There are two offerings for tax users: 1) Bloomberg Law: Tax, Practice Group License which is based on licensing, at a minimum, all attorneys in the full Tax practice group (if practice group attorney count is less than 15, there is a minimum of 15 users). The practice size is determined by researching and reviewing a combination of publically available information, third-party solutions, and customer feedback. 2) Bloomberg Law (which includes everything in Bloomberg Law: Tax and more), which is done on a designated user basis (no minimum, and no establishing of practice group), practice group license or firm wide license.

  • Public/County Law Library Requests
    1. Issues Raised
      1. The requirement of online subscription as a prerequisite for purchasing the Tax Management Portfolios is problematic for most public/county law libraries.
        • The associated jump in cost of access (with online and print together costing roughly two to three times as much total), especially when the AALL member really wanted just print.

BL Comment: Bloomberg Law is focused on its future as a digital business. It has made the deliberate choice to make investment in digital only, rather than as a publisher of print materials.

  1. Poor (“very deceptive”) communication concerning patron access to the TMPs. Only after pressing the representative for details that were not initially included was it revealed things like 1) patron access can only be at a dedicated terminal (as opposed to an IP range); 2) material cannot be downloaded or emailed by patrons; 3) staff cannot provide requested documents to patrons who are unable to visit the law library in person.

BL Comment: Bloomberg Law is receptive to discussion and improvement on this. Many of the limitations associated with the patron access terminal model are tied to the need for an individual user name and password in order to download, print, save, and take advantages of the customization available to Bloomberg Law subscribers.

BL Comment: There are two standard access modes

  • Designated User Access mode, which consists of a username/password for givens seats/users. Use is personal to the user and not for patron access.
  • Kiosk mode
    • These have no individual username/password and leave no research trail
    • Patrons can print specific material being viewed on the screen.
    • Currently patrons cannot use the download center but Bloomberg Law is open to reconsidering that if it is something libraries feel would be helpful to patrons.
    • For public/county law libraries, Bloomberg Law is also open to discussing the possibility of a Kiosk-mode based on IP address, rather than just a single dedicated terminal.

 

  • The suggestion was made to the representative that a different pricing model might be appropriate for libraries that circulate print materials to members / the public, perhaps as compared to firm and/or academic law libraries.
  1. CRIV Questions:
    1. Have you considered modification to the pricing model, specifically for public/county law libraries, or doing away with the online subscription requirement? Based on the requests for assistance, it seems they are placed in a particularly untenable position under the current pricing model/subscription requirement used for them.
      • BL Answer: Bloomberg Law is willing to work with public/county law libraries on this issue and is open to developing a modified pricing model.
    2. Are there options available to public/county libraries who would like to provide access to TMPs for their patrons at a similar level to that which they could in the past (for example, downloads/emails; electronic access in different areas of the library (not just one terminal); delivery of materials to patrons unable to visit the library in person)? If so, what are they?
      • BL Answer: Bloomberg Law is willing to work with public/county law libraries on this issue and help determine what options may help serve patron needs effectively.

 

  • Academic Law Library Requests
    1. Issues Raised
      1. Lack of PDF versions of the BNA Law Reports that have been discontinued (or have been identified as being discontinued) in print.
        • The new platform poses challenges for citation by faculty members who seek to use material previously found in BNA Law Reports as part of their scholarship.
          • Develop working group to come up with approach to move forward (rather than just past)
  1. Poor communication of the changes to the BNA Law Reports and Bloomberg Law.
    • Cessation notices followed by additional materials (e.g., Corporate Counsel Weekly; Corporate Practice Portfolio Series, and others).
      • This creates additional work and confusion on the part of staff that work with acquisitions and/or serials.
      • Requests for clarification do not yield useful/reliable/concrete information.
      • Notices indicated that a Bloomberg BNA representative would contact the AALL members, but there is no such communication unless initiated by the member and any answers given were unhelpful.
    • Inconsistent, and sometimes contradictory, information given on which BNA Reports will continue, to which date, and whether equivalents (in PDF or not) will be available in Bloomberg Law.
  • Migration from IP-based University-wide access on the BNA Premier Platform to individual username and password (generally limited to law school students/faculty).
    • At least one Law Library Director was able to secure campus-wide Bloomberg Law IP authentication at no additional cost for the duration of the existing BNA Premier license, but only after reaching out. That person was also offered the option of a refund if Bloomberg Law IP access for the rest of the contract period was no desired. All this occurred, however, only after the Director reached out and it is unclear how widely this option has been made known (or is even, in fact, available).
  1. CRIV Questions:
    1. Why were/are some print BNA Law Reports continuing to be produced and distributed even after the effective date of cessation notices pass?
      • BL Answer: These continued publications were anomalies and should not continue.
    2. Which BNA Law Reports, if any, will continue to be produced in print?
      • BL Answer: There will be no BNA Law Reports produced in print, beginning in 2019.
    3. Which BNA Law Reports, if any, will have PDF versions accessible on Bloomberg Law? If any PDFs are/will be available, what are the precise dates/ranges of those PDFs?
      • BL Answer: Only the Supreme Court Today and ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct will have PDF versions available moving forward. An archive of existing PDFs will be maintained for all BNA Law Reports.
  • Which BNA Law Reports are ceasing without any substantially similar electronic access to the information?
    • BL Answer: The Family Law Reporter, Real Estate Industry & Law Report, and Money & Politics coverage have no Bloomberg Law counterparts.
  1. Will MARC records be provided for the Bloomberg Law titles/material that used to be on BNA Premier? If so, how should members request those records to get them as efficiently as possible?
    • BL Answer: Yes, complimentary MARC records are available. Please see http://www.bna.com/marcrecords. If you would like to be added to the distribution list for updates, please contact Mike Bernier.
  2. For those with existing BNA Premier IP-based subscriptions, can Bloomberg Law subscriptions be substituted at no additional cost?
    • BL Answer: Yes. For academic users that had campus-wide (access to BNA Premier, Bloomberg Law can be provided via IP range for the duration of the BNA Premier contract (through the next renewal) at no additional cost. For more information, contact Mike Bernier.
  3. For those with existing BNA Premier IP-based subscriptions on a campus-wide basis, how should a refund be requested for the time frame covered by the contract once BNA Premier ends on 12/31/2018?
    • BL Answer: If IP access of Bloomberg Law is not desired, libraries can notify their reps and request a refund of a pro-rated portion of the campus-wide contract cost.
  • What is the cost for a Bloomberg Law IP-based subscription, for those academic libraries that would like to continue to provide (as they did with BNA Premier) access to these materials for their entire university?
    • BL Answer: After the current BBNA contract expires, IP-based access to Bloomberg Law is based on the total FTE for the University (4 bands based on university-wide FTE.)

In Canada, Artificial Intelligence is coming… for your legal research fees?

Some information vendors have been touting the value and benefit – specifically the apparent efficiency in legal research – of AI for a few years now, and it seems that the Honourable Mr. Justice A.C.R. Whitten of the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice is a believer.

In a recent decision [Cass v. 1410088 Ontario Inc., 2018 ONSC 6959], the Justice denies a $900.00 “legal research” disbursement for a number of reasons, and mentions – albeit in what would likely be considered dicta – that “[i]f artificial intelligence sources were employed, no doubt counsel’s preparation time would have been significantly reduced.” [¶ 34]

Also interesting, however, was that the Justice declined to adopt the simple suggestion of the plaintiff to strike the disbursement based on the query – “why is there a legal research fee for case precedents which are available for free through CanLII or publically accessible websites?”

h/t – Law Librarian Blog

The State of Law Library eBooks 2017-18 (LLRX)

Ellyssa Kroski, the Director of Information Technology at the New York Law Institute, has recently undertaken a three-part article series at LLRX, designed to cover what law libraries should consider when evaluating and getting involved with eBooks. The first two parts have already been posted, with the third part on the way.

Read more:
Part One: The Landscape
Part One is designed to “describe the current landscape of eBooks relevant to the law library field, the benefits and challenges of offering eBooks in law libraries, the different ways to purchase law-related eBooks, and how to get started choosing a solution.”

Part Two: Brass Tacks
Part Two is designed to “discuss the different pricing models that are currently available and the pros and cons to each; subscription-based, patron-driven acquisitions, short term loans, access-to-own, etc. as well as strategies for controlling costs, and questions to ask before choosing an eBook solution.”

Part Three: What Law Libraries are Doing (forthcoming) [Update – now available]
Part Three “will delve into what we’ve chosen to do for our eBooks program at NYLI and how that has evolved over the past five years to a hybrid model, as well as what other law libraries have chosen as their solutions.”

How Does Malawi’s New Copyright Law Measure Up (EIFL Review)?

EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) is a not-for-profit organization that works with libraries to enable access to knowledge in developing and transition economy countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America.”

“EIFL’s assessment of Malawi’s new copyright law finds that while a good range of library activities are permitted, there are missed opportunities.

An EIFL review of Malawi’s Copyright Act of 2016 has found that although the new law permits a range of library activities such as making copies for research and use of works in virtual learning environments, it places big limits on what libraries can do in practice, misses opportunities to enable digital activities, and restricts the making of accessible format copies.”

Read more about the assessment here and download the full review here.

Fastcase Expands into Original Works by Launching Full Court Press, a New Print and Digital Imprint

On November 2, 2017, Fastcase launched its new publishing arm, under the imprint Full Court Press. The inaugural publication offered under Full Court Press is RAIL: The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law, and it is billed as “a multimedia offering, available in print, as an eBook, in audio, and exclusively within the Fastcase legal research application.”

According to CEO Ed Walters, the new imprint is “like Netflix for legal publishing,” noting that it is designed to improve the existing Fastcase platform by “adding our own original series through Full Court Press. RAIL is our first of many offerings, including legal treatises, deskbooks, forms, checklists, and workflow tools. We’re just getting started.”

The complete Fastcase press release is available here.