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.)

Fastcase is a Print-Machine!

Fastcase, a database that prides itself on using technology and AI for digital research, continues to bolster their print resources, both internal and external.  In February, Fastcase’s publishing division, Full Court Press, published their first print book titled MAP a Complex Case by Dave Dolkas. In March, Fastcase partnered with the ABA to sell print versions of ABA Expert Treatises from across the country.  In April, Full Court Press published their second print book, Mapping the Deal, as well as partnering with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), to print the first issue of the AILA Law Journal, a bi-annual journal analyzing and researching contemporary issues of immigration law.

These new print titles join with Fastcase’s current print collection of the Full Court Press journal RAIL (Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Law) and their other print partnership with James Publishing. Of course, Fastcase makes many of these materials available online through their database, but this increased focus on print materials swim against the current trend of other publishers and databases reducing their print collections in favor of a purely digital library.

Where Have All the C.F.R.s Gone?

As many readers of this blog know, the Code of Federal Regulations is updated annually on a staggered schedule.  Specifically, the  updated Titles 1-16 are published on January 1 of every year, and the updated Titles 17-27 are published on April 1 of every year.  As of the writing of this blog entry, none of these titles have been updated on govinfo’s annual C.F.R. library.  When contacted for an explanation, the reasoning given was that govinfo places them “online as we receive them and our office has not receive those CFR’s for online posting.  I don’t know why or where the holdup could be.  When they come in we will do our best to expedite the online process.”  Following up with other members of the CRIV committee, it appears that the print versions of the C.F.R. have also not arrived in many libraries.  While the Government Publishing Office’s Electronic C.F.R. (eCFR) is up to date, this remains the unofficial version of the code.  Therefore as of this writing, the most current official versions of the over half the C.F.R. Titles remain over a year out of date.

Additionally another anomaly, specifically the January 2019 List of C.F.R. Sections Affected referring to Titles 42-50 updates in the Federal Register dating back to October 1, 2017 (rather than October 1, 2018), makes it appear that the Government Publishing Office is delayed in either publishing or shipping the most current C.F.R. volumes, creating a rather vast gap in federal regulatory information for the public.  While the Federal Register is up to date on govinfo, and current regulations may be found therein, the fact remains that the C.F.R., the official source for federal regulations, is unaccountably out of date.  As stated in the response from govinfo, even divisions of the GPO don’t fully understand the delay, and I have been unable to find any news which would explain further.  One possible explanation is the December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019 federal government shutdown, but this is simply a guess without more information to support a conclusion.

If you have any information about the delay in the C.F.R. publications (either print or on govinfo) please reach out to myself (mtimko@niu.edu) or another member of CRIV.  Govinfo remains a tremendous resource for attorneys, information professionals, and the public at large, and providing the most current information is integral for the public’s access to information.

Lexis Advance Access Beyond Law School

Lexis Advance will once again be available to law students over the summer (May-August) with their law school login credentials.  Students will have full access to Lexis Advance, without a break in their search history or saved documents and searches.  This access is not limited to academic research, and students may use their student accounts for research related to clerkships, internships, or summer jobs at a law firm.

Similarly, any graduating students will maintain continued access to Lexis Advance through the end of the calendar year (December 31, 2019).  Graduate program access allows access to continue with the law school login credentials, however credentials will be updated from regular law school IDs to “graduate” credentials beginning on July 5, 2019.  For more information, please refer to the attached Flyers provided by Lexis.

Summer Access Flyer

Graduate Program Flyer

Fastcase’s Docket Alarm Adds Deadline Display

Fastcase acquired Docket Alarm in January 2018. Docket Alarm is a legal analytics tool that can be used to identify judicial trends and identify possible outcomes of litigation. Deadline display is Docket Alarm’s newest feature. Deadline display gleans any deadlines from the docket and automatically displays them to users viewing the docket sheet. This allows users to see at a glance all upcoming events in a case. Deadlines are also searchable; allowing users to see upcoming work by firm or type of filing. The deadlines can also be exported to Google or Outlook calendars to allow for easy integration into work processes.As of March 14, deadline display is included as a complimentary feature for all Docket Alarm users.

More on the UC and Elsevier Split

On February 28, the University of California (UC) announced that it would not be renewing its subscription with Elsevier. In its negotiations, UC was trying to ensure that research produced by its campuses would be freely available to researchers around the globe immediately. According to UC, Elsevier was proposing to charge UC authors large fees on top of the existing multi-million dollar contract the University had for access to Elsevier journals. In a stance in support of open access, UC decided to walk away from Elsevier entirely. The UC Academic Council released a statement on the same day, supporting the efforts to negotiate to ensure open access to research. Elsevier released a statement in response via twitter. In the statement, Elsevier expresses disappointment that the negotiations were broken off by UC and says that it put forward a proposal to support the multi-payer open access requests by allowing researchers the choice to publish for open access as well as a “scaled path to reduce costs for each campus library.”  Berkeley News interviewed University Librarian Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, who served as the co-chair of the negotiation team for UC. According to MacKie-Mason, UC wanted to reduce costs (the University was paying $11 million in subscriptions to Elsevier each year) and ensure open access for UC authors publishing with Elsevier. UC was asking for a contract that integrated a paid subscription fee with the open access publishing fees, which is a new approach. The offer by Elsevier agreed to do this, but at a much higher cost of around $30 million more per three year contract. The main idea is to makeup the loss in subscriptions by moving to a market that charges for the publishing, rather than for the reading as it works now. MacKie-Mason pointed out that although UC is the first University system to cut ties with Elsevier in the U.S., the Max Planck Society, University Alliance in Sweden, and University Alliance in Hungary have already done so.

National Law Journal Releases its Best of List for 2019

The National Law Journal released its Best of List for 2019. The list is based on votes from lawyers and firm administrators. Categories include accounting, ADR, consulting, education, litigation support, marketing, real estate, recruitment, research, and technology. The top three legal research providers (including print, & digital products and software as a service) were Thomson Reuters Westlaw, LexisNexis (Lexis Advance/Lexis.com), and Bloomberg Law. The best solo firm/practitioner research providers were LexisNexis (Lexis Advance/Lexis.com), Thomson Reuters Westlaw, and Justia. The best legal research apps were Westlaw App, Lexis Advance HD, and Bloomberg. The best legal news apps were Bloomberg Law Insights, LexisNexis Legal News Briefs, and Westlaw Portfolio.