For $450 a Month, Bloomberg’s New Legal Research Service Still Has Rough Edges
Posted Feb 17, 2010 11:07 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Bloomberg Law is still a work in progress, despite an army of lawyers hired to prepare headnotes, tag cases and create a law digest for its new high-end legal research service.
Legal journalist Robert Ambrogi tried out Bloomberg Law, touted as a marriage of legal research and news, and wrote about his findings in Law Technology News. The idea of the new legal research service, Ambrogi says, is to provide legal content as well as proprietary information about clients’ industries and businesses. The cost of a subscription is $450 a month per user, or $1,250 a month for a floating license for five users in which only one person can log in at a time.
Ambrogi was told there are about 500 lawyers working at Bloomberg Law, but he says their work is not yet done. “My overall impression of Bloomberg Law was of a luxury yacht only partially constructed,” he writes. “It looks impressive and many parts of it are fitted out with top-of-the-line features. But as you wander around its decks, many doorways open to unfinished, empty rooms. It is seaworthy, one assumes, but still has a lengthy punch list.”
Ambrogi gives an example. The Bloomberg Law Digest is promoted as a detailed index of legal topics collecting key cases, statutes and other materials. “So far, however, many of the topic headings lead only to blank pages, still awaiting content from that army of lawyers,” he says.
Ambrogi is impressed with Bloomberg Law’s intuitive design. One feature he especially likes is that it uses tabs to open new documents, so researchers don’t lose their research trail. Another advantage is Bloomberg Law Citator, designed to compete with Shepard’s and KeyCite.
Users who spoke to the ABA Journal for its February cover story, "Wired!," also gave high marks to Bloomberg Law’s menu-driven approach, collaboration features and docket search functions.