When Bloomberg acquired the Bureau of National Affairs in 2011, many legal information professionals wondered if this was simply another takeover that would obliterate the identity, the products and culture of yet another venerated legal publisher. Would Bloomberg Law crush the deep and well cultivated relationships that BNA had developed with law firms and law librarians over the years?
When the acquisition was first announced I highlighted the synergies between the two companies in a post entitled Bloomberg Gets BNA’s Intellectual Capital in the Capitol., At the time, I asked whether Bloomberg would be able to retrain the deep pool of human talent and intellectual capital at BNA. I got the answer today. The short answer is “yes.”
Bloomberg has repeatedly affirmed that they knew a good thing when the saw it. They wasted no time in loading all of BNA content into the Blaw platform which became available to BLaw subscribers at no additional cost. They have maintained the integrity of BNA’s newsletters and research platforms which continue to be available outside of Blaw.
Today, a press release from Bloomberg announced the retirement of Bloomberg Law CEO Larry Thompson, and the elevation of Greg McCaffery to replace him. Since McCaffery, is a 26 year BNA veteran and the most recently the BNA President and CEO, this affirms that BNA is seen as a valuable collaborator in the evolution of the Bloomberg Law platform.
The Missing Piece: The Business of Law
I was intrigued by Global Product Head Beth Mazzeo’s comment in the press release that in Greg’s new role he will “focus on the next phase of expansion.”
The new strategic direction will focus on building portals to support law firm management. There is ample content on both the BNA and the Bloomberg side which can be leveraged and integrated toward this end. Business development tools could leverage both BNA’s “Convergence” monitoring tool and Bloomberg’s proprietary news and company data. A Human Resources portal could leverage BNA’s labor and HR content, an accounting portal could leverage BNA’s payroll, tax and accounting resources. A Business of Law Center would focus on the needs of firm Executive Committees and C-level leadership. Since firms have an insatiable interest in improving both the effectiveness of their management and their competitive position this seems like both a logical and a potentially winning strategy.
Bloomberg Bought More than Just Content
I asked Greg whether Bloomberg had succeeded in retaining most of the BNA staff following the merger. Greg explained how Bloomberg had focused on retaining BNA’s human intellectual capital. They have done this by recognizing that Bloomberg and BNA had two unique cultures. Rather than merge the two organizations into a hybrid culture, they have attempted to preserve the two unique cultures. He described one strategy as “trading their assets back and forth.” In keeping with this, Greg will essentially be leaving BNA and joining the Bloomberg organization. The one area that they have unified is the sales force which supports the product lines for both organizations. All sales staff have been trained on both the Bloomberg and BNA products so that law firms only need one account executive for all Bloomberg and BNA products. “Amen” to that strategy!
Welcome to More on Bloomberg Law: BNA Content Debuts on the BLaw Platform
Welcome to Bloomberg Law: No Deals, No Discounts, No Apology
Bloomberg Gets BNA’s Intellectual Capital in the Capitol
Bloomberg Law Takes on the Titans