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Michael Bloomberg is a man with an agenda. He wants to be the next mayor of New York. And he apparently wants to be a titan in the somewhat smaller world of legal information. Bloomberg’s company, Bloomberg, L.P., is one of the biggest players in the delivery of financial information. Now the company wants to feed that information to lawyers, too. The New York company has already taken a small step, by repackaging existing content for lawyers, and is contemplating something larger and more tailored. In August, Bloomberg L.P. rented a booth at the American Bar Association’s annual convention in Chicago. Last month, it set up camp at the LegalTech show in New York. (LegalTech is owned by American Lawyer Media, which is affiliated with law.com.) These appearances marked Bloomberg’s coming out in the legal market. The appearances coincided with the company’s small step to appeal to lawyers: a special menu on its financial information network. Through this menu, called lawgo, customers can get stock registration statements, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, stock market rules, mergers and acquisitions news and notice of the latest bond issues. They can also get detailed biographies on corporate lawyers or other company officers. All of this is live and up-to-date. Bloomberg made this information available before, but it was harder to find. Now it’s being arranged in a way that the company hopes will be more intuitive and appealing to lawyers. Of course, you need to be a Bloomberg subscriber, and this means you need to buy the Bloomberg computer terminal, the hallmark product of the Bloomberg empire. “Bloomberg has been sitting in law libraries for years,” says James Mahn, a product strategist for Bloomberg. Bloomberg won’t say how many lawyer customers it has right now. But it’s hungry for a new market: “All we can say is there’s enormous potential,” says Mahn. West Group and Lexis Nexis, the two titans of legal information, decline to comment on Bloomberg’s efforts to woo lawyers. But officials at those two companies aren’t likely losing sleep over lawgo. Part two of Bloomberg’s plan is not yet set, but it will be more ambitious. Bloomberg says that it’s developing a database that will stockpile other information securities lawyers use frequently — possibly securities code and related case law — says Sara McDonough, a Bloomberg sales specialist. “This is an ongoing effort. We are contemplating our development efforts,” she says. This next step will be targeted at both in-house counsel and law firms and should be available in the next year, McDonough says. Bloomberg’s new products — lawgo and the future one — are largely aimed at securities lawyers, a group that already works alongside Bloomberg’s existing customers — bankers, money managers and other investment professionals. “We are not going out and competing with [West and Lexis Nexis],” McDonough says. Lawyers would buy Bloomberg in addition to, not instead of, Lexis Nexis or West, she says. McDonough won’t say how many people are developing Bloomberg’s new product. To put together a new database, worker bees would need to scan thousands of pages of documents. Bloomberg is simply trying to fill a gap in the information market for lawyers, according to McDonough. Corporate lawyers are screaming for more company and financial information, she says. Still, securities lawyers can already get access to SEC filings, case law and U.S. code over the Internet, and through West and Lexis Nexis. West and Lexis Nexis also offer attorney profiles. They also have news tie-ins. West, for example, has a partnership with Dow Jones & Co. Inc., a producer of electronic news services, so it provides current financial news, too. But that’s part of the problem. “The way lawyers get their information right now is very segmented,” says Mahn. But getting it Bloomberg’s way is not cheap. A Bloomberg terminal costs $1,285 per person per month. If a law firm wanted to give 100 attorneys Bloomberg terminals, it would cost about $1.5 million a year. Hardly pocket change. (Of course, some of these fees could be passed on to clients. Some time-and-billing software connects with Bloomberg so customers can bill clients separately.) Bloomberg has an all-for-one philosophy. It does not sell any of its databases, reports or information separately. West and Lexis Nexis, on the other hand, both offer piecemeal approaches. Lexis Nexis users, for example, can pay a flat fee based on what services they use. Or they can get unlimited use for, say, just a week. Lawyers aren’t necessarily used to paying, or thinking, the way Bloomberg wants them to. But they might need to start getting used to it.

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