Are you interested in a powerful database platform that rivals (and often surpasses) WestlawNext and Lexis Advance? Check out Bloomberg Law! Here at the Law Library we had a lunch workshop on Bloomberg Law where our wonderful representative demonstrated the power and utility of Bloomberg Law. Since many of our students had to miss the event due to midterms, we are posting this recap of the event with all the amazing information learned.
First, why look at Bloomberg? Check out the First Year Resources, where you can find information on case briefing, memos, outlining, and much more. Take a look at the Bloomberg Law Basic video series that covers everything from getting started to Boolean searching.
Second, how does Bloomberg differ from Westlaw and Lexis? Bloomberg gives law graduates access to Bloomberg for 6 months after graduation free of charge. They are also a flat-fee program, which gives the professional user access to ALL of Bloomberg's amazing resources, including over 50,000 media and news resources.
Third, Bloomberg has several useful tools including:
Workspaces: create spaces to share with fellow workers where you can gather all relevant information on a particular case
Research Trail: look at your research history for the past 180 days to track down that search you ran
Queue: save items to your queue to look at later while doing initial research
Now, looking at case law, Bloomberg gives the reader the case opinion with extracts rather than headnotes. This way the reader can see the actually citeable information immediately. Bloomberg provides a notepad alongside every document on their database where the viewer can take notes, paste relevant portions of the document, etc. Bloomberg uses their analytical tool, BCite, to address the treatment of a case, i.e. whether it is positive, distinguished, or negative. Keep in mind, as our representative said today, to "use your noggin!" Just because a case is marked with "negative" treatment doesn't mean that you can't use the case. You simply need to figure out whether your particular use for the case is what received the negative treatment.
Within a case, you can also look at the history of a case, an analysis of it (including how it has been cited by other cases, especially whether it was in the main opinion or in a dissent or concurrence), the table of authorities that the case cited, and all the documents within the Bloomberg database that cites to the particular case, including law reviews, articles, etc.
From the Search & Browse tab, check out the State Law map. This will narrow your research to materials within a particular state. Always remember when running your searches to utilize the Boolean terms & connectors.
Check out the Practice Centers! These amazing tools cover all aspects of an area of law and can be extremely important for all law students and practicing attorneys. Pay particular attention to the "chart builders" function, which allows you to compare the law of one state against the law of other states. This tool is incredibly useful when you're practicing in an area of law that shifts greatly from state to state.
Litigation & Dockets: the Bloomberg docket search is incredibly useful and linked to Pacer. Once you request a document from the Bloomberg docket, it becomes available to everyone who uses Bloomberg at no additional cost.
Transactional Law: Check out DealMaker, a tool that allows you to craft non-compete agreements, contracts, and much more while also showing you how often a particular phrase or paragraph has been used and who is using it.
BNA Law Reports: Take advantage of the power of BNA, especially United States Law Week. You can receive a free update to your email daily, weekly, etc. with the headlines and articles on all trending topics of law in numerous different areas.
Finally, if you're interested in a publicly-traded company, check out their page on Bloomberg. It will give you the analytics (legal information such as what law suits they're involved in etc.), the people involved in the company and their contact information, and stocks/financial information as well as all the news surrounding the company.
All in all, Bloomberg Law is an amazing resource, and it is definitely a competitor in the legal database world. Check it out!