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As It Continues to Expand Beyond Legal Research, Bloomberg Law Acquires Legal Project Management Platform Dashboard Legal

Furthering its expansion beyond legal research and into other products aligned with legal professionals’ day-to-day workflows, Bloomberg Law has acquired Dashboard Legal, a project management and collaboration platform specifically designed for the legal market.

The acquisition builds on the company’s launch last year of Bloomberg Law Contract Solutions, an AI-powered solution for storing, searching, drafting, and negotiating contracts.

“The addition of Dashboard Legal’s powerful project management and collaboration software to our product lineup expands the breadth of our offerings, which enable attorneys to be more productive and efficient in conducting their most time-consuming everyday tasks,” said Joseph Breda, president of Bloomberg Law.

“This acquisition dovetails with our vision of building a suite of products that combine our subject-matter expertise with advanced technologies such as generative AI to support attorneys’ day-to-day workflow.”

Dashboard Legal was founded in 2020 by Mathew Rotenberg, its CEO and a former associate at law firms Akin Gump and Skadden Arps, and Fedor Garin, its CTO and a software engineer.

Drawing from Rotenberg’s experience practicing law, they developed Dashboard Legal to simplify task tracking, document management, and teamwide communication and collaboration, providing lawyers with a more-effective alternative to updating and circulating checklists in Microsoft Word or Excel.

(In 2022, Dashboard Legal was the second place winner — by one vote — of the ABA Techshow Startup Alley competition that I oversee.)

Among the product’s features:

A snapshot overview of the state of all ongoing legal matters for those managing legal teams, supported by visual matter reporting.
The ability to track deadlines, assign tasks and visualize progress in real time within each dashboard.
Integrations with Outlook and document management systems such as iManage and NetDocuments.
Contextual notes and real-time communications tools such as chat embedded within each dashboard.

Both Rotenberg and Garin, Dashboard Legal’s only employees, have joined Bloomberg Law, where Rotenberg will oversee workflow product strategy and Garin will continue to focus on technology development.

“I’m honored and excited to be joining Bloomberg Law,” said Rotenberg. “Along with my co-founder Fedor Garin, we have a tremendous opportunity to fuel the next generation of legal workflow solutions. We are eager to get to work and take advantage of this unprecedented moment in legal technology.”

Opportunity in Corporate Legal

In an interview, Breda and Rotenberg said that they see a huge opportunity for expanding Dashboard Legal into the corporate legal market, even as it continues to grow within the law firm market for which it was originally designed.

While the growth of inhouse legal departments has far outstripped that of law firms, to the point where they are becoming like law firms themselves, Breda explained, they lack effective project management tools specifically designed for their needs.

Because they do not track and bill time as firms do, he said, they lack the infrastructure that would allow a general counsel to know the status of matters and analyze staff utilization and work in progress. “I don’t see that well solved in the inhouse legal market.”

Dashboard Legal’s approach to checklists and dashboards is well suited to corporate legal, Breda said.

On top of that, a feature Dashboard Legal launched last year, designed to give law firm partners a high-level overview of the status of all their matters and the allocation of work among lawyers, is equally of use to general counsel, he said.

Added Rotenberg: “The reality for most inhouse lawyers is that they come from law firms, they work in much the same way.”

Opportunities for AI

Bloomberg Law will continue to offer Dashboard Legal as a standalone product, but Breda says the roadmap also includes integration between Dashboard Legal and Bloomberg Law Contract Solutions.

In fact, he sees the integrations going even deeper than that, to also encompass Draft Analyzer, the company’s tool for benchmarking contract drafts against “market standard” language in EDGAR documents; Practical Guidance, its collection of practice-focused tools and resources; and deal-related research and news databases from the Bloomberg Terminal.

“You can imagine a product that not only enables people to work on matters but that might let them start with templates from our Practical Guidance library,” Breda said. “You can imagine a library of tasks that you can kick off that would be already loaded with the content you need to accelerate that task.”

Breda and Rotenberg foresee generative AI as further enhancing those workflows.

“Let’s say you have a deal room in Dashboard Legal,” Breda said, “and you want to answer the question, ‘When is the closing date?’ Do you have to go through all the agreements? No, you could have a chatbot that sits in that deal room and can answer context-specific questions about the deal.”

Commercial Ecosystem

Bloomberg Law originally launched in 2009 as an alternative to legal research services Westlaw and LexisNexis. A hallmark of the service from the start has been fixed-price subscriptions that cover everything in its research database.

But Breda said that a research service is effectively a point solution, and that while Bloomberg Law is by no means abandoning the content and expertise it has developed, it is developing ways “to bring that closer to where users actually work.”

Through workflow-based products such as Contract Solutions and Dashboard Legal, he said, “this allows us to really enrich the day-to-day workflow in a way that a standalone solution does not.”

While Bloomberg Law will continue to sell the legal research service as a single subscription, it is selling these additional products on a more modular basis, Breda said.

“Whether or not you’ll want this is dependent on the type of organization you are,” he said. “We don’t want to assume you’ll want to buy all these things, but we’ll make it easier for you to buy them together by connecting them in a commercial ecosystem.”

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