Bloomberg BNA today launched Big Law Business, a free news and community site targeted at lawyers in AmLaw 200 law firms and corporate legal departments. The site will provide an array of editorial and multimedia content — both created by Bloomberg BNA editors and contributed by outside “thought leaders” from the legal industry. It is also intended to serve as a community for its target audience, where they can discuss key issues and share best practices.

“We kept hearing from the market that while there are a lot of good offline forums and venues for them to interact with their peers about key issues, there wasn’t really a ground zero online on the business of law that the market could go to,” Scott Mozarsky, president, Cross Platform Businesses, at Bloomberg BNA, told me yesterday during a preview of the site.

In a welcome message on the site, Mozarsky wrote:

Our community site is meant to be a one stop shop where you can come to keep your finger on the pulse of key developments in the legal market and to engage with content, resources, insights, data and ultimately tools. Some of the most critical insights will come from your peers, whether they be contributors to our community site or whether they are commenting on Big Law Business content.

The main attraction of the site will be its editorial and multimedia content. In January, Bloomberg BNA hired Casey Sullivan, a legal journalist who formerly worked for Thomson Reuters and the Los Angeles Daily Journal, to head its editorial operation for this new site. Sullivan will oversee a staff of inhouse editors and is also building a network of outside contributors who, as noted above, are considered “thought leaders” in the industry. There are roughly 100 such contributors so far, I was told yesterday.

Bloomberg BNA has also named Josh Block, a lawyer turned TV and radio producer whose resume includes work for Charlie Rose and David Letterman, to lead the digital media side of the site. Block has already created a library of video for the site, much of it featuring interviews with leading AmLaw 200 lawyers and prominent corporate counsel. He plans to also create podcasts and other forms of digital content for the site.

Mozarsky is a lawyer and former general counsel who, before joining Bloomberg last year, was president of UBM Tech, a company that focuses on bringing together communities through websites and events. Earlier, he was a top executive at United Business Media and PR Newswire.

Content and Conversations

Fifty to 60 percent of the site’s content will come from within Bloomberg BNA and the rest will come from outside contributors. Content will be oriented to key groups within the larger target audience, particularly managing partners, in-house counsel, marketing and business development staff, and technologists.

Content offerings will sometimes leverage paid Bloomberg BNA content. “We do envision stories and other things where we’ll speak to data that’s in BLaw, Mozarsky said. “If they want to get granular, they’ll have to dig in and subscribe.”

Mozarsky hopes that user comments and discussions will become a central attraction of the site. Throughout the site, comments will be encouraged and featured.

In order to comment, users will have to register and demonstrate they are within the site’s target audience or have some other appropriate relevance to the site. If a registrant does not list employment at an AmLaw 200 firm or in-house legal department, a moderator may ask about the person’s interest in the site and make a judgment about whether to allow the person to comment.

Comments will be moderated by Bloomberg BNA staff, who also expect to participate in any discussions.

Banner advertising on the site will be minimal, Mozarsky said. Instead, advertisers will be featured in sponsored boxes where they will be encouraged to provide links to useful and practical content, such as white papers and other education assets.

So why is Bloomberg BNA investing so much time and resources into launching this free site? Mozarsky believes the site will fill a void in what is available online for the biglaw and in-house market. No one else is offering this kind of content to this specific audience, he believes.

At the same time, he hopes the site will serve to elevate the Bloomberg BNA brand within the large-law market and help drive users to the company’s paid content.

“We’re going to provide something really valuable to executives at law firms and in-house and we believe that will inure to our benefit,” Mozarsky said.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.