“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
So said Scott Mozarsky today of Bloomberg BNA’s Legal Division, shortly after it was learned that he would become the division’s president, replacing David Perla, who had been president since July 2014.
In a telephone conversation with Mozarsky this afternoon, I asked him what his becoming president would mean for the legal division and for its legal research platform Bloomberg Law.
“In the short term, not that much,” Mozarsky said. “Our team has done a tremendous job of implementing a strategy and making progress in the market. There’s been a tremendous amount of talent brought into the company and a lot of innovation.”
Mozarsky’s immediate plan is to spend a lot of time with customers, learning more about what matters to them. “One of the first lessons I learned in business is that my opinion and those of my colleagues are utterly irrelevant. What matters is the priorities of our customers.”
He also wants to spend time getting to know his team better and helping them address any obstacles they see to building out products and services. “Talent is important to me. I will be spending more time with the team and learning how best to tap into them.”
As for Bloomberg Law, he will be focused on continuing to add new innovations such as the Litigation Analytics announced last week.
“We are committed to developing the best platform out there for the market. There will be continued investments in innovation and continued focus on upgrading functionality. Ultimately, we will be continuing to find ways to help our clients be successful in their day-t0-day work.”
Librarians A Key Constituency
I asked Mozarsky about criticism leveled at former president Perla after he published a column on Above the Law Aug. 30 which was widely interpreted as critical of law librarians and knowledge management professionals. Perla seemed to suggest that these professionals lacked the courage to push change within their institutions and were more interested in job preservation. The column drew sharp rebukes from Greg Lambert and Jean O’Grady, among others.
“I have a different perspective than David,” Mozarsky said. “The large majority of librarians and KM professionals have been strategic and knowledgeable and willing to try to change.
“Frankly, a lot of the innovation we’ve rolled out since I’ve been here has been the result of good feedback coming from librarians. They’re critical partners. They’re helping us as key drivers of innovation in the market.”
The law librarian’s role has evolved significantly since he entered the legal profession in 1993, Mozarsky said. “The large majority of librarians I’ve dealt with have evolved and have positioned themselves to be key drivers of innovation and workflow efficiencies for their firms.”
Besides information professionals, who else are key Bloomberg Legal constituents? I asked Mozarsky.
“Ultimately what we want is to be for law what the Bloomberg terminal is in the financial marketplace, a workplace platform that services all constituents in the ecosystem,” he said.
Achieving that position starts with the librarian. “That’s historically been the role that’s run point on legal information and data.” From there, it extends to the attorneys who are the clients of the librarians. Other key constituents in law firms are business development groups and marketing groups.
Also key constituents are in-house counsel and corporate legal departments, he said.
Bloomberg Law A Third Wheel?
I asked Mozarsky about the perception among some industry observers that Bloomberg Law remains a third wheel to the legal research mainstays of Westlaw and LexisNexis.
“We all know the history,” he replied. “Lexis and West invented this market. But like anything else, the market needs to evolve.”
Mozarsky credited Perla for having grown Bloomberg Law even in the midst of a flat market. “Credit goes to David to have achieved what by any objective metric is a tremendous amount of success in a difficult time in a difficult market. Bloomberg law is showing double-digit growth and taking share from its competitor.
“That’s why I say don’t fix it if it ain’t broken. We’re growing while others are shrinking. Our focus is on innovation and differentiation. More customers are raising their hands and wanting to engage.”