Last August, we compared the ancillary products of two services, namely, Law360 and the recently released Westlaw Today. Bloomberg Law was also included in the comparison as it is another major legal news service firms often use.
We are frequently asked how each of these products measure up against one another. So we have decided to publish our findings from this comparison exercise to serve as a basis for your own evaluation and to help determine which product best aligns with your firm’s goals and objectives. Please note that we always ask our readers to include their own input and expertise when making a decision on the type of subscription required or determining if a product is still needed.
Law360, Westlaw Today and Bloomberg Law essentially provide the same service — legal news, developments and analysis delivered in the form of newsletters and alerts. So what sets them apart from each other? Below is a comparison chart outlining the functionality of each product.
|Functionality||Law360||Westlaw Today||Bloomberg Law
(Legal News section)
(E.g. Individual Logins, Enterprise Access/Limited Seats, etc)
Requires individual seats
|Typically tied to a firm’s Westlaw subscription & included in all Westlaw Premier Plus plans. It can be purchased as an add on with any other Westlaw plan.
It is undetermined at this time if Westlaw Today can be purchased by an individual seat or group of seats.
|Purchased by seat, benefitting group or enterprise (unlimited accounts).|
|Newsletters / Pre-made digests||Yes; Topical & regionally organized delivered to attorney inboxes on a daily basis. Can also track by company, case, searches.||Yes; Can subscribe to receive daily newsletters on their pre-curated practice areas or by company news||Yes; Topically & regionally organized, delivered to attorney inboxes on a daily basis. Can also track cases and company news.|
|Case Alerts / Tracking||Yes; case related documents are easily downloaded from the article itself (no PACER or Lexis login needed – it is a very useful feature included with the Law360 subscription). Additionally other case documents accessible through the Law360 PACER cache. Note: this feature is enjoyed by many attorneys and librarians. It’s probably one of the best things about Law360’s content.||No; case documents are not available in the articles. Some articles only mention the relevant case and would require additional searching (in another database, eg Westlaw) to track down the specific case/complaint/decision. Some articles will have links to the cases in Westlaw but not all of them – but again, that would require leaving Westlaw today and going to the Westlaw database.||Yes – Bloomberg Law News is part of the Bloomberg Law system, so all case tracking and alerts are available through Bloomberg Law.|
|Origins of Content (In-house, outside, etc)||Generated in house, guest attorney authors||Reuters; Wolters Kluwer; articles solicited for publication||Generated by in-house staff of reporters from Bloomberg and Law; content from guest authors (i.e. attorneys, experts); US Law Week; some content pulled in/linked to outside sources (domestic and international News Wire; Web Sources covering major and minor news sources; domestic and international References and Social Media), and some may require subscription to outside source to read in full (i.e. FInancial Times)|
|Accessibility of Articles (from Search Results)||All articles included in subscription (no tracking/CM# requirement)||Access to content requires a client matter number (and in some cases, will link to Westlaw or Practical Law – requiring a subscription to either)||All articles included in subscription (except those with link leading to outside source requiring their own subscription, i.e. Financial Times)|
|Search Capabilities||Easy to search & set up alerts to track the results||Search field accepts Westlaw search syntax (Boolean, segments)||Search field accepts Bloomberg search syntax (Boolean)|
|Company Tracking||Yes (alert will be for any articles published within law360 – not tied to Lexis. That requires a separate alert to be set up)||Yes (alert will be for any articles published within Westlaw Today – not tied to WestlawNext. That requires a separate alert to be set up)||Yes (can filter to a company name and create an alert within the Bloomberg Law system)|
|Other Notes||Although articles to Law360 can be accessed through LexisNexis – this is also a standalone platform. It has separate logins from Lexis Advance.||Searches tied to Westlaw & Practical Law (E.g. easy to toggle between platforms; results do bring in content from both)||Bloomberg Law calls the series of menus, practice areas under News “Bloomberg Law Enhanced News”|
|Selective Content Comparisons.
Subjects are the top content accessed in Law360.
|Food & Beverage||Under Industries. Page with recent news and expert analysis. Newsletter available under this topic. Links to court documents and opinions referenced in articles appear in the right-side panel.||Not a choice under “Practice areas” menu; need to enter as keyword search; can choose a practice area (litigation, bankruptcy, etc) and then enter food /3 beverage in search field, will find articles with “food & beverage” tag in metadata fields; entered (food /3 beverage)(“consumer goods”) in search field– most recent 200 articles go back to April 21, 2020.||“Food Safety” is a subtopic under “Product Liability & Toxic Law News”; links to docket/opinion referenced in articles appear in right-side panel; also under Class Action – products labeling, consumer protection; “Monitor Regulators” not under News – it’s own section in Bloomberg Law – can choose agency to monitor (i.e. FDA, EPA, CFPB, CPSC), can set up alerts for Federal Register content under a particular agency.|
|Product Liability||Under Practice Areas. Page with recent news and expert analysis. Newsletter available under this topic. Links to court documents and opinions referenced in articles appear in the right-side panel.||Choice under “Practice areas” menu; pulls up the home screen with today’s news, trending companies, trending law firms, attorney analysis, most viewed articles; can search keywords within Practice Area to get specific results.||Product Liability & Toxics Law
(topic under Bloomberg Law News); featured subtopics: PL, torts, negligence – toxic, food, medical, etc.
|Environmental||Under Practice Areas. Page with recent news and expert analysis. Newsletter available under this topic. Links to court documents and opinions referenced in articles appear in the right-side panel.||Under the “Energy & Environment” in “Practice areas” menu; pulls up the home screen with today’s news, trending companies, trending law firms, attorney analysis, most viewed articles; can search keywords within Practice Area to get specific results.||News topic: “Environment & Energy Report”; Toxic Law is grouped with Products Liability, and and The PFAS Project is its own News topic; all have email newsletters and curated news and subtopics.|
|Life Sciences||Under Industries. Page with recent news and expert analysis. Newsletter available under this topic. Links to court documents and opinions referenced in articles appear in the right-side panel.||Not a choice in “Practice areas.”||Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences (topic under Bloomberg Law News). Featured subtopics: drug pricing, medical research, pharmaceuticals. Also, biologics, M&A, legislation, patents, benefits, public health, privacy, product liability and safety. “Monitor Regulators’ ‘ not under News – it’s own section in Bloomberg Law – can choose an agency to monitor (i.e. FDA, EPA, CFPB, CPSC), can set up alerts for Federal Register content under a particular agency.|
|Total “Practice Areas”||
||19 practice areas (note: only for topical content)
||43 Topic areas under News:
Search results comparison
In addition to comparing the product functionalities, we also ran a search across the three platforms for a result comparison. We used the same phrase, (e.g., Cravath, Swaine, & Moore), for each search to learn the relevant hits that appear from the past 24 months. Proximity connectors were used in Bloomberg Law and Westlaw, (i.e., Cravath /3 Swaine /3 Moore). In Law360, the name of the law firm was entered as is in the search box. Total results and differences for each platform are recorded below:
|Law360||Bloomberg Law||Westlaw Today|
|Total results: 655||Total results: 203
||Total results: 720
After reviewing each product, we’ve concluded the following:
Law360 is a standalone database and its contents are more or less contained within it. Relevant documents are included and Lexis access is not required to maintain a good user experience. In other words, there are no links or logins to Lexis required to access the content. Proprietary content from Law360 can be found in Lexis news searches, however, Law360 does not include proprietary Lexis content in their search hits. In addition, Law360’s subject matter offerings are more expansive than both Westlaw Today and Bloomberg Law at the date of this publication.
Westlaw Today is a standalone database, but a strong portion of their content is tied to other Thomson Reuters products like Westlaw and Practical Law. There are many articles/hits that will take users outside of Westlaw Today and into these products which will require additional logins, client matter numbers, and subscriptions to those products. Users do not have access to case law, case alerts/trackers, and other linked content without the relevant subscriptions. Firms that either support both Westlaw and Westlaw Today or have Westlaw Today as part of the Westlaw Premier Plus package (in addition to Practical Law), will have a smoother and more integrated user experience. Our recommendation for Thomson Reuters is to allow users some limited access to linked content, regardless of subscription makeup. Westlaw Today will not be as successful as a contentor to Law360 without some content inclusivity of its own materials.
Bloomberg News is sold separately to subscribers that do not wish to purchase Bloomberg Law seats. Those with just Bloomberg News will experience content access issues for news stories that include linked content to Bloomberg Law. Yet, a full Bloomberg Law seat subscription would allow access to everything that Bloomberg Law has to offer. Jumping from database to database would not be an issue. Similar to our recommendation for Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg would have better success with its legal news offering if it opened up Bloomberg Law content in some limited fashion for those news subscribers without a Bloomberg Law subscription.
LAC Group works with law firms, corporations, government agencies and other organizations to leverage and optimize all their knowledge and information resources, from systems to strategy to staff. Our team of spend management experts offers guidance to optimize pricing, terms and conditions and assistance with the vendor selection and negotiation process. For deeper valuations on platform content, functionality, features and integration, our Research Support team is at hand to assist firms in their decision making process before big renewals.
If you would like our help in conducting a thorough evaluation and analysis of these platforms, or any others, please contact us to discuss your needs. Our consulting services are customized to fulfill your requirements.
Note: The comparison and search exercise were conducted in September 2020. Results may differ when this article published.