Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thomson Reuters Legal Announces New Strategic Direction: Content no Longer King, Shift to Client Centric Platforms

Yesterday  Thomson Reuters held a pre-Legal Tech "summit" for legal journalists and bloggers. At the meeting they previewed several  new products but the "jaw dropper" for me was the announcement  of a dramatic change in strategic priorities.The products were impressive, but the bold change in identity and trajectory  are integral to anticipating how the company and their products will evolve going forward. I  can't possibly do justice in a single post to the complexity of the products, but I provide a brief summary below.

The New Direction Mike Suschsland, President of the Thomson Reuters Legal opened with the announcement that TR Legal was evolving from a content company to a software company focused on providing integrated platforms supporting total workflow, collaboration and mobility. Westlaw content will remain a key component of their offerings. In the past all of the Legal products have been built around Westlaw content. Going forward, the new platforms will be client and matter centric.

The drivers of this change are obvious.

Financials The financial models and market assumptions that made Westlaw highly profitable have changed. Legal content is increasingly commoditized and the disruptions in the legal market have undermined the traditional pricing and cost recovery model for online legal research.

Changing Practice of Law. TR studied the practice experience of lawyers and determined that while TR could provide lots of products, they were not well integrated and they didn't optimize the efficiency of a lawyer's workflow.

Technology. The cloud combined with ubiquitous mobility presents new opportunities to support the needs of lawyers practicing  as in-house counsel, in government as well as large and small law firms. Interoperability is a key feature. TR products will integrate with standard workflow products such as email and document processing and all mobile devices. Bob Schhukar, Global Head of Mobile Technology articulated the focus on improving the mobile user experience. They want to create experiences that make lawyers smile. Kris Nimsger, Managing Director Litigation Solutions, discussed how TR was positioned to compete in the legal space for cloud services and develop new cloud based products.

The Products 

Here is a brief summary of the products that were introduced. More details to follow in future posts.

Concourse

Eric Laughlin, Managing, Director Corporate Counsel, provided a demo of a new product for In House counsel, called Concourse that provides an integrated desktop that weaves standard software applications such as email and document processors with  both existing TR products such as WestlawNext, CaseNotebook and completely new TR products that will provide a complete desktop for all of an in house counsel's responsibilities. It will support collaboration with internal colleagues as well as outside counsel.

Thomson Reuters Elite, Current Awareness Products

Allison Guidette, Managing Director Law Law Firms, introduced a new approach to business development products which leverage, Elite business analytics, TR news as well as new monitoring and news delivery platforms. They will be releasing a new legal current awareness product in February, a new suite a Practitioner Insights newsletters what will reside on WestLawNext practice pages or can be delivered by Push." My Business Development Mobile." will deliver customer focused  data from the finance and risk products to lawyers mobile devices.

Firm Central

Karl Florida, Managing Director, Small Law Firms and Consumer introduced a tightly integrated desktop for small law firms which addresses virtually every aspect of law firm management and practice into a single interface. It includes contacts, calendars,  email, time and billing, drafting, research and matter management. It is cloud hosted, mobile and built for collaboration.
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The White Space In Between

I was a bit disappointed to see that there was not yet, and I emphasize "yet," a big solution for large law firms. I assume that such a platform is being developed somewhere in the "white space" between Concourse and Firm Central. After all if in-house counsel, migrate en masse to Concourse, large law will have to demand access to the Concourse collaboration tools. Not a bad strategy  to  have large law chase the products that TR has already embedded in the client's desktop. Assuming that "concourse" does "take off."







3 comments:

  1. Is "Firm Central" actually a product yet, or just vaporware? The firmcentral.com site has no useful information about the product.

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    Replies
    1. I am a current firm central subscriber and can assure you it's very much the real deal. I access it by navigating to firmcentral.westlaw.com

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  2. Sure it is. Call your Westlaw Rep for a brief demo.

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