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A Message from WestlawNext

Transforming in a “Small” Way: Practice Management Solutions for Small Law Firms

Posted Oct 7, 2013 7:00 PM CDT
By Stephanie E. Fox, J.D., MLIS

In January 2013, Mike Suchsland, President of Legal at Thomson Reuters (TR) announced to the world that the company was shifting away from a pure information focus by transforming into a solutions business. With this announcement came a new vision for the company:

“Thomson Reuters will give our customers a smarter way to work by providing unrivaled legal solutions that integrate content, expertise and technologies.” Along with the vision were commitments from the company, including: “We will build on our century-long legacy of excellence, intelligently connecting our unrivaled legal information, software and services in entirely new ways.”

Anyone who has worked in or with Corporate America knows that it’s all well and good for a company to have a vision statement and make promises to their customers. What really matters though are the company’s actions; how well do they go about bringing their statement to life? With that in mind, let’s take a look and see what TR’s been up to.

About two years ago, the Small Law Firm team at TR decided to embrace the company’s new direction and find a way to apply it to the small law firm world. To that end, the team first did research into what small law firm attorneys needed and wanted when evaluating and purchasing practice management solutions. The results revealed that 60% of customers were interested in an integrated solution that would reduce work activities and IT costs.

The results of the most recent ABA Legal Tech Surveys also showed that the five most important features small attorneys require before subscribing to a SaaS-based practice management solution are:

• centralized case/matter management

• time and billing

• contact management

• document management

• scheduling/calendaring

In addition, those same attorneys said that easy browser access from anywhere, 24/7 availability, and low cost of entry and predictable monthly pricing were the most important benefits they expected from a SaaS solution.

Armed with that knowledge, the team set to work on a suite of solutions that launched in February 2013 as Firm Central. Firm Central has the client’s matter at its very core. Upon creation of a matter, documents, people, and calendar items are added to make the picture complete. Then, you throw in integration with WestlawNext (search as well as KeyCite flags and links to cases, statutes, and other legal information on uploaded user documents), Form Builder, Time and Billing powered by eBillity, Drafting Assistant and hosted Case Notebook and CaseLogistix so that the firm can tackle its daily workflow from one central location. Last, but not least, Firm Central provides access to the matter and its content from Microsoft Outlook, Windows Explorer, and mobile devices giving the small law firm an integrated solution that connects legal information, software, and services in an entirely new way.

Every day, with feedback from Firm Central users, the team gathers more and more knowledge about how our customers work, where they work, and what can help them work smarter. So, the Small Law Firm team isn’t stopping now. There are many new features and enhancements coming in the months ahead. We are dedicated to delighting our customers by creating the solutions they need to make their work lives better. And, we won’t stop until the transformation is complete.

For more information about Firm Central, please visit

Stephanie E. Fox, J.D., MLIS is the Director of Product Strategy for the Small Law Firm segment at Thomson Reuters. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on LinkedIn at

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