New Tool, New Efficiencies: Practice Point brings together the best of Westlaw and Practical Law to streamline legal department work flows

Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 15:11

As demand increases for counsel to handle more work in-house while also better managing outside counsel, there’s a clear need for greater efficiency in handling matters. One avenue for achieving this goal is by streamlining those in-house workflows, especially as counsel are asked to take on new and complex situations.

The complexity and time required of legal work can vary tremendously from task to task, particularly if it’s an area, matter or issue that is less familiar to the legal department. Quickly identifying and assembling on-point legal guidance to form a solid grounding on an issue is essential whether the matter is to be handled in-house or sourced to outside counsel. One key to this is to have the most relevant information and appropriate tools readily accessible in one place.

One of the more intriguing approaches combines authoritative legal research, legal know-how and assistive tools into a single solution. Thomson Reuters recently unveiled Practice Point, which brings together the best of Westlaw and Practical Law, along with time-saving tools and a slew of other helpful resources. 

Practice Point users can seamlessly access both Westlaw and Practical Law content, placing key information from both at their fingertips without the need to continually switch back and forth between applications. Building on Westlaw content and functionality and Practical Law legal know-how, Practice Point delivers highly relevant, curated legal content, organized around the ways in which in-house counsel works. It’s uniquely arranged by practice area, project and task, with proprietary task-based menus that make it easier to focus on what needs to get done without having to sort through extraneous information.

Practice Point is organized around typical corporate counsel workflows. For example, users can browse by a practice area such as labor and employment, or by project, such as launching a new product. 

The system is designed to deliver the most relevant content for a specific matter or issue with a single search, along with the tools to quickly and efficiently accomplish the task at hand.

It provides access to Westlaw’s authoritative primary law, analytical materials, practice area insights, public records and other legal research resources. Users can also utilize Westlaw organizing features, such as foldering and search history.

Furthermore, Practice Point is integrated with Practical Law know-how resources including practice notes, standard documents and clauses, checklists, toolkits, legal updates, global content and state-specific guidance. This can be particularly useful for getting up to speed quickly and providing a starting point for highly specialized or unfamiliar practice areas. 

Practical Law content is authored and continually updated by expert attorney-editors. These editors bring significant experience from the world’s leading law firms, companies and public organizations across practice areas, ensuring that content is up-to-date and reliable. 

Key workflow tools are accessible anywhere from within Practice Point. These include Business Law Center, information on public and private deals and filings, public and private company information, document drafting tools, West LegalEdcenter and other CLE resources. 

One example of how Practice Point brings these resources together to improve workflow is Rulebooks, a browsable online collection of federal laws, rules, regulations and related materials organized in a format exclusive to Practice Point. For capital markets and corporate governance practitioners, Rulebooks makes it easier to pinpoint and track changes in the rules and regulations covering securities offerings, SEC disclosures and reporting requirements, proxy solicitation and more. Plain-language searching allows users to find statutes, rules and regulations by popular name without the need to look up USCA and CFR citations. 

Practice Point was developed through extensive research and feedback from leading corporate counsel and Thomson Reuters internal attorney-experts to supply the most relevant content, analysis and tools for a given task.

The result is legal guidance, research and know-how, plus time-saving tools – all integrated into one solution. It uses proprietary task-based menus tailored to the way in-house counsel actually works. It helps users navigate new or unfamiliar matters and practices, and see issues from a broader legal perspective. This, in turn, helps counsel to better understand related issues, and advise, negotiate and draft more effectively. The task-based organization provides clear paths for accomplishing a project, whether done in-house or managing outside counsel work. 

Having the right information, tools and other resources needed for a specific task delivered all in one place at the right time can yield tremendous benefits. It can mean more effective work product achieved with greater confidence and efficiency. Multiplied across the numerous tasks and matters that a typical corporate law department faces, the advantages of such an approach are clearly manifold.

Thomson Reuters is continually innovating to bring content, tools and other resources from across its business in new ways to help their customers manage their organizations better and handle matters more efficiently.


Emily ColbertVice president of global workflow solutions for the legal business of Thomson