This post was written by Erica Brown, senior marketer of large law firm marketing at Thomson Reuters

Any attorney will tell you that sound, thorough research is the bedrock of a solid legal case. That has been true for as long as law has been a profession.

Just because the importance of research is every bit the priority it always has been does not mean research itself isn’t changing, however.

Modern attorneys need research to work for them. Rather than being a single, isolated stage of case development, research needs to be a living, breathing component of day-to-day, year-to-year practice. It’s critical, but because of cost pressure and time constraints, it needs to have multiple lives across a lawyer’s workflow – and even across a firm itself.

That’s why Thomson Reuters’ research tools are more versatile and productive than ever before.

It all starts with WestlawNext, the industry’s most powerful search functionality. This tool quickly delves into the deepest and most comprehensive collection of legal sources and delivers pertinent results in ways customized to the individual user. The result is a research experience that delivers the best and most efficient experience to be had anywhere.

The research process doesn’t stop at the “Results” page, though.

Custom Pages on WestlawNext lets researchers design a page based on the way they think and work. Users can keep frequently researched material at their fingertips and leverage useful tools like Folders, Favorites, KeyCites and Find a Citation at a moment’s notice. There is no limit to the number of Custom Pages that can be created, so it’s a responsive feature that can be adapted to fit your workflow perfectly.

Thanks to eLibraries, firm administrators can create non-billable zones on WestlawNext that multiple attorneys can visit without concern that charges will add up. More importantly, administrators can customize and designate which content is non-billable, allowing for greater support of a firm’s strategic, client-centered billing strategy.

At a more broad level, firm administrators can use Westlaw Analytics to understand at a very precise and detailed level how users across the firm are conducting research. This helps firms promote best practices, comprehend research patterns and provide more accurate billing forecasts to clients and, overall, ensure a firm-wide research methodology that is efficient and well-matched to client needs.

Research compiled with WestlawNext is always comprehensive, thorough and in-depth, but these features breathe a new life into it, transforming it into a useful resource unique to an individual user and then just as easily turning it into a tool that can be used by others time and time again. The result is a solid work product that can be repurposed and revitalized almost infinitely, shaving time off work matters and reducing costs for the firm and clients alike.

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