In this guest post, Patrick Hurley, vice president of Global Implementation at Thomson Reuters Elite, reflects on his recent presentation at the LawTech Futures 2014 conference in London, England.

LawTech Futures grows bigger, more varied, more interesting and more inspirational every year I attend…and this year was no exception. Despite arriving in the UK that morning from a lovely, sunny holiday vacation, walking into the buzz at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre made me instantly forget I was back in the land of cold, grey, damp London: the atmosphere was truly that positive, upbeat and invigorating.

This year, I had the opportunity to deliver a presentation about the vision we at Thomson Reuters have for the future of the legal space.

Patrick Hurley, VP of Global Implementation for Thomson Reuters Elite, being filmed at the LawTech Futures 2014 conference in London

Patrick Hurley, VP of Global Implementation for Thomson Reuters Elite, being filmed at the LawTech Futures 2014 conference in London

The technology challenge every law firm faces for the future is keeping up with the constantly changing external technology environment whilst simultaneously meeting the specific legal requirement needs of their firm. What new technology is going to exist in five years time, like tablet computers, that law firms will suddenly need to embrace? And what new client or regulatory demand for law firms, like e-billing or complying with the Jackson Reforms, will require a technology solution?

Every firm we speak to has a complex mosaic of technology solutions today that has developed over time, and that complexity is only going to increase exponentially without a carefully planned technology strategy.

The days when simple data “integration,” like sharing of client and matter numbers across different systems, offered the requisite functionality for lawyers and law firm staff to work efficiently are gone. Now, we need true interoperability between systems. We need the capability to launch, move and monitor business workflows between different systems at will, all through a seamless, consistent and intuitive user experience.

Thomson Reuters Elite is building what we hope will future-proof our clients from the constantly changing technology environment and functionality requirements, and that will provide the interoperability and single user-interface that the future demands. I was able to show off the architectural diagram for the new Elite Integration Framework, as well as a few screen shots from Workspace, which will be released this year, and the reception was overwhelmingly positive.

Of course, it would be nice to be able to start with a blank slate and create one single database and one single platform for an entire firm to run its entire business, but even if we could do that today, we know that it would be out-of-date when the next new widget or regulatory demand falls into our laps.

What law firms need is a framework that will cater to whatever the future might bring, without any disruption to the lawyer’s user experience. We think Elite Workspace will do just that, and the feedback we heard at LawTech Futures validates those feelings.

It was a great day and a fantastic opportunity to find old friends, and new!

Check out this video from e-know.net titled “Using cloud computing to improve client experience in the legal sector,” which was filmed at the conference and in which I was interviewed: