The Thomson Reuters partnership with global law firm Morgan Lewis to collaborate on artificial intelligence (AI)-driven legal products was named a finalist in the Law Firm Innovators category for The Legal Intelligencer’s Pennsylvania Legal Awards.

Steve Assie, general manager of Global Large Law Firms for the Legal segment of Thomson Reuters, and Colleen Nihill, chief AI and knowledge officer, Morgan Lewis, recently discussed the partnership. Below are highlights of their conversation, including their perspectives on being legaltech leaders and the transformative impact of generative AI in the legal industry.

Prioritizing Innovation

Nihill explained why Morgan Lewis prioritizes innovation.

“As one of our key strategic priorities, innovation drives us to continually evolve our approach to meet clients’ needs and reflects our commitment to deliver exceptional service,” Nihill said. “This mindset requires a focus on hiring the best people across the board, installing the best processes, and using the best technology, which is where Thomson Reuters fits in. Thomson Reuters has a long track record of delivering AI-powered solutions and they’ve embraced generative AI as way to continue that legacy.”

Assie noted that the partnership aligns with the Thomson Reuters tradition of customer partnership and customer-driven innovation.

Steve Assie, general manager of Global Large Law Firms for the Legal segment of Thomson Reuters

“As we work to transform the future of legal work, we need forward-leaning and strategic firms like Morgan Lewis to test our capabilities and provide feedback,” Assie said. “The insights that we get from Morgan Lewis will help drive our product development. The firm has made a commitment to engage in the adoption and implementation of the full suite of solutions we provide today. The firm also plans to conduct beta tests and provide feedback on new generative AI skills in development.”

“This partnership is a true two-way street – from the idea stage all the way to when a product is in the market and beyond,” Nihill added. Thomson Reuters and Morgan Lewis have shared core values – giving precedence to producing trustworthy results; demonstrating a deep dedication to having strong safeguards in place; taking a responsible approach to the use of data, content, and AI; and both organizations are very focused on their client experience.”

Making AI a Competitive Imperative

“We believe that the advent of generative AI represents one of, if not the, most significant technological advancement of our time,” Nihill said. “As a professional service organization with a multi-generational workforce, it is crucial for us to equip our talent with cutting-edge tools to provide outstanding legal service. This partnership is not merely about adopting AI, but about strategically integrating new technologies to empower our talent to operate at its highest level.”

Assie agreed, noting that law firms and organizations that lean into advanced technologies enable professionals to deliver higher quality work.

“We believe the dynamic pace of evolution of these technologies will benefit those organizations that lean in early with focused investment and attention,” Assie said. “Morgan Lewis is an example of a firm that is leaning in early, educating their lawyers and clients, and working with purpose to ensure they are investing strategically. We anticipate this will have a compounding benefit over time.”

Nihill shared how Morgan Lewis is thinking about AI to enhance attorneys’ legal service delivery.

Colleen Nihill, chief AI and knowledge officer, Morgan Lewis

“We prioritize our clients’ preferences regarding AI tools, using them only with explicit consent,” Nihill said. “At this initial stage, we are concentrating on AI for research tasks, utilizing Westlaw content to generate summaries with pin-point citations to cases and other sources. Other Thomson Reuters platforms offer additional capabilities, such as summarizing content, creating detailed timelines and outlines, drafting correspondence, searching databases, and preparing for meetings – tasks our lawyers perform regularly, where AI tools can provide significant leverage.”

Shaping the Future of Legal Services 

Nihill said she anticipates AI enhancing the firm’s operations and shaping the future of legal practice.

“AI, along with other advanced technologies, is poised to revolutionize our operations by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks,” Nihill said. “This shift will empower our business professionals to concentrate on complex and strategic aspects of their roles from the start. We also anticipate that AI integration will likely generate new roles tailored to bolster our operational model. These roles will play a vital part in supporting lawyers in adopting and effectively using AI technologies, ensuring they align with our commitment to delivering top-tier legal services.”

Assie noted the Thomson Reuters commitment to the partnership with Morgan Lewis is part of the organization’s “build, buy, partner” strategy.

“Our ‘build, buy, partner’ strategy is our path to rapidly deliver as much value as possible to customers,” Assie said. “Our fast-paced development cycle means that we need partners who will keep pace with us through ideation, testing, adoption, and transformation. We have a long-standing history of working closely with customers and building sustainable partnerships. The unique element of this strategic partnership is the opportunity to leverage the partnership to build and enhance the holistic set of generative AI-enabled solutions that we provide to the market at scale.”

Assie and Nihill shared their perspectives on the most exciting part about the organizations’ strategic partnership.

“The most exciting aspect of this strategic partnership is witnessing first-hand how the power of collaboration is enhancing legal service delivery,” Nilhill said. “It’s thrilling to be involved directly in the product development process and to see how our insights and feedback can shape these tools. Additionally, this initiative extends beyond just product development—it also impacts training and other key areas, broadening its influence across our entire firm. This comprehensive approach is what truly sets this partnership apart.”

“A successful partnership requires a foundation of trust and alignment,” Assie added. “In a time of transformation, transition, and uncertainty, we need partners who say, ‘We are with you on the ride, and we will help you every step of the way.’ This is the best thing about the partnership we have with Morgan Lewis.”

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