Last week’s launch of Westlaw Edge Canada introduced a range of tools – including Judicial Consideration for Statutes, KeyCite Overruling Risk, Common Queries, Legal Topic Suggestions and more – to help Canadian legal professionals expedite complex and time-consuming research tasks. For an insider’s perspective on the platform, Legal Current talked with Thomson Reuters colleagues who contributed to product development and collaborated with customers on it.

“The most interesting part of developing Westlaw Edge Canada was interacting with customers,” said Kristin Brook, online product development manager, Thomson Reuters. “Leading up to the launch, we presented concepts to a customer panel, engaged in several one-on-one discussions, and provided a small group with access to a beta version of the product for testing and feedback. Hearing directly from customers about how they use Westlaw in their work provided us with valuable insights that we used to inform product development.”

Alvin Ng, manager of End User Applications, Thomson Reuters, described customizing Westlaw Edge for the Canadian market. “It’s an easy assumption that all English common law countries are the same, but while we share a lot with the United States and UK, we are all unique. We inherited technology and blueprints from Westlaw Edge in the United States and UK when we built our product. One size mostly fits, but there’s also significant tailoring to be done for each country.”

“An important aspect of Canadian users is diversity,” Ng added. “We are reminded by customers that each part of the country has its own needs and unique requirements. Rather than smoothing out all those distinctives, we try to hear them and account for them. We have had input from customers that they might have different perspectives, make different uses, and require different terminology when using Sidebar, Common Queries, Proceedings Filter, and other Westlaw Edge Canada features. In small and large ways, we have accommodated that diversity in the functionality itself.”

In addition to accommodating Canadian legal professionals’ diverse needs, Ng said “making new features work on the existing foundation is probably the most interesting and challenging part of developing on a platform like Westlaw Canada. To get to this point, we need to team up algorithms with existing data systems and human editorial work, and make sure that they all play nicely together. Features and functionality are amazing and can transform the users’ experience of content and information, but the key ingredient is always the content – and bringing it all together is the exciting part.”

“Following the successful launches of Westlaw Edge in the United States and UK, we’re delighted to bring it to our Canada-based customers and share our biggest investment in innovation in the Canadian legal market in more than 10 years,” said Maria Cooley, head of Canada at Thomson Reuters.

Check out Westlaw Edge Canada here.

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