Westlaw Precision: Behind the Scenes with Product Developers
After two years in the making, Westlaw Precision is earning positive reviews, including from Legal Dive’s Lyle Moran: “Westlaw Precision features a variety of new features to help attorneys vastly improve their legal research efforts.”
The new version of Westlaw dramatically improves research speed and quality by enabling legal professionals to target precisely what they are looking for. In addition to Precision Research, Westlaw Precision offers five new capabilities including expanded KeyCite functionality and optimized workflow tools.
For an inside perspective on the rollout, Legal Current talked with Thomson Reuters colleagues involved with product-development efforts. They share perspectives on what it took to enable lawyers to conduct research more than twice as fast and reduce the risk of missing relevant cases.
“A really interesting part of developing Westlaw Precision was how so much of the company got involved with helping to build it – over 1,000 people at Thomson Reuters worked on it for the last few years,” said Erik Lindberg, senior director, Product Management, Westlaw.
To develop Westlaw Precision, Thomson Reuters made its largest-ever investment in editorial operations, including adding 250 attorney editors to mark up and classify case law in more useful ways.
“The level of investment and commitment across the company to building new tools to make our customers even more effective legal researchers was inspiring,” Lindberg added.
Also worth noting is that much of the work occurred during the depths of the pandemic.
“Working on such a large, ambitious project in the middle of a global pandemic certainly was interesting,” Andrew Roth, manager, Product Management said. “There were new processes and methods, but at the end of the day, the broader Westlaw team achieved the same high standards.”
This included collaborating closely with customers and integrating their extensive input into the product.
“The most interesting part of developing the project was speaking with hundreds of customers and incorporating their feedback into the product,” said Mark Baker, director, Product Management.
“Westlaw Precision is the result of spending a lot of time talking with customers both prior to and throughout various stages of the development process,” added Travis Denneson, senior product manager, Westlaw Product Management. “This strong customer focus helped us identify and address the real-world pain points they routinely experience with legal research as well as gather detailed feedback about specific features that informed our design decisions along the way.”
Thomson Reuters tested the new version with more than 100 practicing attorneys. Multiple law firms, including Shearman & Sterling LLP and Larson LLP, state courts, and corporations that were part of the beta program now use Westlaw Precision.
“Westlaw Precision is the latest example of Thomson Reuters doing things that others are not even exploring,” Lindberg said. “We consistently put together these big teams of real people who have deep professional experience, and then combine them with cutting-edge technologies to solve real customer challenges.”
“Thomson Reuters has the most enriched legal data and metadata in the market,” Paul Fischer, president, Legal Professionals, noted in a LinkedIn post about the launch. “With more than a century of editorial analysis and expertise, we’re uniquely positioned to empower legal professionals with precision tools that speed up their work and give them the confidence they have not missed anything. This precision cannot be found anywhere else.”
Visit Westlaw Precision to learn more.