In the run-up to its annual VANTAGE global customer event, Thomson Reuters Elite announced the launch of Workspace Assistant, a new way for lawyers to access and perform time management functions via Workspace using the Amazon® Echo® or other Alexa® enabled devices. Justin Farmer, senior director of Product Management for Thomson Reuters Elite, sat down with us to answer a few questions about this innovative new tool available to Elite 3E customers.

Gretchen DeSutter: Justin, can you explain what Workspace Assistant is?

Justin Farmer: Workspace Assistant is a new way for lawyers to access and perform time management functions via Workspace, the Thomson Reuters Elite platform that enables clients to access a range of Elite solutions and third-party products from both desktop and mobile devices. Through integration with the Elite Workspace desktop, lawyers and timekeepers can enter and track billable hours through voice-only inputs and commands. It’s a new productivity tool for lawyers to ease the demands of their daily workflow.

GD: Can you give some specific examples of tasks where lawyers, speaking directly to the virtual personal assistant that is Alexa, can more easily and efficiently conduct their timekeeping duties?

JF: Sure, some examples would include the inputting of billable hours to a specific client matter, the use of a timer to calculate and post time spent on a precise client matter, and the ability to ask Alexa a variety of questions that relate to billable hours.

To envision it, speaking a voice command to Alexa can now substitute for the keyboard, the mouse, and clicking. This has tremendous potential for freeing up lawyers to focus on the higher-value aspects of their daily work.

GD: The practical implications for enhanced productivity seem immediately evident. Does this speak to any larger pressures lawyers are facing in today’s legal landscape?

JF: Lawyers today are being asked to guarantee excellent client service and to provide greater transparency, in addition to their core value proposition of practicing law. Increased efficiencies available through smart technology applications – with Workspace Assistant as just one example – will naturally lead to enhanced responsiveness and greater transparency which clients are seeking.

GD: Workspace Assistant has been announced as part of the new Elite Lawyer Experience initiative. Can you tell us a bit about this?

JF: The Lawyer Experience initiative places an emphasis on all of the great tools Elite has in place to help lawyers and timekeepers do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. From a single user interface, lawyers have access to financial, business development, and client and matter information, as well as the tools to complete daily tasks from any place and at any time. Further, this platform allows us to extend those activities to new or emerging technologies like virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa.

GD: Can we hear the brief backstory on how Workspace Assistant came into being?

JF: Workspace Assistant was developed in collaboration with the Thomson Reuters Applied Innovation organization, which has as its charge to focus on the most cutting-edge technologies and how they can be applied for the benefit of our customers. This involves working on proofs-of-concept and prototypes to try things on and see what fits. As a general trend, that team is seeing the use of voice as emerging strongly in both personal and professional spaces, and we’re thrilled to release Workspace Assistant in response to this market demand. Let me show you a demonstration of how it works.


GD: Are there any other insights you’d like to share regarding the potential for Workspace Assistant?

JF: For legal professionals with disabilities, the use of voice commands via Alexa can enable new possibilities for working, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.

GD: Any last tips or words of advice?

JF: Enough talk, go test it out! Elite 3E customers can download Workspace Assistant from the Amazon Alexa Store.

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