Q&A with Eric Laughlin of Thomson Reuters
Typically, we at the Law Firm Mobile Blog discuss mobile apps created by law firms. Another important source of mobile resources for in-house counsel are vendors who serve the legal community. Today, we start to remedy our lack of coverage in this area with a discussion with Eric Laughlin, General Manager of the Thomson Reuters Corporate segment.
LFM: Thanks so much for taking the time to be with us today. What has Thomson Reuters learned about how in-house counsel use of mobile technologies?
Eric: In-house counsel are like every other professional that has seen how technology, specifically mobile technology, has changed how they work, where they work and how work is getting done. Mobile technology is a resource that in-house counsel can use to be more efficient, whether through sharing research or work product with colleagues or outside firms, or just being able to accomplish tasks while out of the office. But mobile can’t be an afterthought. We’ve found that in-house counsel need technologies that are built from the ground up for mobile use and provide the same level of usability and functionality that the user would have if they were sitting at their desktop. Using mobile technology in this way to improve their workflow leads to improved efficiency and effectiveness for their legal department, as well as their organization.
LFM: Can you describe Thomson Reuters mobile apps that either that (i) were made specifically for in-house counsel or (ii) are used significantly by in-house counsel?
Eric: Thomson Reuters has numerous products, services and solutions that are used by a variety of legal professionals, but we just launched Concourse, which the product development was focused around mobile first. We built Concourse to work beautifully on an iPad before we contemplated the desktop/laptop experience. Concourse connects the people, tools, and data that in-house legal departments work with every day. Concourse is built for collaboration in the mobile world, with mobile access to matter folders which span tools such as Westlaw, Legal Hold, Matter Room, and soon Serengeti. Additionally, the mobile apps that are used primarily by in-house counsel likely would be GC Advisor, BoardLink and Thomson Reuters Accelus Informer. In-house counsel also use, among others, WestlawNext, CLE Mobile, Thomson One and ProView.
LFM: How do you decide the platforms on which your company develops mobile apps for lawyers?
Eric: When we decide the platforms for our mobile applications, we look to our customers. We look at what devices they are using, what they need to accomplish with the application and how they need to access information. For the most part, we develop a significant number of applications for iOS devices. We have created apps on Android platforms, as well as mobile websites, so no matter what device our customers have, as long as it is web-enabled, they can access their resources and information.
LFM: What trends do you see with respect to in-house counsel use of mobile technologies (apps, compatible website sites, and other)?
Eric: As the workflow environment has become increasingly demanding and complex, corporate law departments often lack automated tools to help them manage their most critical tasks. This indicates a need for greater use of technology and those solutions need to be integrated, while embracing the mobile requirements. Through Thomson Reuters Concourse, we have been able to develop a solution that enhances in-house counsel’s workflow, collaboration and mobile access. As businesses become increasingly global, actionable information needs to be placed in people’s hands immediately, no matter where in the world they are, and decision makers need to be able to collaborate and act on that information in real-time. That requires mobile technologies with 24/7 global accessibility. Just as the legal profession has embraced cloud technology, understanding public versus private clouds, in-house counsel understand using the cloud allows them access to their information and resources anytime, anywhere. Through this, they are able to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. In-house counsel need to have solutions that allow access anytime, but at the same time, know their information is secure.
LFM: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today!