Harnessing Legal Guidance and Research Tech to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Empower Your Experts. Understand everything.

Lawyers with deep legal knowledge build on their level of subject matter expertise over time. It’s only after years of serving clients and dealing with complex matters that they acquire their specialised know-how.

While turning into a practice area expert may not happen overnight, you can get there sooner with access to smart legal research and guidance technology. Plus, leveraging resources from real-life lawyers is more accessible than you may think. This whitepaper explores how harnessing legal knowledge tech can enable you to work smarter, not harder.

Working smarter, not harder

If your firm or legal department is dealing with workload surges, reduced headcount, or pressure to deliver more value, how well is it keeping up?

According to the Thomson Reuters Institute, corporate departments globally experienced a 58% spike in their workloads last year.

Demand on legal services in the Middle East and Africa will only grow. With pressure from ongoing projects and future investments from, for example the Qatari stock exchange’s plans to open up to foreign ownership, it’s now time to replace working harder with working smarter.

Think of your practice or legal department like a car. You’re the brains at the wheel but if the engine’s not up to it, you’re going nowhere. If you’re driving a state-of-the art limousine, its high performance and safety will enable you to devote time to the more valuable things in life – rather than fiddling with a spanner in a panic under the bonnet. In other words, if your research and guidance aren’t up to scratch, your advice may be compromised.

Legal knowledge to enhance your expertise

David Johnson, Account Director at the Thomson Reuters Institute, says that corporate clients require their legal advisers to be...

"practical, strategic problem solvers who can develop relationships and demonstrate strong technical understanding of the issues at hand."

Strategic advisers are only as good as the engine that fuels them. They can’t waste valuable time searching for information, sifting through ad hoc cases and legislation only to arrive at a dead end. Sure, the information may be freely available online but, without the full story from a trusted source, it’s hard to determine whether you have what you need.

Trusted legal research and guidance will put you in the box seat to empower your business, enhance your (firm or department’s) expertise and enable you and your lawyers to be the subject matter experts your clients need you to be.

The market won’t wait

Let’s look at your legal research process. Your search methods are time-consuming and involve numerous attempts to find the answer via free search engines. Sound familiar?

'Free' research comes at a cost. The confidence you get from conducting free research is generally low, while the time investment is high.

This is due to the need for lawyers to cross-check for accuracy and currency, with little to benchmark on quality.

Paid legal research and guidance solutions can enable you to advise your clients more confidently than free  alternatives can. Plus, your competitors may be paying for sophisticated solutions, even leveraging their investment to gain competitive advantage over your firm.

Differentiators in legal research and guidance

Lawyers who have adopted the trusted legal research solution, Westlaw and the legal guidance subscription, Practical Law experience the difference.

Zane Anani, Professional Support Lawyer at Al Tamimi & Company who uses both Practical Law and Westlaw, saw the benefits of their investment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our investment in Practical Law and Westlaw has served us well during the COVID-19 pandemic, when our lawyers have worked remotely across the Middle East.”

"The expert legal know-how and intelligent legal data available through these resources has helped our lawyers maintain the excellent standard of quality that corporate counsel naturally expect of us."

Legal knowledge: the essentials

To arm your practice or department with the best legal knowledge solution, it is critical that it ticks the right boxes. 

Here are the must-haves for every firm or legal department to consider:

Confidence in authoritative sources

It is imperative that you trust your legal research and guidance materials and have confidence in the authority and comprehensiveness of its sources. Otherwise, you may miss out on the latest judgment or legislative change, leading to disappointment or even the loss of a client.

An advocate for Practical Law, Zane Anani states that “like elsewhere in the world, lawyers at Al Tamimi & Co have to engage in continuing professional development to maintain and develop their legal skills and knowledge.”

Fortunately, Practical Law had allowed them to do just that which she finds “has been a game changer for our law firm because it helps our lawyers improve current awareness by accessing expert legislative updates on legal issues affecting industries across the region.”

"Our lawyers can quickly analyse information and deliver legal services customised to our clients’ specific needs, wherever they are based."

For further peace of mind, your team can feel confident knowing their content has been created by lawyer writers and specialists with deep legal experience, supported by the Practical Law Advisory Board whose members advise on the direction of the service.

Time means value 

“If you have a boutique law firm and you’ve got staff who are stretched, where is their time better spent? Is it on the work that technology can do for a subscription?” asked Nancy Youssef, Founder, mentor and author from Classic Finance, in an interview with Legal Insight

Or is their time better spent on doing things that are actually growing their business and providing better customer outcomes?

For Zane Anani and lawyers at Al Tamimi, it’s clear that client engagement is the winner. “We have also seen the benefits being passed on to clients, especially in terms of adding value and increasing business opportunities.”

"Our in-house expert editors help our customers’ expert lawyers provide timely advice on important changes in employment, financial bankruptcy, and commercial legislation impacting many countries in the Middle East. "

explains Nadim Al Jisr, Editorial Lead, Legal Professionals, Thomson Reuters.

"Westlaw gives legal processionals the power to do more, with less. "

With Westlaw, you can consult more sources and reference more materials with greater accuracy and speed than ever before. And our content is growing. 

Our dedicated Gulf team is here on the ground, continuously seeking out new laws and amendments and making them available to you. 

Subject matter area expertise

If a client seeks advice on an unfamiliar issue, having access to the right, in-depth legal guidance may empower you to respond more proficiently. For Anthony Bekker, Practical Law’s guides, checklists and templates enhance conversations with clients.    

“There have been phone calls that I’ve had with clients where they’re talking about something that I am not across and you can refer to it in real time, which can help at least point someone in the right direction,” he says.

Additionally, firms and in-house teams with centralised access to specialised knowledge platforms are able to conduct streamlined legal research, where each lawyer is obtaining information from the same, trusted source. Such a set up means that experienced lawyers can top up their knowledge in a particular area, while acting as a training ground for young lawyers. 

"We’ve received positive feedback from our subscribers who use both solutions together in this fashion, as anything that simplifies the user experience can help you save time,"

says Rob Head, Director, Proposition Lead, Legal Content Solutions at Thomson Reuters.

For further peace of mind, your team can feel confident knowing their content has been created by lawyer writers and specialists with deep legal experience, supported by the Practical Law Advisory Board whose members advise on the direction of the service.

Minimise errors, maximise chances of a bulletproof argument

Westlaw offers KeyCite™️, the Thomson Reuters leading global citator that enables you to find citing references to support your legal argument, giving you an unequalled competitive edge. Whether it’s a case, statute, regulation, administrative decision, patent or trademark, KeyCite™️ will help verify it is still good law.

Powering up your legal knowledge

Using premium technology to free up time means more can be spent on higher-value work. Advanced legal knowledge solutions are your enablers, giving you more time to focus on the bigger picture. 

Leveraging a globally trusted legal research and guidance system is like having an on-demand knowledge partner in your team. With new Westlaw and Practical Law, you can enjoy the benefits of a vast, digital database.

Ready to harness legal guidance
and research tech to
work smarter, not harder?