It doesn’t matter which industry a tech company serves, a solution is only as valuable as its interface. The road to software purgatory is paved with products jam-packed with features and content that users just can’t — or won’t — access.
And it’s a never-ending chase. There’s always a need to take a fully functional product and make it that much easier, that much prettier, that much more intuitive.
Last week, Erica Kitaev, senior director of Practical Law product management, showed me the latest changes designed to make Practical Law provide the fastest and most reliable answers for lawyers trying to get a handle on their work. Dynamic Tool Set provides new ways to find and visualize the deep knowledge already baked into Practical Law. Is there AI? Of course there’s AI.
“We’ve taken what we’ve learned from nearly three decades of AI enablement and specifically tuning our technology to attorney-authored content in Westlaw Edge and applied it to a new proprietary editorial content set from Practical Law,” said Isabelle Moulinier, vice president and AI lead at Thomson Reuters Labs. “With more attorneys working remotely, the trusted advisor down the hall isn’t always there anymore, and legal professionals are relying on technology to provide that know-how and find the expert within themselves, supported by AI and data-driven insights.”
So what does it do? The new offering now available as an upgrade in the U.S. and UK provides five features:
Dynamic Search: As humans, our brains are now wired to understand Google, so why wouldn’t that carry over to our lives as professionals? Dynamic Search is a natural language search bar that leverages AI to get you from whatever you started pecking out on the keyboard to the information you need right now. Practical Law has “more than 600 global attorney editors” creating this content. This search tool gets that to the user.
Knowledge Map: For visual learners, there’s an opportunity to explore Practical Law content graphically. “First of its kind in the legal space, Knowledge Map offers a unique way for users to gain quick insights into their matter and helps them find relevant resources they may have otherwise missed.” Playing around with this during the demo it’s easy to see how a lawyer could really get down a rabbit hole chasing new leads raised by each new search.
Quick Compare: Comparing concepts from across jurisdictions is easy with a tool that allows the user to make a simple chart detailing the relevant laws in jurisdictions of one’s choice. This updates the pre-existing static charts in Practical Law, affording the user freedom to customize the chart to the matter at hand.
Interactive Matter Maps: The lifecycle of a matter all laid out, with links to the Practical Law resources available for each milestone along the way. These are customizable too in case you have to include a quirky detour for your particular matter or if you’d prefer to start completely from scratch.
What’s Market Analytics: This feature “allows users to easily explore market trends, and instantly create data-driven insights and visualizations, such as charts and graphs of key terms in documents and agreements or comparisons of recent filings.” Plug your chosen data points in and get a visual reflection of the market broadly or with whatever granularity you desire.
My takeaway was that Practical Law has its eyes very much on the importance of delivering its content to users in the best way possible. More customization, more AI assistance, more visualization. The content has always been there, now it’s about constantly innovating when it comes to delivery.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.