New investment to help boutique firms ‘level the playing field’

By Tony Zhang|24 February 2020
New investment

Thomson Reuters has confirmed it has made a recent investment designed to offer boutique Australian law firms and sole practitioners an all-in-one approach to legal research.

Thomson Reuters says it has created an iteration of its Westlaw legal research technology “to now serve small law firms in Australia and level the playing field on which Australia’s large law firms and boutique legal practitioners compete”.

The investment aims to “bring smart research to small law” and comes after Thomson Reuters identified demand coming from small firms and sole practitioners, noting that such research is typically only afforded to large law firms. 

According to Carl Olson, vice-president of legal professionals at Thomson Reuters, the small law segment will no longer have to rely on the uncertainty of free legal research as this will provide a smart alternative.


“The profession can expect to see a rise in nimble law firms and barristers yielding speedier results for clients, due to the data retrieval benefits such as complex search algorithms and natural language search that Thomson Reuters’ legal research technology offers,” Mr Olson said. 

For the average boutique law professional, time continues to be the most valuable thing. The ideal working day should offer more time to do the two things that are valued most: serving clients more cost-effectively and improving work-life balance.

According to project leader, James Jarvis, who is vice-president of legal solutions at the company across Asia and emerging markets, boutique firms and sole practitioners commonly draw on free legal research to represent their clients, which can turn clued-up prospective clients away from using their services. 

“Good legal solutions ought to provide business-oriented results for lawyers and I am pleased our legal research software, Westlaw, can save practitioners up to four hours per week,’ Mr Jarvis said.

“Our design partners are the real heroes in the story here, where they have joined us on our digital transformation journey to overhaul research workflows.”


This new opportunity for the small law market to invest in verified legal research will provide additional assurance to existing and prospective clients, Mr Jarvis added.

One of the lawyers who helped design the built-in software developments includes Danny King, principal at Danny King Legal, who founded her own firm in 2011. 

I have noticed my juniors have been spending less time looking for answers and more time conveying them to the team,” Ms King said. 

“As a boutique law firm, our resources are precious, so we see the new Westlaw as a smart investment for a nimble law firm like ours looking to take the burden out of manual knowledge work.


To experience unparalleled networking opportunities exclusively for boutique law firms and lawyers in Sydney and Melbourne, be sure to attend the Boutique Law Summit 2020. Book your tickets here.
New investment to help boutique firms ‘level the playing field’
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