TR Launches Mega Platform ‘Panoramic’, Could Crush Several Startups

Global legal technology provider, Thomson Reuters (TR), has launched today in the US and UK a massive new interconnected platform for lawyers called Panoramic, which combines KM data, project management, price modelling/billing data and matter maps. It also looks likely to have such a profound impact on some parts of the market that it could stymie the growth of startups working in overlapping fields.

At its heart what this new mega platform from TR does is combine the KM aspects of Practical Law with the billing and matter management aspects of 3E / Elite, plus it’s added a bunch of other capabilities so that lawyers don’t really need to look anywhere else when they are plotting out and conducting a piece of standard legal work.

TR has worked with K&L Gates and LeClairRyan to pilot and test out the system, which offers the ability to:

  • Create matter maps, which have been developed by TR’s Practical Law teams, so that any notable type of legal matter is already mapped out in great detail, telling the lawyer what each stage involves, and other guidance.
  • These matter maps can be made bespoke to your firm or team and link with your own KM systems, templates and clause banks.
  • The KM capability and matter maps also sync directly with time and billing data, so not only can lawyers see more clearly where they are as they progress through a matter, firms and in-house teams can easily create financial and time benchmarks for any often repeated type of legal matter.
  • And, there is a project management system that allows work to be assigned and a bunch of dashboards to help everyone have visibility of where everyone is, plus some extras around capturing billable time.

After taking part in the special briefing from the US last night, Artificial Lawyer had two immediate thoughts:

  1. Wow…this is an amazingly useful piece of kit that connects much of what is good about TR’s tech stack and makes it super easy for lawyers to use. Add into this things like Contract Express and other bits and bobs they offer, and one can see many lawyers just sticking with the TR platform and not bothering to go anywhere else. Which, naturally, is what TR wants.
  2. This is really going to hurt the chances of growth for a lot of startups that operate in overlapping areas, especially around matter mapping/time/cost billing applications. This is because the startups were having a field day because the big legal tech companies had left big gaps in their offering around money/time connections to actual work product. Now, TR has filled that gap.

This raises some interesting questions for TR and other big legal tech companies. For example TR, quite understandably spends a lot of time and energy getting very close to legal tech startups and studies them in detail. It then, also totally sensibly, makes sure that any gaps in its offering are filled.

Those gaps are often being explored by the very startups that TR and others of the same size are spending a lot of time looking at.

This is not a criticism of TR. If AL was the owner of a global legal tech company it would also do two things:

  1. collect business intelligence on innovations in the market that could be used by the company, or where the company needs to be aware it could be losing client revenue in the future.
  2. seek to fill any emerging gaps in the company’s tech stack, whether by being inspired by smaller rivals and building it internally, or by buying up startups to fill those gaps.

It’s a hard one this, as on one hand AL totally applauds TR for building such an awesome platform, which when added to its other offerings is highly useful, and on the other hand there is a sense that in the longer term many great startups will likely be stymied in their growth by the ‘big boys’ offering just what they offer to lawyers, but as part of an already well-established platform, which is very hard to compete against.

During the prep talk last night, Liz Hardy from TR explained: ‘[This allows] lawyers to have more informed scoping and budgeting, to have matter maps, to be kept up to date if there are changes in the law, to have guidance at a matter level, to be able to share this right across the firm, and to execute much faster on legal work and embed KM into the firm.’

And as noted, all of this integrates with Practical Law and 3E. To conclude: this looks to be a very significant move by TR and will no doubt have an impact.

Below are some screen shots:

Matter map and guidance.
Project management.
Improved time keeping, which helps with modelling of legal costs and budgets.

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