Thomson Reuters (TR) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ThoughtTrace, an NLP-driven document analysis business, in what is a major step for the giant company.
This site has often wondered when TR would buy a doc analysis company. With its purchase of HighQ, the team there has been building some capabilities in this area, but with ThoughtTrace, which has a team of around 60 people and started in 2017, they will have a much greater strength in NLP contract analysis and review.
Now you might ask: who is ThoughtTrace? The reason it’s not so well-known in the legal world is that lawyers are only one segment of its client group. It also works across real estate, the energy sector, and with several other industries.
The Texas-based company’s approach is similar to most other NLP providers in the doc analysis field, i.e. pre-trained software that is matched to particular types of document and contract.
Why does this deal matter? Scale is the simple answer. TR has the ability to roll out this capability to a very broad audience, potentially having an impact on customers of the well-known brands in this market. I.e. ‘You use TR for research, for KM needs via Practical Law, and maybe use Contract Express and HighQ, now you can use our own NLP doc review tech as well, all on one platform.’
While not every firm or inhouse team may jump at this opportunity, it strengthens TR’s hand and provides those looking for NLP-driven review tools with another option that they may not have considered before.
It will also help to provide more CLM-type provision of services to corporates, i.e. run your docs through this and extract data, then perhaps use HighQ to move and share that data around the business.
The company said: ‘ThoughtTrace will be key to helping customers generate additional efficiencies, streamline workflows, improve accuracy and reduce risk. As we continue providing the highest level of service and quality products to customers, we intend to leverage the innovative products and technology from ThoughtTrace to deliver even greater value, specifically focusing on contract analysis, contract lifecycle management and legal workflows.’
Kriti Sharma, who joined Thomson Reuters in October 2021 as chief product officer for the LegalTech product portfolio, commented: ‘We are excited to have ThoughtTrace joining our organization, and this acquisition brings additional technology and expertise to further the AI and analytics capabilities in our LegalTech platform.’
‘Thomson Reuters has long been a leader using AI and machine learning, and this will accelerate advancements in multiple areas, including contract analysis, contract lifecycle management and legal workflows.’
Sharma added: ‘The integration of ThoughtTrace will enable us to further serve the needs of our customers through the tasks related to contract analysis and contract lifecycle management, as well as embedding intelligence in their workflow. We are excited to bring the innovative products and technology from ThoughtTrace to Thomson Reuters to create new experiences and enhance our offerings for our customers.’
Nick Vandivere, CEO at ThoughtTrace, concluded: ‘Our success at ThoughtTrace has really been built upon a relentless customer focus and a passion for building elegant solutions that meet our customers where they are. Being a part of Thomson Reuters will allow us to continue that at scale, across many industries and use cases. We could not be more excited for what this combination brings to our team members, our customers, and the future of applied artificial intelligence.’
Terms of the deal were not disclosed and completion of the transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approval.
Is this a big deal? Yes, although much depends on uptake, and we cannot know how that will look for a while. Either way, this is something of a watershed moment for TR. They have really filled one area of their tech stack that needed a boost and this could perhaps have an impact on rivals working in the same NLP review and analysis field.