Thomson Reuters recently sat down with attorney Nick Vivian from the firm Eckberg Lammers to talk about his firm’s work challenges, goals, and his experience with Thomson Reuters Practical Law Connect™.
Q: What are some of the challenges your law firm faces on a day-to-day basis?
A: Daily, we’re trying to get back to our clients as quickly as we can with responses that are accurate, comprehensive, and put our clients in the best position on the projects in which we’re involved. We’re trying to do that in an environment where we’re dealing with a high volume of work. And technology really is changing the landscape of the legal profession, in that respect. No longer are lawyers expected to be in their office from 8 to 6; lawyers are expected to be on-call at most hours of the day, and we need to be prepared to respond meaningfully to our clients whenever they contact us.
We can use technology as part of our story to sell to new clients, but then we understand the obligation of being so connected also places a heavy burden on our attorneys.
Time and billing is also a challenge. Oftentimes – particularly younger attorneys – will spend a lot of time drafting, and they will get to the end of the month when we bill out our clients, and they will look at their bill and say, well, I billed too much, so I’m going to have to write it down.
Q: What are your firm’s goals?
A: For a firm like ours that is growth-oriented, we are constantly looking for ways to provide flexibility to our attorneys in the manner in which they practice. We are also looking to effectively manage our research costs, and to make sure that we have the most current and most accurate resources available.
Q: What would help you obtain your goals?
A: Having the appropriate resources available to help me get a solid start minimizes the risk that I’m going to have to write down hours at the end of the month. So, it would help save time because if I’m more efficient, when I get to the end of the month, the bills are more in line with the fees that should be charged for a particular document, or a particular work product, which then also increases profitability.
Q: You recently purchased Thomson Reuters Practical Law Connect, a new legal practice solution. How has it changed the way you work?
A: Practical Law Connect efficiently categorizes information by practice area and tasks and allows me, personally, to get to that information more quickly so I can find it, call it up, review it, and relay it to the client. Then we can move on a particular action step, or we can put together a particular plan of action. Much of what Practical Law Connect provides is efficiency in finding the information, giving me the opportunity to review and analyze the information and get back to the client in a timely, responsive manner – with information that we know is correct.
Q: Practical Law Connect starts with practice areas, and then provides tasked-based menus to help you drill down to locate tasks. How do you use these menus?
A: Very often I’m looking for a particular type of agreement, or information on a particular concept or type of transaction. And that’s where the menus are very helpful because, rather than starting with a search and searching the broad spectrum of information that was available before – but not in this format – I can click through the menus to directly find the type of agreement that I’m looking for.
For example, if I’m looking for a shareholder agreement, I know I can go to the business organizations tab and get direct links to shareholder agreements. If I’m looking for clauses or if I’m looking for forms, it’s out there and it’s categorized in a way that intuitively makes sense and allows me to get there. The links and the menus have been very helpful in getting away from doing broad searches, which require me to look through long lists of information. For me, one of the greatest benefits of Practical Law Connect is the fact that it classifies information based on practice area ... the relevant practice areas within which I work and spend the majority of my time.
Q: Practical Law Connect provides content that is hand-picked by our attorney-editors, and serves up only content relevant to your task at hand. How has this affected your work?
A: Because of the time that the attorney-editors spend selecting the content and the fact that the documents are maintained and updated on a regular basis ... we’re very confident that we’re getting the best, most current and accurate information that we need.
Q: Has Practical Law Connect helped your firm provide better service to your clients?
A: Practical Law Connect provides us with a greater opportunity to go back and double-check our work, because we’ve finished a task ahead of time, and so we have more time to go back and review our work and make sure that the agreement says exactly what it needs to say, or that the set of agreements cover the entire situation that we’re trying to address. It helps us accomplish our goal of really serving our clients and exceeding their expectations.
Nick is a partner with Eckberg Lammers, a Midwest law firm with offices in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He serves as the lead attorney for the firm’s banking & finance, business, and commercial real estate groups.
Practical Law Connect is the first-of-its-kind solution that delivers trusted Thomson Reuters legal know-how, primary law, and workflow tools. It’s intuitively organized to feature the most relevant resources selected by our team of experts so you get the answers you need quickly.
Practical Law Connect is uniquely organized by practice area and task, making it easier for you to focus on what needs to get done – without having to sort through what you don’t need. You get precisely what you need to deliver your best work faster and more efficiently, all from one innovative solution.