What Law Firm Practitioners Really Think About Doing Legal Research [Report]

The Australian legal profession has been adopting legal research technologies at an accelerated pace, particularly in recent years. From boutique to mid-sized practices, headlining success usually comes from the ability to fit more tasks into the billable hour. Thanks to technologies grounded in artificial intelligence – allowing you to retrieve advanced legal research facts and results in seconds – firms can now serve their clients with a reduced number of legal research hours without compromising on quality and thus gain time to focus on driving business.

Thomson Reuters has sought to better understand what practitioners really think about legal research to capture their insight and experiences. This report showcases results from a targeted survey of sole to mid-sized law participants based in Australia and New Zealand. The emerging themes drawn from this report offer a unique perspective. While the demands and pressures placed on boutique to mid-sized law from the outset may not seem so different from large law firms – to compete in the market – boutique law firms are expected to stay resourceful. Every client is crucial and small firms tend to go where the business is, wearing many hats due to having fewer lawyers on deck.

With artificial intelligence abilities now a major part of legal research technology, smaller firms can be better equipped with a wealth of expert knowledge on case law and legislation when they need it most.

From going up against a larger firm in a courtroom to taking on cases outside their usual brief, legal practitioners operating in an independent capacity or at a small firm have advantages to gain by raising the bar on their legal research.

Report snapshot

Time is valuable and more is needed: For the average boutique law professional, 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.

Disjointed research experience: If you’re a solicitor or Barrister who finds it absurdly difficult to retrieve a relevant legal answer through online research, you’re not alone. The prevalence of irrelevant search results is a common problem, as indicated among our survey respondents.

Limited resources: Smaller firms and sole practitioners simply do not have the luxury to splash out on legal solutions like larger firms can, according to our research. That said, the survey findings indicate that many practitioners do not know how much they would be prepared to spend on legal technologies, suggesting a gap in their familiarity with the costs involved for the benefits gained.

Legal research credentials

In 2018, Thomson Reuters Legal interviewed 118 participants from a range of organisations in Australia and New Zealand. The majority of those surveyed were legal professionals working in firms with less than 10 practitioners, followed by sole practitioners including Barristers, regional law firms and in-house legal departments in the public and private sector.

Download your complimentary copy the the Thomson Reuters legal research report here on Legal Insight.

Westlaw is built on 200 years of innovating with Australian lawyers and leveraging global technological advancements. Through partnering with you now and in the future, Westlaw remains at the frontier of legal research. Whether you’re a paralegal, a senior associate or a barrister, we continue to evolve alongside you and your practice. With content that has been verified by local experts for centuries and beyond, Westlaw is the trusted solution that you can count on.

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