Image courtesy of Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters, a software and information provider to businesses and professionals, announced Thursday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire London-based Practical Law Company, which offers legal content and workflow tools to law firms and corporate legal departments in the UK and U.S.
Allison Guidette, managing director of Large Law Firms Segment at Thomson Reuters, said that the acquisition was in response to customer needs PLC offers customers know-how to meet the practice needs of law firms and corporate legal departments. According to Robert Dow, PLC's chair and co-founder, 80 percent of Am Law 200 law firms and more than 700 corporate legal departments in the U.S. now subscribe to the company's practice materials and resources.
When asked how PLC compares to Lexis Practice Advisor, a legal information resource for transactional lawyers, Guidette said that PLC is broader than transactions, aiming to support all research tasks presented to corporate legal departments and law firms. Ian Nelson, PLC's vice president of Business Development and Marketing, said that although PLC and LPA compete for law firm and corporate legal budgets, PLC offers legal content and workflow tools to accomplish common tasks and transactions for general counsel and law firm practice groups. LexisNexis declined to comment on the acquisition and PLC's competitive position relative to LPA.
PLC provides a wide range of legal content focused on law firm and corporate legal department transactions and tasks for many practice areas from antitrust, commercial, corporate & securities law to employee benefits & executive compensation, environmental, finance, intellectual property, and technology law. PLC's resources within each practice area include:
Practice notes: how-to guides with explanations ranging from basic overviews to detailed analysis for specialists that link to related content in documents, clauses, checklists, and articles.
Standard documents with practical drafting notes and negotiating guidance.
Standard clauses with common contractual clauses and drafting notes.
Checklists, timelines, and flowcharts of current law and practice.
PLC resources are grouped in a hierarchical arrangement by Law Firm and Law Department. I first drilled down into Law Firm materials, which are partitioned by a number of practice groups: Commercial, Corporate Securities, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Finance, Intellectual Property & Technology, International Arbitration, Labor & Employment, and Federal Litigation with additional practice areas in Antitrust, Real Estate, and Tax.
I selected IP & Technology materials and found the top-level user interface is shared among all the practice materials and includes a list of the top five most popular resources accessed by customers or subscribers. Here, the most popular document was a bring-your-own-device to work (BYOD) policy with drafting notes. In a mouse click, I saved the policy my desktop and opened it in Microsoft Word document. I viewed the policy with the drafting notes, but you can also open the document without the notes and open the notes in a separate document.
Featured tools on the practice page include What's Market, Cross-border, and Glossary. These tools, along with a search window powered by Google Search Appliance, were available from most all web pages. The What's Market tool includes information on U.S. deals tracked by PLC editors in selected topic areas that includes public merger and private acquisition agreements; initial public offerings and equity offerings; commercial, license, and credit agreements; commitment letters; and executive employment agreements.