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To most lawyers, Westlaw is the search engine that helps them do their work. To Deirdre Stanley, it is her work. Stanley just became senior vice president and general counsel of The Thomson Corporation, which owns Westlaw. Stanley, 37, will oversee information services targeting four sectors: finance, higher education, law, and science and health care. Six years ago, Thomson was a large holding company, with interests as diverse as print media and electronics. Starting in 1996, though, the company began to divest itself of all non-information services holdings. Now Thomson, which posted $7.2 billion in revenues last year, has completed that process and is focusing on improving its information services. Part of that new strategy involves making the law department a “business partner,” Stanley says: “We’ll definitely be doing more than just licensing and following litigation.” She adds that the diverse agenda helped prompt her decision in July to move from USA Networks, Inc., where she was a business executive. The Harvard Law School graduate’s career also includes a stint at New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and an in-house position at GTE Corporation. The financial experience she gained at USA, she says, especially helps as Thomson gets the word out about its new information services emphasis. “We’re focusing on making the Thomson brand better known,” Stanley says. Accordingly, Westlaw’s home page. now carries the Thomson insignia. The company is aware that it’s best known for its First Call service (providing information on the financial markets). Its aim is to extend that cachet to a product like Westlaw, both inside and outside the legal community.

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