The legal sector has traditionally lagged when it comes to IT adoption, but cost pressures, coupled with stagnant growth in the profession in recent years, have meant they are hustling to catch up.

That is translating to increased pressures for a solution provider such as Thomson Reuters Elite to keep up with the demands placed on it by its ProLaw clients, so it’s turned to CenturyLink to meet its cloud hosting requirements. A partnership announced last month will see CenturyLink provide secure and scalable cloud environments designed to help ProLaw clients transform their businesses through the integration of ProLaw with the CenturyLink Cloud platform.

Although this particular collaboration is new, Elisabet Hardy, vice-president of product management at Thomson Reuters Elite, said CenturyLink has been a partner for more than 10 years, having had a deep relationship with Thomson Reuters’ financial and risk management business unit, so it was a natural fit for ProLaw, she said. “CenturyLink provides us with a cost-effective offering for our prospects.”

As part of Thomson Reuters Legal, Elite provides an end-to-end enterprise business management offering that enables law firms and professional services organizations to run all operational aspects of their firms, including business development, risk management, client and matter management, and financial management, Hardy said. With access to CenturyLink’s portfolio of cloud technologies to develop and deploy enterprise applications, ProLaw clients will be able cut costs by driving greater efficiency of IT resources.

“Aside from their technology, how they partner is a great testament as to why they are a good fit for Thomson Reuters,” said Hardy, who was impressed by how well through out CenturyLink’s planning was in terms of taking the time understand the process of how ProLaw onboards its customers.

John Lippman, managing director, financial services at CenturyLink, said it was important to look at the relationship with Thomson Reuters in terms of how its ProLaw customers were embracing digital transformation so it could come up with a business model that would create sustainable visibility into what value would be delivered, and how CenturyLink could ensure predictability of cost and put mechanisms into place that will reduce costs over time for the ProLaw client base. “We tried to have an external view in.”

Hardy said Thomson Reuters could have struck out on its own to build this technology, but that’s not its expertise. CenturyLink not only offered the cloud services the company was looking for, other services across the technology stack.

A big driver for ProLaw’s cloud offerings is that the legal industry in and of itself has gone through a transformation due to tremendous pressures to cut costs and change its pricing models, she said. Their customers are looking to be able to price legal services more easily and more predictably, so Thomson-Reuters ProLaw customers’ must start keeping more up to date with software than they have in the past. “They need to use technology more heavily.”

Smaller, mid-size law firms without their own IT staff are particularly challenged, said Hardy, but embracing the right technology through a partner such can be advantageous for them and potentially allow them to compete with larger firms in an industry that hasn’t seen a lot growth and historically hasn’t put technology at the forefront. “It’s great time to be software and technology provider in the legal services industry.”

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