If you have any friends at Thomson Reuters Legal – it is time to reach out and reconnect. Over the past few weeks multiple sources have confirmed  to me that executives, managers and staff across TR have been “invited to find new employers.”  Some of the people impacted have been fixtures in the legal publishing and tech industry for decades.  I reached out to Thomson Reuters and received the following statement from the Thomson Reuters Communications Department:

“Thomson Reuters is routinely looking at ways to run our global business operations more efficiently and effectively. This disciplined approach sometimes includes the need to make personnel, or other, changes which allow us to balance our internal resources with the needs of our customers in a highly competitive environment.”

Next year many familiar TR faces will be absent from the conference rooms and exhibit halls at the ILTA, Legal Tech and AALL conferences. I guess we can all understand the need to “rightsize” an organization but the timing … right before the holidays is brutal.

TR Closes Rochester Editorial Office

The Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York is reporting that the  127 year old Thomson Reuters office there is closing. That office was the original home of the Lawyers Coop Publishing Company which was acquired by Thomson before the acquisition of the West Publishing Company. The story indicated that Thomson Reuters executives confirmed the closing but refused to provide additional details regarding the number of employees impacted. A quote from the recent investor call suggests that Thomson Reuters plans to reduce their real estate footprint … so other office closings are likely to follow.

These two developments –  follow the Thomson family’s recent sale of a majority stake in its Financial & Risk business to the private equity firm Blackstone Group. Are they getting ready to sell the legal business too?  Or were they really overstaffed?

My Bottom Line – Can This Be Good for TR’s Customers?

Thomson Reuters achieved its dominance in legal publishing  at least in part due to the strength of its editorial enhancements. Yes they have built some great technology – but smart machines don’t build good will… people do. This is not the first layoff at TR or the other large legal information companies. But the relentless turnover and attrition has eroded the quality of customer support across the entire legal information and technology market. Will the editorial quality of TR products also decline? Can customer support and editorial quality be improved or even maintained when the people who embody the collective cultural  “client relations” memory of the organization are marched out the door?