Today Thomson Reuters is announcing the release of a major new workflow and pricing solution called Panoramic. The product merges features of Practical Law their knowledge management platform with their cloud based accounting solution 3E.
Several years ago I had an opportunity to see an early version of Panoramic when it was known as Project X and more a “wireframed” concept rather than a product. It is exciting to see the ambitious idea of merging workflow and billing into an actual product.
Panoramic links standard work processes which are called “matter maps” with the firm’s billing system. This allows a firm to use its billing history for similar matters to develop pricing. It also allows lawyers to leverage practice templates and workflows developed by attorney practitioners at Practical Law. Practical Law attorneys update practice guidance as required by changes in the laws or regulations.
According to Elisabet Hardy, Vice President, Financial & Practice Management, Panoramic was designed to address the challenges presented by client driven billing innovations such as AFA’s. This product represents s a serious attempt to corral legal practice and Billing activities into a common yet customizable streamlined workflow.
I also anticipate a product which can standardize both billing processes and workflow activities would address the special challenges of large law firms with many practices and many offices. The size and complexity of Amlaw 200 law firms is often further compounded by the legacy cultures of merged firms which linger long after the rebranding press release.
Let the Guidance Find the Lawyer
“Let the guidance find the lawyer – don’t make the lawyer find the guidance.” – Elisabt Hardy
Panoramic offers in a single dashboard the ability to plan manage and execute a matter using data. An attorney can compare the current matter’s scope with prior matters. Matter maps developed by Practical Law attorneys provide specific guidance on a task going four levels down in granularity. Since matter maps are integrated with the accounting system, partners can easily see attorneys billing rates when assigning tasks and designate the activity codes associated with the task. The assigned attorney receives an email with their assignment and can also track and prioritize all of their assigned tasks.
Here are some additional features:
- Matter maps can be customized based on firm practices.
- Matter maps and budget reports can be shared with clients.
- Matter maps can be linked to specific documents created by the law firm.
- The dashboard provides Real-time matter reports.
- 3E will have five years of firm data history and cab e leveraged for scoping and pricing a matter.
- Assigned and transfer tasks between attorneys.
- Link DMS documents to matter map tasks.
Benefits to Partners
Partners have a matter overview page. It makes it easy for Partners to manage all work activities. Task of guidance allows lawyer to access a billing history of similar tasks and matters. Partner can assign tasks, due dates and billing codes. Christopher Lange a partner at LaClairRyan testified to Panoramic’s value to improved pricing predictability and allowing lawyers to proactively manage their book of business.
Benefit to Associates
One of the hidden benefits I see is the potential of Panoramic as a training tool for associates . A new associate who is assigned a small task in a large matter is somewhat like of the blind men I imagine them off and being like the blind men in the parable of the bind men and the elephant. Each associate is exposed only to a specific set of tasks but other has no idea how large and complex the entire matter is or where their work fits into the whole project.
This product will provide associates with a contextual understanding of their work and show how their assigned tasks fit in an overall workflow. An additional benefit is showing them the financials related to their work and the overall matter.
Enhanced Time Billed
Every law firm fears the under-reporting of billable time. Panoramic has a feature to elp lawyers reconstruct their day in order to capture all billable time associated with delegated tasks. A Reconstruct My Day will remind lawyers of tasks and activities related to their assigned work as a reminder to have a complete billing record.
Available modules include corporate M&A capital markets litigation and finance. Six other matter types will have matter maps at a high-level but not the same granularity. The platform is most robust for subscribers to the Elite 3E platform. Firms on Elite Enterprise can get access to some of the Panoramic functionality but not the time building and profitability tools.
Matter maps are currently available for four major practice areas: Mergers and Acqusitions, Capital Markets, Litigation and Fiance. High level matter maps will also be available for six additional practices.
Additional information about Thomson Reuters Panoramic is available: elite.com/panoramic