HighQ and Microsoft: a template for a collaboration
Note: A version of this article was originally published by Briefing Magazine. Republished here with permission.
Do you remember when we used to say things like 'I'll post it first class', or the more sophisticated 'I'll fax it to you'? Paper ruled, and progress was measured in weeks, or perhaps days, but certainly not hours and minutes. We've come a long way since then in terms of speed, security and the ability for parties to collaborate on projects effectively. Now even the most unsophisticated clients expect legal professionals not just to share files immediately and securely, but also to message, videoconference, collaborate, and provide insights on matters in near real time.
The post-pandemic market is crowded with simple consumer collaboration tools like Dropbox and Zoom. However, the more sophisticated platforms like Microsoft 365 provide a much richer set of capabilities that go far beyond those of their consumer cousins. In addition, there are specialised legal platforms such as Thomson Reuters HighQ that focus on the things that make the practice of law different from other forms of business.
Basic collaboration tools will not cut it
Law firms and corporate legal teams need more than generic file-sharing or videoconferencing if they want to provide a differentiated client experience to win and retain business. Specialised legal tools are purposely built for law firms, using the language of the law and legal professionals, ensuring that only the right people can share, see, or collaborate on content, even in the most complex or sophisticated projects. These tools provide specialised legal collaboration capabilities, including out-of-the-box data visualisation, workflow automation, and legal-specific AI, while still making sure that every step of a matter is audited and tracked.
When it's time to start working on confidential or complex matters, law firms and corporate legal teams need extra layers of security, control and auditing. They need to ensure that, on a group or individual basis, only the right people can see the right files and folders
So it's interesting to see that companies like Thomson Reuters, with its flagship legal collaboration tool HighQ, describe it as a perfect partner to Microsoft's 365 offering. It takes the best that the ubiquitous Microsoft tools can offer and further builds on them to provide capabilities that empower firms and corporate legal teams to be more efficient, agile and competitive. By using HighQ and Microsoft 365 together, firms work more intelligently and collaboratively with internal colleagues, while delivering more responsive, transparent and valuable services to clients.
Pairing Microsoft Teams with HighQ makes sense for law firms
What is it that makes Microsoft 365, and more specifically Microsoft Teams, a perfect tool to use with HighQ? Teams is a tool designed to make it easy to connect people through chat and videoconferencing. It's incredibly easy for anyone within a legal team or organisation to create as many channels as they like, enabling them to quickly share information, ideas and files across large or small groups. It's the perfect tool for mass communication within a law firm or corporate legal team, where easy access is everything.
However, when it's time to start working on confidential or complex matters, law firms and corporate legal teams need extra layers of security, control and auditing. They need to ensure that, on a group or individual basis, only the right people can see the right files and folders, and that only the right people can see charts or specific data for a particular case. While some of this could be achieved through specialised development of the Microsoft 365 platform, solutions like HighQ offer this kind of security and an additional set of rich, legal-specific capabilities out of the box. Using HighQ, powerful templated solutions can be deployed within minutes to suit specific practice areas or types of legal matter, all without the need for specialized developers or IT infrastructure.
Thomson Reuters continues to make HighQ work seamlessly with Microsoft 365, integrating with Word and the other Microsoft productivity solutions, and making it simple to view, edit, comment on, and version existing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. The HighQ solution also offers an Outlook plugin, making it easy for Outlook users either to file incoming emails or attachments within HighQ, or to share files from HighQ. securely Most recently HighQ has delivered a new integration with Teams, which allows a HighQ user not only to see the status of a user in Teams via the HighQ user profile, but also to offer a quick and easy way to initiate a chat, call or videoconference with that user. Looking further ahead, Thomson Reuters is working on a native Teams app for HighQ that will enable Teams users to upload or share HighQ files securely from within Teams.
As we look forward to a post-pandemic world in which client expectations and demands continue to grow, now is the time to start thinking about how Thomson Reuters and Microsoft together provide the perfect solution for you and your clients. Together, they help to connect your legal professionals, boost productivity, enable you to seamlessly collaborate with others, share valuable insights, and engage with clients and colleagues to deliver world-class legal services.