You might think that law as a service is, well, law, but this week Thought River and Taylor Vinters entered into a partnership that represents a change in how clients will be able to consume legal services.

The accumulated legal knowledge and experience of the Taylor Vinters commercial team has been codified based on ThoughtRiver’s Lexible framework so it can integrate with ThoughtRiver’s contract review platform seamlessly. Users of ThoughtRiver will be able to review contracts using a Taylor Vinters approved standard via a simple on-platform purchase.

Leveraging on the speed of ThoughtRiver’s underlying contract pre-screening application, Taylor Vinters, an existing investor in ThoughtRiver, says it will be able to offer legal services not only at a more affordable rate for businesses but also in a fraction of the time of a traditional consultation process.

The partnership will begin with ThoughtRiver offering a full-service package to customers looking for advice on the 3rd party non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that they receive.

Tim Pullan, CEO of ThoughtRiver told Legal IT Insider: “We’re looking to effect a step-change in how people and businesses access legal services.  This will deliver radical benefits for law firm and client.  It enables the law firm to provide much faster, cost-effective solutions for straightforward client needs.  It offers a different revenue stream for law firms, one that can literally earn whilst they sleep.  Third, it offers law firms new client relationships they would not have otherwise acquired, and clients easier access to expertise.”

He adds: “The idea of law firms productising expertise in this way is not new.  But the historical block has been deliverability.  Building a ThoughtRiver from scratch is very hard and expensive to do and beyond the appetite and capabilities of even large global professional services firms.  That’s the reason why most law firm ‘products’ to-date have really been traditional lawyer services re-packaged with a bit process and marketing, checklists and precedents – these things are deliverable.  We now make it possible to do more.   ThoughtRiver gives law firms a platform on which to launch more sophisticated and higher value automated services using existing capabilities.”

In a statement out this week, Matt Meyer, CEO of Taylor Vinters said: “This new technology allows us to take a pioneering step forward within the professional-level legal services landscape – to position law as a commercial service model. We’re excited to have worked with ThoughtRiver to develop cutting edge new business and technology frameworks which will have a genuine impact on the service we can provide to our clients, opening up what we have to offer to a much larger audience.”

The partnership falls into a trend towards ‘law as service’ but we asked Pullan, isn’t that what law is anyway? “Our phrasing reflects the coming change in how we access legal services,” Pullan said. “Law has indeed, always been a service, but delivered traditionally without the self-service convenience and speed which characterises the modern Software As A Service industry. Together with our partners we’re helping to bring legal services into the SAAS age.”

ThoughtRiver anticipates that 20 law firms/providers globally will be accepted into this initiative by mid-2020, with cohorts broken down by geography and expertise.

This latest news follows a series of firsts for ThoughtRiver. In September, ThoughtRiver announced an integration with data visualisation system Tableau to boost contract risk analysis for its clients, as well as the launch of its Microsoft Word plug-in, which gives legal professionals the ability to automatically review and remediate contracts directly within Microsoft Word.

What’s next? “Partnerships outside of legal services,” Pullan says.