How to take your legal library online

Thanks to ProView, a state-of-the-art eBook platform, McCarthy Tétrault no longer has to maintain hundreds of binders and looseleaf materials
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Agathe Bujold knows what it takes to keep a major law firm’s legal library in top shape. As the senior director of research and information at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, she leads a 12-person team that oversees the firm’s print and online research resources. At its core, her job description is straightforward: to make sure the firm’s lawyers can access the information they need exactly when they need it. To achieve that goal, however, is no small feat.

Most legal libraries contain a vast collection of looseleaf holdings. These binder-bound documents, which track changes to caselaw and legislation, coupled with expert author commentary, are updated constantly, sometimes on a weekly basis. Until recently, Bujold and her team had to manually manage these binders by adding new materials and removing out-of-date content. And if a lawyer in the Vancouver office wanted a looseleaf from the library in Toronto, she might have to ship it across the country. Managing all of this physical material took up a lot of time.

In 2017, a solution emerged. The senior leadership at McCarthys bought a firmwide subscription to ProView, a modern eBook platform created by Thomson Reuters. Now, McCarthys can access its entire catalogue of looseleaf holdings online. Thomson Reuters publishes updates directly onto ProView, which puts an end to the onerous administrative work of swapping out paper binders and tracking down missing material.

To access the database, a lawyer can either download the ProView app, which is available on a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet, or log in through a web browser with their username and password. “You can now access a library’s worth of material right on your phone or any other device, wherever and whenever you need it,” says Mario Quiquero, a vice-president with Thomson Reuters. “That is a major benefit.”

At McCarthys, lawyers now find it much easier to conduct meaningful research. The ProView platform allows users to search for keywords across their entire library, which was impossible with print materials. Better still, the search function is connected to WestlawNext Canada, so users can search instantly across both platforms. “You can do broader research on a subject, and make sure you’ve found everything available,” says Bujold. “That’s not something you can quickly do by pulling books off a shelf.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ProView has been especially valuable. Bujold has heard from colleagues at other firms who’ve had limited access to their physical libraries. At McCarthys, meanwhile, lawyers have seen no similar interruption. “This is a 24-hour business,” says Bujold. “It makes no sense that our access to the information we need to do business isn’t 24 hours too.”

ProView, a modern eBook platform from Thomson Reuters, makes it simple to access legal reference materials whenever and wherever you need them. Learn more about ProView today.