Thomson Reuters has just announced that, sometime over the summer, it is sending Westlaw Classic to live on the farm. A friendly farm, where it can play in fields of casebooks and help … shepardize … ok, fine. All bad puns aside, the mainstay service is retiring sooner rather than later, so Thomson is telling its subscribers to get ready now. Lawyers are notoriously slow to change their ways in everything, and technology is no exception. Law is one of the few industries left that still uses fax machines to transmit documents across distances, and Florida’s State Bar still prohibits soliciting clients via telegraph.
Bob Ambrogi has compared Westlaw Classic’s retirement to the cancellation of New Coke, but time will tell whether its retirement is actually more similar to that of Coca-Cola. The TL;DR can be found here for you millennials. Perhaps lawyers will make the transition smoothly, perhaps not. While Westlaw has been pushing more and more people over to its new platform to ease the transition, it would not be surprising to see some type of backlash once it happens. Maybe some enterprising programmer will build a Westlaw Classic browser extension, but until then we Westlaw subscribers will have to live with the change.
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