Thompson Reuters’ Westlaw is one of the biggest names in online legal research. Its recently-released main online legal research tool, Westlaw Edge, now boasts searches powered by “artificial intelligence” and 100 years of attorney-edited annotations.
WestSearch Plus. This is Edge’s version of the Google search. Use natural language to query and, as you’re typing, WestSearch Plus will anticipate the best answers using its algorithms powered by machine learning.
KeyCite Overruling Risk. KeyCite Overruling Risk comes with your Edge subscription and expands KeyCite by flagging a case if it relies on bad or overruled law. You can still find cases that have been explicitly overruled through Keycite. This saves you time by looking at all those cases at once.
Statutes Compare. Statutes Compare allows you to compare statutory revisions on the state and federal level to help you understand the legislative intent. This insight lets you incorporate legislative intent in your business advice and litigation advocacy. Statutes Compare shows you exactly how a statute has evolved and is included with your Westlaw Edge subscription.
The company does not provide pricing information for small firms, though it does offer a free trial if you’re interested in that. It may make sense for you to speak with a Westlaw sales representative, too. They can be pushy and will definitely put you on a series of marketing lists, but they can also be beneficial for teaching you to navigate available tools and offering you free trials (and extensions of those free trials) if you are genuinely shopping and tinkering with the tools to make sure they’re right for your firm.
Westlaw does make pricing information available for solo attorneys:
A 3-year subscription to the Essentials Plan, which only covers primary law, will cost you $85/user/mo.
For premium content, which includes primary law and state practice guides, forms, and litigation content, expect to pay $107/user/mo for a 3-year subscription.
Edge, which includes all of the above plus WestSearch Plus, KeyCite Overruling Risk, Statutes Compare, and Litigation Analytics, costs $142/user/mo for a 3-year subscription.
If you want access to secondary sources, double those prices.
|Apps||Mobile iOS app only|
|Natural Language Searching||✓|
|Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence||✓|
|Search without an Account|
|Send to Cloud Storage||✓|
Things You Might Want to Know
Mobile app. Need access to your account on the go? You’re in luck if you have an iPhone. For now, the mobile app is only for iOS products.
Litigation Analytics. This feature is also included with your Edge subscription. Litigation Analytics lets you view insights from judges, courts, attorneys, and law firms to help guide your legal strategy.
Secondary sources galore. The software features a comprehensive secondary sources database that lets you bookmark favorite publications and browse through publications in a streamlined user interface.
Who Westlaw is For
While the new product is exciting, it is still burdened by the most common complaint we hear: it is cost-prohibitive for many solos and small firms. As a result, Westlaw seems better-suited for larger law firms or attorneys who need more comprehensive databases with access to secondary sources. Even that recommendation, of course, is based on the assumption that those larger firms and lawyers have a sizeable legal research budget. You will pay handsomely for Westlaw’s luxuries. If you’re interested in giving it a go, you should requesti a free trial.
See all the key features of all the online legal research tools options in our features chart.