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Westlaw Rating:


  • Customer Experience & Support - 8/10
  • Pricing & Value - 7/10
  • Innovation & Future-Proofing - 8/10
Comments Rating 1.33 (3 reviews)

Rating Breakdown

Our Rating: 3.8/5

Our rating is based on our subjective judgment. Use our resources—including our rating and community ratings and reviews—to find the best fit for your firm.

Community Rating: 1.3/5 (based on 3 ratings)

The community rating is based on the average of the community reviews below.

Composite Rating: 3/5

The composite rating is a weighted average of our rating and the community ratings below.

Westlaw is an online legal research platform with a multitude of different subscriptions you can buy (and, frankly, different services). Essentially, it’s a proprietary database of case law, statutes, treatises, and other secondary sources from legal technology heavyweight, Thomson Reuters. Along with LexisNexis, it’s currently the industry standard for case lookup and secondary source searches. And, just like LexisNexis, many have found Westlaw to be cost prohibitive. However, if you need comprehensive legal research, you’re unlikely to find a more thorough database. Take a look at our Westlaw review and features, below, to see if it’s the right solution for you.

Who Westlaw is For

Westlaw’s new, more affordable, Essential plans are likely to be more attractive to firms of all sizes who are looking for a legal research solution. But these plans are actually more limited than other, less expensive, resources out there. If you need sources from more than one state, or you bill on a flat fee, Westlaw may not be the review platform for you.

Alternatively, larger law firms who are billing for associate research time, may actually find Westlaw Edge to cost less for their clients. Additionally, those who need a specific secondary source along with their case law review, will likely benefit from buying a Westlaw subscription.

Westlaw Features

Starting Cost
Free Trial
  • iOS
  • Web
US State Cases
All 50 States
US State Statutes
All 50 States
US Cases
US Statutes
Secondary Sources
News Coverage
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI legal assistants can help you identify relevant cases and statutes, and may even help you draft your brief.
Natural Language Search
Can you search by entering a question in normal language rather than keywords or Boolean connectors and phrases?
Boolean Search
With Boolean operators like AND, OR, and more, you can precisely target your search query.
Case Summaries
Citation Checking
A citation checker helps you identify whether a case or statute has been overruled, modified, or reversed or repealed.
Filter Search
Can you restrict your search to certain parts or features of cases and statutes, like the date, judge, or jurisdiction?
Research History
Research history makes it easier to find the results of previous searches or see if the law has changed with new results.
Research Folders
Organize your research history into folders.
PDF/Word Downloads
Download cases and statutes as a formatted PDF or Word document.
When you run a search, get suggestions for additional searches to run or material you should look at.
Flag key cases so that you get an email notification if it is cited in a new case, statute, or secondary source.
Software Integrations
  • None
Open API

Additional Details

Buying Westlaw Subscriptions

Westlaw subscription buyers guide
Current as of October 2020

Westlaw Essentials

Westlaw Essentials is just that—the essentials. It is intended to compete with some of the less established legal research platforms out there like ROSS Intelligence, Casetext, Casemaker, and Fastcase. It’s much less expensive than Westlaw’s other plans. But it is Basic. Buying this Westlaw subscription at $89/user/month, will get you State Court case law (for one state), KeyCites, Statutes, and Court Rules. You’re not really getting access to what they are known for, which is robust secondary sources.

Westlaw Plus

The Plus package is a substantial jump above Essentials (both in content and in cost). At its simplest, when you buy this Westlaw subscription, you get access to case law and statutes from a single state and its corresponding federal jurisdiction. In addition to this expanded case law, you’ll also get secondary sources from that state, more robust statutes searches, legislative history, and more.

Westlaw Edge

Edge, is now Westlaw’s premier product. And at nearly $400/user/month, it’s likely beyond the budget of many attorneys. However, it has a lot of research power. For one, it comes with case law and statutes from all states and federal jurisdictions. Then, it gives you access to state specific secondary sources. And lastly, it gives you access to AI and Data driven tools that are specific to Edge.

KeyCite Overruling Risk

KeyCite Overruling Risk comes included in the cost of the Westlaw Edge subscription. It expands KeyCite by flagging a case if it relies on bad or overruled law. To be clear, you can still find cases that have been explicitly overruled by using Keycite alone. The Overrulling Risk portion simply 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, but it is only included when you buy a Westlaw Edge subscription.

Secondary Sources

Westlaw’s software features a comprehensive secondary sources database that lets you bookmark favorite publications and browse through publications in a streamlined user interface. This is where Westlaw (and LexisNexis) set themselves apart from the rest. However, this is also where they charge the most. You’ll have to at least purchase a Westlaw Plus subscription. Even then, however, you’re initially limited to a single state.

Alternatives to Westlaw

Leave a Review

3 Westlaw Community Reviews

  1. David G. says:

    Love to Hate Westlaw

    I’m a solo litigation attorney and like many others, I was hooked during law school by the free Westlaw access provided to students (this is like giving free cigarettes to high schoolers). I’ve been on my own since 2009 and during most of that time, I’ve paid for a Westlaw subscription that gives me access to pretty much all state/federal caselaw, but not much else.

    Here’s the reality — as a litigator, you can’t afford to lose a case because your research missed something important. So, I regard access to a solid legal research tool to be non-optional.

    Having said that, while I like the Westlaw service, I absolutely cannot stand the COMPANY. They are HORRIBLE. Westlaw’s contract terms are simply abusive. Example = if you sign a 12-month contract, it will automatically renew (with a significant increase) unless you cancel, in writing, within a narrow window of time. Also, can you cancel via email? NOPE. The ONLY accepted method of cancelation is to send SNAIL MAIL. In the year 2021, what company would do such a thing?

    It’s like Westlaw is being operated by a group of greedy a-holes who learned their sharp business practices in the early 1980s and have refused to consider changing with the times.

    Honestly, given the size of this market, I would really like to see someone like Google or maybe Amazon create a competing service that will simply drive Westlaw out of business….or at least force them to seriously change their business practices.

    On that note, I am VERY close to giving CaseText a try. Their pricing is WAY more reasonable and the service seems good…..I just don’t like the format of their website (WAY too much white space on every page).

  2. Melinda M. says:

    Bait and Switch

    I did a free trial merely so I could read my own article. During the trial, a salesman reached out and after talking he outfitted me with a custom product to address my estate planning needs. This included a custom home page.
    Lo and behold, a few months in (after using the product only a couple times) I managed to click on a different service that appears on my home page and incurred an extra $174 charge for “viewing a document” not in my plan. I have no idea what I did, but it took a couple weeks to get them to give me a “one time only credit” whereupon I was basically called a liar. I sent in a request to cancel my contract based on the horrible service experience and being afraid to use the product–still didn’t know how I incurred the extra charge.
    The very snippy reply indicated that they believe both parties need to uphold the contracts, so I couldn’t quit until my year was up. Further, my request to cancel was not viewed as a “request to terminate” under termination clause so if I failed to make a request to terminate at least sixty days prior to the end of the contract, I would be re-renewed for another year at an increased rate.
    You know what else this company doesn’t have in their pages of fine print? A non-disparagement clause.
    In my opinion, they are the worst of the legal research options and I will never, ever recommend doing business with them.

  3. Shayla D. says:

    Fake free trial

    I literally signed up for a 7 day free trial, and tried it out for a few hours tops. It kept logging me out. I tried to sign back in hours later and it said I could no longer have access. I called the number, and I was literally told that I had used up my 5 free hours. According to them, it’s 5 free hours or 7 days, whichever occurs first. That’s not true! I used it for only 2 hours. They should know since they track all search history, etc. What a joke! Right off the bat and these guys are alerady breaching imlied warranties! Being dishonest right off the bat is not the best way to win customers. I’ll keep shopping.