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's pricing to be cost prohibitive. However, if you need comprehensive legal research, you're unlikely to find a more thorough database.
Starting Cost: $89/user/month
For Online Legal Research, the following are essential features, and you should therefore expect to see a check in every box in this section.
Based on 3 Reviews
Westlaw is a cloud-based legal research subscription platform. It can be used through any modern browser. Users can also leverage it in other places, like Microsoft Word, by using select add-ons.
As of this review, a three-year commitment to Essentials will cost a firm $89.00/month. This Westlaw pricing tier will get you case law, statutes, KeyCites, and Court Rules for one state of your choosing.
No, Westlaw's legal subscription service does not directly integrate with any Law Practice Management Software.
Yes. A Microsoft Word add-in is included in every Westlaw pricing tier.
Yes. Every pricing tier for Westlaw includes a subscription to at least one state's case law.
Westlaw has a wealth of secondar sources. It is what sets them apart from some of the other legal research providers. However, users will need to opt for one of the higher priced subscription tiers to get access to them.
Yes. Westlaw's information is generally considered up-to-date and reliable.
Yes, and No. Basic boolean searches can be done quite easily, however, some Westlaw subscriptions come with advanced features that may be a bit more difficult to master.
Yes. Many of the higher priced Westlaw subscriptions come with the ability to search dockets. However, the availablity in state courts can be a bit spotty.
Yes. Even in the Essential Westlaw pricing tier, users get access to case alerts and search reminders.
Essentials is just that—the essentials. This Westlaw pricing tier is intended to compete with some of the less established legal research platforms out there like 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.