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Westlaw

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Lawyerist Rating for Westlaw

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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.

3/5

Product Details

Apps
  • iOS
  • Web
Software Integrations
  • Microsoft Word
  • Practical Law

Core Features

For Online Legal Research, the following are essential features, and you should therefore expect to see a check in every box in this section.

Yes
No

Free Trial

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A citation checker helps you identify whether a case or statute has been overruled, modified, or reversed or repealed.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.

Suggestions

When you run a search, get suggestions for additional searches to run or material you should look at.

Alerts

Flag key cases so that you get an email notification if it is cited in a new case, statute, or secondary source.

Open API

Compare Westlaw Similar Products

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Westlaw

3/5

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  • Secondary Sources
  • Citation Check
  • Integrations
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No Integrations
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LexisNexis

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Pros
  • Secondary Sources
  • Citation Check
  • Integrations
Cons
  • Expensive
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Fastcase

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Pros
  • Open API
  • Docket Search
  • Public Records Search
Cons
  • Limited Secondary Sources
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Casemaker

4/5

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Pros
  • Docket Search
  • Bar Assoc. Deals
  • Tribal Court Opinions
Cons
  • Limited Secondary Sources
  • No Case Alerts
  • No Integrations

Westlaw Community Reviews

1.3

Based on 1 Rating

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Leave a Review

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Where can I use Westlaw?

    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.

    What is the price of Westlaw?

    A one-year commitment to Westlaw Classic for one state costs firms $119.20/month. This Westlaw pricing tier includes case law, statutes, KeyCites, and Court Rules for one state.

    Does Westlaw integrate with my Law Practice Management Software?

    No, Westlaw's legal subscription service does not directly integrate with any Law Practice Management Software.

    Does Westlaw have a MS Word plugin?

    Yes. A Microsoft Word add-in is included in every Westlaw pricing tier.

    Does Westlaw search caselaw?

    Yes. Every pricing tier for Westlaw includes a subscription to at least one state's case law.

    What secondary sources does Westlaw have?

    Westlaw has a wealth of secondary sources. This sets them apart from some of the other legal research providers. However, users will need to add-on additional features, or opt for one of the higher priced subscription tiers to get access to them.

    Is Westlaw reliable?

    Yes. Westlaw's information is generally considered up-to-date and reliable.

    Is Westlaw difficult to use?

    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.

    Can I get docket information from Westlaw?

    Yes. Many of the higher priced Westlaw subscriptions come with the ability to search dockets. However, the availability in state courts can be a bit spotty.

    Does Westlaw have reminders and alerts?

    Yes. Even in the Classic Westlaw pricing tier, users get access to case alerts and search reminders.

    Additional Details about Westlaw

    Who Westlaw if For

    Westlaw’s Classic plans are likely to be more attractive to firms of all sizes who are looking for a legal research solution. These plans are actually more limited than other, less expensive, resources out there. Firms needing sources from more than one state, or that bill on a flat fee, might not find the best fit in Westlaw.

    Alternatively, larger law firms billing for associate research time, may actually find Westlaw Edge costs less for their clients. Additionally, firms that need a specific secondary source along with case law review, will likely need to include an add-on to their Westlaw subscription at an additional cost.

    Westlaw Subscription Pricing

    Westlaw Classic

    Classic is a no frills legal research database. This Westlaw pricing tier is intended to compete with some of the less established legal research platforms out there like Casetext, and Fastcase. It’s much less expensive than Westlaw’s other plans. But it can quickly add up with customizations. At its most basic, this Westlaw subscription runs $119.20/user/month, which includes State Court case law (for one state), KeyCites, Statutes, and Court Rules. Which doesn’t include what they are known for—robust secondary sources. 

    Westlaw Precision

    Westlaw is still rolling out its Precision product. Users can request a free trial, but there does not appear to be any specific pricing details on the website at the time of this review. They bill this product as a way to cut research time significantly. At this time, it does not appear to be a useful product for small to medium sized law firms.

    Westlaw Edge

    Edge is now Westlaw’s premier product. And at somewhere around $174.40/user/month, it’s not much more than Classic. However, Westlaw recently reduced its power. Essentially, this plan adds some Edge features to the Classic plan. It includes litigation analytics, predictive searching, and KeyCite overruling risk. But users still have to increase their plan, or include substantial add-ons to get access to Federal Law, analytics, dockets, and secondary sources.

    KeyCite Overruling Risk

    KeyCite Overruling Risk comes with the Edge subscription and expands KeyCite by flagging a case if it relies on bad or overruled law. Users can find cases that have been explicitly overruled through Keycite, all at once.

    Statutes Compare

    Statutes Compare allows statutory revisions comparisons on the state and federal level to help understand the legislative intent. This insight allows incorporation of legislative intent into business advice and litigation advocacy. Statutes Compare shows exactly how a statute has evolved and is included with a Westlaw Edge subscription.

    Secondary Sources

    Westlaw’s software features a comprehensive secondary sources database that includes a streamlined interface to browse and bookmark publications. This is where Westlaw (and LexisNexis) set themselves apart from the rest. However, this is also where they charge the most. Currently, users need to add-on secondary sources to any of their subscriptions, often at a significant price.

    Not sure where to begin? Download our Field Guide

    Take the guesswork out of researching, purchasing, and implementing the right legal tech products and services for your law firm. Our Field Guide answers your essential questions and breaks down the features most important to your business, so you can buy with confidence.

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