Westlaw Redux


A few days ago I posted about my decision to fire Westlaw. I've had inquiries from all over the country since then. It turns out I am not alone. Plenty of folks feel hooked on Westlaw. They also feel that the pusher has grown unresponsive. When it comes to its billing practices, the company is run like a medieval estate: Finding someone to take accountability and actually answer a question in a straight-forward and binding way is near impossible. The only certainty is that the absent Lord must be paid his rents.

To Hell with Westlaw, I say.

The day I published the piece on Westlaw, I received an email from the folks at Bloomberg News. It turns out they have a new legal research product, and they are offering a free tryout period. The account representative I spoke too seemed to understand what lawyers do and what they are looking for.

I pass her name and number along to those of you looking for an alternative: Bloomberg L.P., Beth S. Phillips, 731 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022; 212-617-3183.

Although I am deeply suspicious of new products and tend to believe they often promise far more than they deliver, I am even more disgusted by Westlaw's assumption that it can ignore me and keep my business. We tried for years to get to the bottom of the Westlaw morass. We never got answered. I pleaded with my field reps. They threw up their hands in despair. Yesterday another Westlaw person called. The message I asked my secretary to relay to him is as follows: "It's too late. We're through."

Lexis/Nexis has also reached out to try to get my business. I am reluctant to go to another megahouse for electronic information. Besides, from what I have read at Simple Justice, the firm disdains bloggers. Although I am not sure, I suspect that Lexis/Nexis might also be a little too big for its britches.

We will be field testing the Bloomberg service in July. I'll report back then. In the meantime, I am looking for an alternative. If you have one, let me know.

Comments: (3)

  • I'm just a law student, but I've never been overly...
    I'm just a law student, but I've never been overly impressed with Westlaw. The way the set-up is at our school, WL kind of has a stranglehold on things. There is a Lexis presence, but we basically have to go through WL to get our class assignments. The WL reps don't seem too eager to answer your questions, and the general attitude among them seems to be "We're Westlaw and you've got no where else to go."
    Just my .02, though.
    Posted on June 14, 2010 at 10:04 am by Guy
  • WestLaw is now OutLaw. Rearrest! Bailiff? Ain't th...
    WestLaw is now OutLaw. Rearrest! Bailiff? Ain't this the Wild wild West!?! This is crazier than I could have imagined. Bloomberg scores again. Better him than BloominTall,...or Elliot SpitZer (birds of a feather). You heard it here first.
    Posted on June 10, 2010 at 12:35 pm by William Doriss
  • Thanks for the update. Looking forward to your Blo...
    Thanks for the update. Looking forward to your Bloomberg review.
    Posted on June 10, 2010 at 3:09 am by Jeena Belil

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