New Year, New Look for Westlaw

If you’ve used Westlaw this semester, you’ve likely noticed some major changes, or perhaps thought you’d accessed the wrong database!  Indeed, as of January 2019, all law students now have access to Westlaw Edge, the latest iteration of Thomson Reuters’ Westlaw platform.

Rest assured, the basic functionality and organization of Westlaw has stayed the same, so you won’t need to learn a new way of doing research.  That being said, though, a few new features are worth noting, each of which results from the system’s increased use of artificial intelligence.

WestSearch Plus.  This feature allows you to begin typing your terms or area of law into the universal search box and receive suggested search queries and secondary sources.  In the screenshot below, for example, typing “employment discrimination” into the search box results in suggested searches such as “What is pretext in employment discrimination?”  For a brief video overview of this feature, visit: https://youtu.be/SNkzvViOUYw.

A Screenshot of Westlaw Edge's New WestSearch Plus Feature

KeyCite Overruling Risk.  Up to this point in time, Keycite flags have only applied to the case you’re viewing, not the underlying cited authorities.  So, for example, even if the case you’re viewing has not been explicitly reversed or overruled, it may be relying on one or more cases that are no longer good law.  KeyCite Overruling Risk addresses this by assigning a new treatment symbol to cases relying upon reversed or overruled authority–an orange circle with a white triangle containing an exclamation point.  For a brief video overview of this feature, visit: https://youtu.be/Nbw0a5zmIGo.

Statutes Compare.  Statutory sections and regulations on Westlaw now include a “Compare Versions” button above the text.  This feature allows you to quickly review how the text of a statute or regulation has changed over time.  For a brief video overview of this feature, visit: https://youtu.be/kDl7vOxJqDM.

Litigation Analytics.  The largest addition to the platform in terms of content is “Litigation Analytics,” which allows you to gain granular insights into courts, judges, attorneys, law firms, and case types.  Using this feature, you can investigate questions such as “How often does my judge grant motions to dismiss?” or “What types of litigation does a law firm handle?” For a video overview of this feature, visit: https://youtu.be/_i9ySuGplpc.

If you have any questions about these new features or anything else research-related, just ask a librarian.  We’re happy to help!

Associate Law Librarian for Technology Initiatives and Instruction

Posted in Library Resources, Resource Spotlight, Uncategorized
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