Prepare for your Westlaw to look a little different.

Legal research system providers are constantly trying to improve their systems. Four years after the release of Westlaw Edge (the Westlaw version we currently use), Thomson Reuters has announced the launch of its next iteration, Westlaw Precision. Westlaw Precision will be rolled out to all law school students and faculty on January 11 – just three months away.

Thomson Reuters claims that this new system dramatically decreases research time while increasing accuracy. The centerpiece of the launch is Precision Research, a beefed up taxonomy (similar to Topics and Key Numbers) that classifies cases based on a handful of new filters, which are:

  • Legal issue
  • Fact pattern
  • Cause of action
  • Motion type
  • Party type
  • Material facts; and
  • Area of law.

For a detailed review, click here to read Jean O’Grady’s analysis of the new system on her blog, Dewey B. Strategic.

I am most interested in two new features coming to KeyCite, the Cited With feature and the Overruled in Part feature, that I think will improve the already-excellent KeyCite. More information on all of these new features in Westlaw Precision will be forthcoming from us and Westlaw in the future.

It is important to note that law firms and other Westlaw subscribers outside of law schools must pay an additional premium to add Precision to their existing Westlaw subscriptions. Not all employers will adopt Precision quickly or at all, so be prepared for your Westlaw student account to differ from the Westlaw an employer provides to you.

Your future employer may not subscribe to your legal research system of choice, so don’t get too comfortable with one system over the other. Of course, you may not have access to Westlaw or Lexis at all. Currently all attorneys have access to Fastcase through their state bar membership. We also have access to Fastcase here. Click here to access Fastcase. Law students can also sign up for a free Casetext account; Casetext has been doing some interesting things with their system. Click here to sign up for Casetext.

Banner announcing the release of Westlaw Precision to law schools on January 11th.