3 times to contact a Reference Attorney about your legal research

Mary Schlaphoff
Content writer

Most attorneys have had this experience: You’re conducting legal research for a new case, and at some point, you hit a roadblock. You’re spinning your wheels trying to figure out what stone to turn next, or even first. As a result, you lose precious time. Even if you do eventually find what you need, you may still be uncertain that you’ve uncovered the most important information.

One simple phone call or chat could alleviate all of that. Westlaw users who reach out to the Reference Attorneys, often say they wish they’d done so far sooner. Access to Reference Attorneys is available to all Westlaw Classic and Westlaw Edge customers, and is included in their subscription. Here, we share three instances when contacting a Reference Attorney about your legal research can save you time and stress.

1. You’re not sure where to start.

Your client has presented you with a new matter, but you’re not sure the best place to begin your research. Maybe this is an area of law that you’ve not worked in extensively or recently. Your first step at the beginning of the research process will be to identify the legal issues at hand. Often, secondary sources like journals and law reviews can help you get an understanding of the legal issues before you start digging into the caselaw. But what if you’re not certain where to find the most relevant commentary? This is a good instance when you can call or chat with a Reference Attorney to point you in the right direction. Reference Attorneys know how to take the most direct path to the relevant content on Westlaw.

2. You want to accelerate your legal research process.

You know you need to be as thorough as possible by reviewing all the relevant material that you can. But it can be tricky to know when you’ve been as exhaustive as possible. Sometimes there’s an angle to your matter that you might not have thought of. Furthermore, sometimes it just helps to have a trusted research collaborator to help you spot additional issues and potential causes of action.

Having a second set of eyes from someone who’s extremely familiar with the available content sets can help you to accelerate the research process and potentially identify nuances that haven’t yet been explored. Reference Attorneys have spent years familiarizing themselves with the content in Westlaw Classic and Westlaw Edge, and they know the best approaches to surface what you need.

If you know the legal issues and fact patterns of your matter, but you’re not finding the exact case you need, Reference Attorneys can help with new query ideas, help brainstorm for additional terms, and help you confirm whether or not your perfect language exists. This can save you hours of research time, not to mention the stress of uncertainty about the completeness of your research.

From caselaw to secondary sources to more underutilized content sets like administrative decisions and trial court orders, Reference Attorneys are available to make sure you efficiently find what you need to get to the next step faster.

3. You want to unlock the power of Litigation Analytics.

Attorneys now have an unmatched resource at their disposal to inform their litigation strategy. Up until Litigation Analytics on Westlaw Edge became available, researching judges, opponents, average time to rule, and the like were all cumbersome, inexact processes. Now, researchers can quickly pull up relevant data-driven insights across numerous practice areas to quickly build the best possible case strategy.

Litigation Analytics is a powerful tool that allows you to view and effectively analyze data sets that were previously virtually impossible to search and break down in an efficient manner. But if you’re just getting started, all your options for strategy research may seem daunting. Should I start by researching my judge? The court? The case type? Which filters will give me the best information?

Here’s where Reference Attorneys can assist you. By leveraging legal research expertise with in-depth knowledge of the Westlaw Edge platform, Reference Attorneys can help you dig down into the most important details. You’ll be able to build a stronger, data-driven case strategy like never before. And Reference Attorneys will teach you to do it in the most efficient way possible. A brief conversation could save you hours of research and help you deliver superior client value.

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