When conducting legal research, you don’t always have the time you’d like to spend ensuring it’s as thorough and accurate as possible. Whether you need a quick answer, or you have minimal time to submit your brief, you need the best solution available to be as effective and efficient as possible.
But how do you know you can trust the quality and reliability of your legal research technology?
Not all legal research technology is created equal
When researching an issue, you want reassurance that you understand the full picture. There’s the basic text of the law – and then there’s the history, application, and analysis surrounding it. Without an advanced legal research service you may be left to do extensive additional analysis and still not be confident that your research is complete and accurate.
While it may be tempting to start with a free or low-cost legal research option, these services have their limitations. Many providers of free legal information lack the resources to ensure information is current, which could put your research accuracy at risk.
Efficiency without sacrificing confidence
With Westlaw you get far more than just a database of caselaw, statutes, regulations, and other legal documents. Westlaw attorney-editors have created a powerful foundation of editorially enhanced content that makes it easier for you to find, validate, and interpret the law.
Here are some of the key enhancements that simplify research on Westlaw.
Key Number System: The Key Number System is the master classification system of U.S. law. A Topic and Key Number from the Key Number System is assigned to each legal issue in a published opinion so you can easily zero-in on relevant cases that address a specific point of law.
Even when you’re researching a topic you’re less familiar with – such as the law in another jurisdiction, where the terminology and application may be different from what you know – you can be confident that the Key Number System will lead you to the information you need.
Headnotes: Headnotes can be used to quickly identify and understand what a case stands for and whether it’s relevant to your legal issue. Attorney editors identify the important issues of law in a case and then write a short description summarizing the facts, holding, and reasoning being applied so you can determine the case’s relevance. Rather than reading through every case in your results list to determine whether it’s applicable to your specific issue, you can easily pinpoint the cases that match your facts and desired outcome – saving you time.
Notes of Decisions: When you look at a statute or regulation, you need to understand not only what it means, but also how it’s been interpreted and applied. Notes of Decisions on Westlaw are annotations that summarize important cases interpreting a statute or regulation, giving you a more complete picture of how the law has been applied. Each Note of Decision links to the citing as case as well as the relevant Key Number for the topic discussed, giving you seamless access to a network of cases on a precise topic.
KeyCite: Use KeyCite to see whether your case, statute, regulation, or administrative decision is still good law, determine whether a patent or trademark is still valid, and find citing references to support your legal argument. Plus, with KeyCite Overruling Risk on Westlaw Edge, you can see when a point of law in your case has been implicitly undermined based on its reliance on an overruled or otherwise invalid prior decision.
Discover a better way to research
Even the most advanced legal researcher can be limited by the quality of the technology they are using. When you’re faced with a complicated issue or up against a looming deadline, the last thing you want to be concerned with is whether or not your research is comprehensive and precise. With Westlaw you can rely on exclusive editorial enhancements designed to help you complete research tasks in less time without sacrificing accuracy.