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Article

Are you finding the best authority?

Adam Riley
Reference Attorney Consultant, Thomson Reuters

When you are writing a brief or corresponding with other attorneys, you want to make sure you are putting your best foot forward. You want to make sure that you are relying on strong and relevant authority. Westlaw Edge has several tools that help you complete your research faster and ensure that you can be confident that your arguments are supported by the best authority.

Starting your research

Westlaw Edge can help you quickly dive into your research using WestSearch Plus. WestSearch Plus leverages state-of-the-art AI to give you fast and accurate black-letter law about thousands of questions. Our improved WestSearch algorithm will provide you with precise and relevant results to help support you when starting more complex research. This allows you to instantly get the lay of the land on the fundamentals, so you spend less time researching and more time on other essential aspects of your case.

Crafting your argument

Once you are past the initial research stage and are fine-tuning your legal argument, you can be sure that KeyCite and KeyCite Overruling Risk help you select the strongest cases while avoiding any pitfalls. Knowing in advance which cases you can rely on and which cases to skip will help you find the perfect case(s) faster.

KeyCite will show you warning indicators on your result list, on the face of the document and will even appear on inline citations as you are reading through a case. Red Flags, Yellow Flags, and the Orange Overruling Risk icons signal that the authority may have a point of law that has been or might be treated negatively. With KeyCite indicators at your fingertips, your brief will be bullet-proof.

To get the pulse on the completeness of your document, upload it to Quick Check to see what else you may want to consider or what you may have overlooked or dismissed too quickly during your initial research. Reviewing your Quick Check report can give you a lead into additional relevant authority for your legal arguments. Additionally, Quick Check will alert you to authority that may make one of your cited cases vulnerable.

Customize a brief for a particular judge

When you’re tailoring a document to a particular judge, the best way to get their attention is to structure your argument around cases that are familiar to them. The Precedent Analytics feature within Litigation Analytics provides a unique insight into the cases your judge cites to most frequently.

Precedent Analytics also leverages the West Key Number System. The Key Number System contains our headnotes and is categorized by our attorney editors. These categories are sorted from broad topics down to discrete legal issues. This means you can narrowly focus your authority search to a single point of law. Citing authority that is customized to your judge’s preferences ensures you’re making the most persuasive legal argument.

When you receive a response from your opponent

Quick Check is also helpful when your opponent sends you their brief. You can use it to find a negative treatment that may impact the validity of the cases they cite. Quick Check will also recommend relevant cases for your opponent’s brief that they chose not to cite. This allows you to capitalize on errors or omissions your opponent makes and instantly turn them into advantages.

You can also learn more about your opponent with Litigation Analytics. Litigation Analytics will give you a peek into the litigation strategies they’ve used in the past and see what move they may make next. You can also use Litigation Analytics to see arguments your opponent is likely to use and see authority they are likely to use.

Move forward with confidence

Citing the strongest authority is not optional. It can make or break your case; it can make or break your reputation. Westlaw Edge equips you with the tools you need to move forward with confidence and precision, knowing you have built your case on a foundation of strong and relevant authority. 

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