There are few things more gratifying to an attorney than presenting an argument that catches the other side flatfooted.
Dallas business trial lawyer Joseph Sean Lemoine was able to enjoy that experience earlier this year. Lemoine, a partner at Wick Phillips Gould & Martin LLP (he’s been with Wick Phillips since its February 2004 inception), was preparing an oral argument before one of Texas’ Court of Appeals. While discussing the argument with a partner, Lemoine asked his colleague, “Have you run this through Quick Check on Westlaw Edge recently?” His partner on the case replied, "My associate would normally do that, but show me how."
Lemoine showed him how. What they found was that the Court of Appeals “had just issued a brand-new opinion that was very helpful to us,” Lemoine recalls. “The judge in that case — who was one of the presiding judges in our case — wrote that particular opinion, which had been released only three days prior.
“So we had the opinion in our back pocket and during the oral argument, we were able to bring it up to the presiding judge and remind them of what they just decided in the opinion — and explain why it matches up [with our case] and why they should decide in our favor. The opinion was cited in the opinion by the court, even though no one had cited to it.”
As for Lemoine’s opponents, “they didn't have an answer because they didn't know about the case.”
It was a great moment for Lemoine and his team and they ultimately won the argument. “The only way we found that, and would have ever found it, was by using Quick Check on Westlaw Edge,” he says. “It was a complete tangent that wouldn't have shown up unless you had been doing research the day it came out.”
Westlaw Edge is an artificial intelligence-driven legal research tool with the most comprehensive and up-to-date collection of premium legal content. Its advanced research technology helps you find answers as quickly as Lemoine and his Wick Phillips colleagues need them — which, in the current practice environment, typically has to be “I-need-this-now” fast.
Built upon the long-established foundation of Thomson Reuters’ Westlaw Classic, Westlaw Edge delivers first-of-its-kind features including WestSearch Plus, the next generation of legal search, and KeyCite Overruling Risk, which cautions you when a point of law has been implicitly undermined. Another exclusive Westlaw Edge feature is Quick Check, a sophisticated document analysis tool for any stage of litigation.
Quick Check can be used to check your own — or your opponent’s — work to see whether any highly relevant authority may have been missed. It’s also a primary tool that Lemoine and his colleagues use consistently to make sure they don’t get blindsided themselves.
The knowledge edge
Lemoine was a big advocate at Wick Phillips for Westlaw Edge, telling his firm’s management that it is “… important for our firm to have Westlaw Edge because the courts are using it and it allows us to know what the courts see when they access the briefs we produce,” he notes. “We know what criticisms or other cases are going to pop up that we need to have either addressed or have a way to address before it becomes an issue. That puts us ahead of the curve.”
In his work as a litigator, Lemoine regularly taps Westlaw Edge to bolster his arguments and to make sure that he’s completely up to date on the latest rulings and authorities.
“It allows you to quickly look at cases that might be opposite of your position or find cases that you might otherwise miss.” As a result, “we can identify critical issues both before we file significant substantive briefings and when we see what our opponents have filed.”
In addition, Lemoine says, “We're using Westlaw Edge to examine unfamiliar judges to get a sense of how they rule in particular types of cases.”
While Lemoine and his colleagues regularly make use of all of Westlaw Edge’s capabilities, they’ve found Quick Check to be a particularly useful tool. Once you upload a brief, Quick Check leverages advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to examine the text, citations, and structure of the uploaded document to detect the legal issues covered. It then generates a report that also includes recommendations for additional relevant authority, opposing authority to your opponent’s position, warnings for cited authority, an analysis of quotation accuracy, and a table of authorities.
Attorneys can use Quick Check to perform a final check on a draft or completed brief. “Quick Check has changed my brief review process,” Lemoine says. “I always run drafts through Quick Check prior to releasing them.”
Staying out front
In sum, Wick Phillips wouldn’t go to court without Westlaw Edge. “The top benefit of having Westlaw Edge is knowing what the courts are going to see when they review our briefs and knowing what criticisms or other cases are going to arise that we need to either have addressed or have a way to address before it becomes an issue,” Lemoine says. “That puts us ahead of the curve.”
In addition, Westlaw Edge provides the answers Lemoine and his colleagues need when they need them. “A secondary benefit is the streamlining and speed,” he adds. That helps keep Wick Phillips ahead of the curve — and ahead of its opponents.
To maintain a competitive edge, ensure attorneys have the best research tools, or do the best possible work for the client, Westlaw Edge is a solution that should be in every legal professional’s toolbox