There are three different ways that Westlaw and LexisNexis bill practitioners. The first is an hourly rate. The second is called transactional. It charges you by the type of transaction you do. If you just enter in the citation, it is "relatively" cheap. If you perform a search, a search on a broader/more national database will be more expensive than just your state database. And like someone else already mentioned, they will also charge extra when you Shepardize or KeyCite a case. Just remember to download and print.The third way is a yearly flat fee. While you can perform unlimited research for the same charge, Westlaw and Lexis re-negotiate this flat fee every year depending on rising costs and usuage of the firm. For instance, if a firm doubles in size from 60 to 120 attorneys in one year (and some have done this), they are going to be performing a lot more searches and Westlaw and Lexis want a cut. Thus, the firm won't be able to pay the same rate that it paid in the previous year b/c Westlaw and Lexis will demand more. Similarly, if usuage drops, the firm has a better argument to reduce the flat fee. Bottomline: your usuage counts regardless of which billing system the firm uses. Sure if it's a flat fee, your three additional searches won't make a difference but 3 per day * 7 days per week * 50 weeks per year, makes a huge difference.
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