Law School Discussion

Westlaw v. LexisNexis


Westlaw v. LexisNexis
« on: October 05, 2006, 12:45:11 PM »
Im looking for some advice from some older students here, I just got my codes for lexis and west and I have to start writing a memo.  We had a presentation from both organization and as you can guess both basically said the other was better.  What one do people generally use.  I mean I only want to use one so I can get good at it and for the rewards points, Lexis seems to have a better catalogue but I like the graphical display that west offers.  I could use some opinions.

Re: Westlaw v. LexisNexis
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2006, 01:35:22 PM »
Most people theat I know prefer westlaw for research but lexis has the public records search. I prefer westlaw because you dont have to put in an exact case citation to find a case, which saves time, also I find that the westlaw search engines are easier to use. Another thing about Lexis is that they have Sheppards (the traditional cite checker) as opposed to west's key cite.


  • *****
  • 6813
    • View Profile
Re: Westlaw v. LexisNexis
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2006, 02:16:47 PM »
They're both good for different reasons.  You're really just going to have to play around with both of them, since a lot of people like one or the other primarily based on personal preference.

I think Lexis is a little easier to just navigage around in; Westlaw is a little more counter-intuitive, but once I learned how to use it better, I think I like it more overall.  The only thing I've encountered that I think Lexis does much better is news searches.  Westlaw's news database seems much more limited.

No matter which you eventually prefer, you should still learn to use both for a couple of reasons.  First, if you make it on journal, you may have to search for a huge variety of things to cite check and to research your comment, and not all resources are available on both.  I recently ran into this; the major case I'm basing my comment on was recently cited in a journal found only on West, and not on Lexis, so if I didn't search both regularly, I might miss something that could preempt my topic. 

Second, most firms have access to only one or the other, and it'll make your life easier having at least a basic knowledge of both because you won't know what service your future employer uses.

Re: Westlaw v. LexisNexis
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2006, 07:51:09 PM »
Yes.  I would definitely get good at both. 

It is easier to get points on Westlaw because you get points for actually doing research, as well as for doing the (very simple) trivia questions whenever you log off.  LexisNexis just switched to a "Passport" for which you have to complete tasks to receive points -- fact or fiction, tutorials, training sessions. 

Personally, I like LexisNexis much more than Westlaw.  When you pull up documents on Westlaw they always seem to appear in smaller than average windows, or cluttered, or something.  LexisNexis is easier to navigate; it's more user friendly. 

I do think, however, that Westlaw is more commonly used in firms.  I also think that Westlaw has a larger database in certain areas.  Earlier in the year I edited an article for my law review and remember being able to find documents in Westlaw that I could not find in LexisNexis. 

Use both.  A lot.  As Jacy wrote, you never know which one you will have to use.

One more point -- it is astonishing how little law school students take advantage of their free access to these databases to learn to use them.  Being verse in Westlaw or LexisNexis will not make you more hireable.  It will, however, make you a better legal practitioner.  Again.  Use both.  A lot. 


  • ****
  • 145
  • I drank much of this after the Bar Exam....
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Westlaw v. LexisNexis
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2006, 08:21:56 PM »
Ditto on the Journal point.  I'm a 2L and have NEVER used Lexis... until now.  It is essential for preemption checks and whatnot.  However, Westlaw is the better of the two to use for basic legal writing research.
pudding is delightful


  • ****
  • 144
  • Legal humor for all legal professionals!!!
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Westlaw v. LexisNexis
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2006, 05:01:23 AM »
Most attorneys I know prefer Westlaw.
I'm just a law machine, And I won't work for nobody but you!

Courtroom Casanova


Greeting cards, mugs, tee-shirts, mousepads, and so much more, designed specifically for legal folk.