Tamara Acevedo from Moore & VanAllen alerted the law-lib listserv about a new ‘feature’ that will be available to everyone with a OnePassID starting June 1, 2010.

Good morning,
I am writing this message to give a heads up for those who may not be aware of what Thomson Reuters is now doing with WestlawNext.  I attended a First Look session in Eagan this past March and was told there that our attorneys would not have access unless we agreed to let them have access.  On Friday I spoke with a representative and was informed that everyone with Westlaw.com access would also have access to WestlawNext with their One Pass ID starting on June 1st.
Last week our users logged on and saw this “gem”:

 “Search WestlawNext Now: Improve your research efficiency by 64% with WestlawNext. Your organization has access to the advanced search engine and improved design of Westlaw Next. Go there now and begin increasing your productivity!”.  (emphases added)

At my request, they have removed the “gem”.
Clicking on that link took the user seamlessly into WestlawNext.  Great huh?  I guess it is if you do not mind your attorneys knocking around in WestlawNext without a contract.   Once I attempted to run a search, I did receive a message that WestlawNext was not included in our Westlaw.com subscription and there would be extra charges if I choose to continue, etc.  It is great that they have warnings, but I believe this is different than going outside of our contract from within Westlaw.com.  After speaking to my local rep, I was informed that my thinking was not correct.  They will treat WestlawNext usage as “auxiliary” and charge as such.  I was also told that subscribing to WestlawNext would be no different than adding a database and would be done with an LOU [Letter of Understanding].  That’s weird because at every other turn, I had been told it is a seperate contract.
After expressing that I would like all access to WestlawNext blocked, I was told there is no way that it can be done because the two products link in together.
Now that the “gem” is gone, I realize it is unlikely that any of my attorneys will stumble upon the fact that they have access but, at this point, it’s really more about the principle.  I really wish they would pick a story and stick to it.

I know that the WestlawNext folks view librarians as the gatekeepers that are preventing them from pushing this product to the desktops of the attorneys, but this type of end-run tactic causes much more problems in the long-term than it solves for WestlawNext in the short-term. Remember that most of the law libraries have already budgeted for 2010, so there’s not a lot of options for them this year. All of the sales and marketing folks at Thomson Reuters need to just throttle this campaign back a few notches. WestlawNext is eventually going to go in to most (if not all) of the firms over the next couple of years. Why in the world is there such a big push right now to shove the new platform down the throats of every user this year?? Perhaps to offset those 33% decreases in revenue the first quarter of 2010?
Unfortunately, this is probably not the last time that you’ll find the little “gem” of accessing WestlawNext without a contract… so stay vigilant, my friends!!