Yesterday, I relayed a message from Tamara Acevedo from Moore & VanAllen where she was told by a Thomson Reuters representative that the June 1st roll out of the OnePassID system would mean her attorneys would automatically have access to WestlawNext (even without a contract). However, it seems that perhaps there was some “misinformation” about the tie-in of the two products.

Anne Ellis from Thomson Reuters responded to Tamara’s comments about WestlawNext and OnePassID tie-in. Seems that there is not an automatic entry into WestlawNext with the June 1st roll out of the OnePassID requirement. Here’s what Anne said:
Hi, Tamara
I read your post and thought I’d write a short comment to try to set the record straight on a couple points. I hope I can clear this up.
We are not turning WestlawNext on for all accounts on June 1. I’m sorry you heard otherwise. We will continue to work with librarians and together we will manage trials and access to WestlawNext for their firms.
The link you described does indeed take users to a pay trial for WestlawNext. This is one of several opportunities we have created for end users to see the new service.
We’re really excited about WestlawNext and what it offers legal researchers, but please don’t interpret our efforts to showcase the new service as an attempt to do an end-around to librarians. We will continue to work with firms and their librarians on the best approach for trialing WestlawNext, account by account.
I hope this is helpful. Thanks again, Tamara.
Anne Ellis
Senior Director, Librarian Relations
Thomson Reuters, Legal

I know that Thomson Reuters is plugging WestlawNext on almost any stable surface that can accept an advertisement (blogs, newspapers, magazines, heck, even wrapping buildings and making ice sculptures), but let’s remember what the ad was that was questioned by Tamara:

 “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!”. 

The last two sentences aren’t just “showcasing” the product, they are saying that “Your organizations has access” and “Go there now and begin increasing your productivity!” If an attorney sees this, he or she would probably assume that the firm’s “access” means that they can go ahead and trial the new product. I appreciate what Anne is trying to do here, but the promotions smack of putting the product in front of the attorney, not of working “with firms and their librarians.”

Let me state once more than I think that WestlawNext may be one of the best legal research products ever created, and I think that there is a lot of opportunities for improving research and efficiency by using WestlawNext. I also want to repeat that I think that within a couple of years that every firm that has Westlaw will migrate to WestlawNext. The product is not the problem… the aggressive promotion of the product is the problem. Librarians are having to balance budgets during a downturn in the economy, and handle the aggressive campaign to bring WestlawNext in contract (read: Increase In Contract Price). When you see ads like the one above that suggest that the firm already has access to WestlawNext, it makes the librarian’s job a little harder, and makes them a little more skeptical of dealing with the reps on moving forward with WestlawNext. Like I said yesterday, bring the WestlawNext ad campaign down a notch… everyone is moving toward bringing it into the firms… there’s no need to start shoving them in that direction.