Lynn Lenart, Law Librarian, and Richard Cohen, Associate Professor & Director of the University of Akron’s Legal Writing program have written a “Guide for WestlawNext & LexisNexis Online” that should give a lot of you a good overview of the new legal research products (and tweaks to existing products).  It is written from an academic point of view (after all, it is a LR&W course!), but most of the research information is applicable to anyone looking at transitioning over to the new products, or assisting you if you’ve already made the jump.

Here’s what Lynn Lenart posted to the law-lib listserv this morning, along with a link to the PDF.

At the suggestion of the Director of Legal Research & Writing Program, Professor Richard Cohen, I am sharing … the link to our Guide for WestlawNext & LexisNexis Online Research.

  • The Guide was written at the introductory level for new law students taking their first legal research and writing course.  The legal research portion is tied in with the writing assignments so statutes are covered first in the Guide, then case law and lastly, secondary sources.
  • Westlaw and Lexis both have research guides but we know that students do not take the time to read the vendors’ guides.  
  • The Guide will have to be updated when the new LexisNexis interface is rolled out but we did not have access to the new Lexis this summer.  The law librarians and LARW faculty have been using WestlawNext since the end of March.  Our law school chose to have WestlawNext turned on for our law students in September in time for legal research training.  I presume that the new LexisNexis interface will not be available to our students until spring semester and we will update the Guide then.
  • For this national version of the Guide, we did not include our handouts for using the local library catalog, other library databases, or using Google Scholar.  

Thanks to Lynn and Richard for pulling this information together and sharing it with us.