In February 2010, after five years in development, Thomson Reuters released WestlawNext, which has since been subject to much fanfare.
The product, which is a sleeker, cheaper, and more efficient version of the company's traditional Westlaw service, was just named the best new product of 2011 by the American Association of Law Libraries.
Developers worked with hundreds of legal professionals, handing each one a difficult legal research project. They tracked search terms, retrieved documents, and logs, watching how legal professionals move from document to document.
Most legal professionals began with a relevant document, followed by a deeper search conducted by clicking on Headnotes, Key Numbers, and using KeyCite. The new WestlawNext search algorithm replicates these "best practices" by generating more topical search results, which allows researchers to minimize time spent clicking around.
In other words, less time and less costly, useless searches.
In addition to efficiency, WestlawNext has been praised for its ability to allow researchers to save documents, as well as highlight and notate text. WestlawNext also includes a new folder-sharing feature that permits users across an organization to share research results and ideas.
Folder-sharing can help your office go paperless, and allow your firm to create topical folders for quick access on future research projects.
Since its launch, over 15,000 law firms, corporate law departments, and government legal offices have upgraded to WestlawNext. If you haven't switched over yet, it might be time to do so.
NOTE: WestlawNext is owned by Thomson Reuters, which also owns FindLaw.
- WestlawNext (Thomson Reuters)