Category Archives: Westlaw

Goodbye to Westlaw Classic

Westlaw ClassicThe Brooklyn Law School Library has offered students and faculty free access to both Westlaw Classic and Westlaw Next. After the 2010 debut of Westlaw Next, most of our users adapted to the change. However the classic legal tool, Westlaw Classic, remained popular with some users at the BLS Library. 0n August 31, 2015, after more than 40 years of service to the U.S. legal market, Thomson Reuters will retire Westlaw Classic. Recent pop-up messages on Westlaw Classic state the expiration date as SeptWestlaw Mextember 10, 2015. Not surprisingly, there are complaints about the discontinuation of Westlaw Classic. Change is inevitable but there is help for those who need it with a free Westlaw Next patron access user guide.

The December 2014 issue of AALL Spectrum article, Saying Farewell to a Classic: Saying Farewell to a Classic by Deborah E. Shrager, Reference and Outreach Services Librarian, George Mason University School of Law Library, is worth reading. It provides a readable history of Westlaw and makes the observation that change in legal databases is a constant and that librarians “remain on the front lines of these transitions . . . We have infinite opportunities to step up and demonstrate our value. We may also feel a little bit nostalgic as our traditional resources slowly disappear.” Feel free to ask any questions about Westlaw Next access at the BLS Library Reference Desk by calling (718) 780-7567 or emailing or chatting with us by clicking the link “Ask a Librarian! Click here to chat” on the library home page.

Summer Access (& Beyond) to Bloomberg Law, Lexis & Westlaw

0e2ba5_c6af0e49ed0e47a9a37a6829ff43672b.png_srz_173_140_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srzThe three legal research databases, Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance and WestlawNext, are available to Brooklyn Law School students this summer.  May 2015 graduates will also have access to these databases for six months after graduation.  See the details below:


Bloomberg Law:  Provides unlimited and unrestricted access over the summer.  Student accounts will remain active and available all summer.  Students may use Bloomberg Law without restrictions.  Graduating students have continued access for six months after graduation.

For questions, contact Erica Horton, Esq, Law School Relationship Manager, Bloomberg BNA,, 1-800-542-1113, ext. 1884.

Lexis Advance:  Students will have continuing access all summer for academic, professional and non-profit research.  All legal and news content will be available and there is no limitation on the number of hours of use.  Graduating students will have extended access until December 31, 2015.

Lexis ASPIRE:  Students graduating in Spring 2015 working for a non-profit 501(c)(3) employer may apply for an ASPIRE ID which provides free access to Lexis Advance for as long as their non-profit work continues, until September 1, 2016.  ASPIRE provides free access to federal and state cases, codes, regulations, law reviews, Shepard’s, and Matthew Bender treatises to use in their non-profit employment.

  • Use the Graduate ID Form which will open ASPIRE details and extended access to Lexis Advance when you fill in your non-profit employment status.
  • Review the eligibility requirements, and if your non-profit employment qualifies, use the Graduate Program form to apply for an ASPIRE ID.  You will need to provide verifying documentation.

For questions, contact Mary Beth Drain, LexisNexis Account Executive,, 845-598-3203.

WestlawNext:  Students may extend their passwords for the following academic uses on WestlawNext:

  • Summer law school classes and study abroad programs
  • Law Review & Journal, including writing competitions
  • Research assistant
  • Moot Court
  • Unpaid internship/externship

To extend their passwords, students can select the “Need Westlaw this Summer” banner on the Westlaw homepage for continued access.  They can then complete the online summer extension form to request the summer extension.

Graduating students will need to complete an online password extension request on the Westlaw homepage for continued access.  Once they complete the online extension request, they will have continued access through November 30, 2015.

For questions, contact Stefanie Efrati, Academic Account Manager, Thomson Reuters,, 212-548-7432.


Legal Research Beyond Westlaw & Lexis

data baseWhile in law school, you may find the vast majority of the sources you need through the two main online legal platforms, Westlaw and Lexis. There is a reason why they are the leaders of the pack. They provide you with a comprehensive set of primary and secondary sources of law. But Westlaw and Lexis do not necessarily have every resource you may need. Listed below are three other key legal online platforms with a brief description of each platform’s unique content. Before you graduate, make sure to utilize and become familiar with these tools. If you have any questions about accessing or using them, please contact a reference librarian. (

Bloomberg BNA:

For legal news, Bloomberg BNA Law Reports are the industry standard. There are over 100 different law reports, which cover a range of topics including: securities, patent, trademark, copyright, white collar, health care, environmental law, labor and employment, etc. Besides BNA Law Reports, Bloomberg BNA provides access to Bloomberg News which monitors the latest legal, regulatory, and industry developments. One of my favorite features of Bloomberg BNA is the dockets database. Only Bloomberg BNA searches both the text of the docket sheets as well as the retrieved underlying court documents. The dockets database is a great way to monitor litigation of interest and to identify sample court documents.

CCH Intelliconnect:

CCH is a platform that focuses on highly regulated areas of law. The database contains related cases, statutes, agency regulations, agency decisions, agency handbooks and guidance documents, editorial commentary, and legal news. Areas of law covered include securities, banking, antitrust and trade, corporate governance, products liability, secured transactions, and tax. If you end up practicing in one of these areas, this is a key platform for research and keeping current on the law.


Heinonine has cornered the market for legal history platforms. Compared with Lexis and Westlaw, whose coverage for many sources begins in the late 80s or early 90s, Heinonline contains volumes which often date back to the publications’ inception. For example, Heinonline contains every volume of the Congressional Record, the entire Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations, volumes of the United States Reports that date back to 1754, as well as classic legal treatises from the 16th to 20th century. Unlike Westlaw and Lexis, Heinonline also carries the complete run of law review and law journals.

Bestlaw: Chrome Extension for WestlawNext

Earlier this week, BLAWg IN Bloom, the Indiana Law Library Blog, had an interesting post that could be of great help to Brooklyn Law School faculty and students who use WestlawNext. Titled Legal Research Tech Tool: Bestlaw, the post discusses how cost-effective research is one of the toughest skills to master. Law students have the luxury of using legal databases without any fiscal consequences. In the practice of law, when paying for subscriptions to legal research platforms (with clients are being billed for research time on these platforms), users need to think more carefully. Now a new tool called Bestlaw, developed to encourage cost-effective in subscription platforms, will change things.

BestlawJoe Mornin, a third year law student at UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, built Bestlaw, that adds useful features to WestlawNext:

  • Perfect Bluebook citations with one click
  • Clean, readable view
  • Automatically-generated tables of contents
  • Quick links to jump to footnotes
  • One-click copying for citations, titles, and full text
  • Collapsing and expanding statutory sections
  • Finding documents on free sources like CourtListener, Cornell LII, Casetext, and Google Scholar
  • Preventing automatic sign offs
  • Sharing documents by email or on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

WestlawNext users can download the Bestlaw browser add-on for Chrome (support for Firefox is coming soon too) and get help conducting research in WestlawNext more cost-effectively Morin is working on support for Lexis Advance that is coming soon). After installing Bestlaw, its tools appear for searches on WestlawNext. The add-on allows a view of documents in free sites like Casetext, Cornell LII, Court Listener, Findlaw, Google, Google Scholar, Ravel Law, or Wikipedia before viewing (and paying to view) them in WestlawNext. For secondary sources, like law review articles, users have the option under Display to show an automatically-generated Table of Contents for documents. While many law review articles come with these already, some do not, and many other secondary sources do not either, so this can be a handy tool for quick skimming to find the parts of the document that are most germane to the research task.

Welcome First Years!

The Library staff wishes our new entering class the very best of luck as you embark on your law school career.  We are here to help you in using the Library and with its electronic and print resources.  You will learn about some of these resources at your combined IT/Library orientation sessions next week.

Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law are three of the many electronic resources you will have access to while you are a student.  These are the three major legal databases, and during your Fundamentals of American Law class, or your Case Reading Workshop next week, you will receive your Lexis and Bloomberg Law registration cards and your Westlaw password.  Please follow the instructions on each of these items and register yourself in all three systems as soon as possible.  Training sessions in Lexis and Westlaw will be held in September and in Bloomberg Law in the spring semester.

Reference assistance is available to you in person at the first floor reference desk, by email (, by phone (718-780-7567) or by Live Chat from the Library homepage

We have several events planned for you this fall:  two Bluebooking with Success Workshops and two Research Review Sessions in late October/early November and our 3rd Annual Legal Research Fair on September 30th.  Stay tuned for more details about these events.

Best of luck and we’ll see you in the Library!


Westlaw Classic to WestlawNext

Thomson Reuters has embedded nine short videos into Westlaw Classic to aid in the transition from Westlaw Classic to WestlawNext. The videos show how to conduct in WestlawNext those tasks currently conducted on Westlaw Classic. The videos, each about 3 minutes in length, are available until June 30, 2014. The videos cover how to do the following tasks on WestlawNext:

  • Search with Terms and Connectors
  • Find and Print a Document
  • Find and Print Multiple Citations
  • Find a Statute
  • Browse a Table of Contents
  • Search with Descriptive Terms
  • Customize Your Delivery Preferences
  • Use Folders
  • Choose a Database

To access the videos on Westlaw Classic, hover over the orange “W” and click Learn More Now.

WestlawNext Webinars.png

From Classic to Next Webinars

There is also a series of webinars for law students and faculty to ease the transition from Westlaw Classic to WestlawNext. Each week, two webinars – From Classic to Next Basic and From Classic to Next Advanced – are being held, at varying times from week-to-week. These webinars cover topics such as Boolean searching, KeyCite®, Custom Pages, and Folders. Also, at the end of each webinar users have the opportunity to ask any questions about transitioning research to WestlawNext.

The next two webinars in the series are:

From Classic to Next Basic – May 19 at 1 p.m. (Noon) ET – Register today.

From Classic to Next Advance – May 20 at 4 p.m. ET – Register today.

If these days do not work, the sessions will be repeated. Visit the webinars page for future offerings.

Summer (& Beyond) Access to Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis & Westlaw

Bloomberg Law—Summer Access Policy:
All law students may continue to use their Bloomberg Law accounts during the summer without restriction for any type of research (for work, for class, etc.). Student accounts automatically stay active all summer.
Bloomberg Law— Access Policy for Graduating Law Students:
All law students’ Bloomberg Law accounts automatically remain active for six months after graduation.
Bloomberg Contact for Questions:
Erica Horton, Esq., Law School Relationship Manager, Bloomberg BNA,, 1-800-542-1113 ext. 1884

LexisNexis—Summer Access Policy for 1Ls & 2Ls:
Law students may continue to use their Lexis Advance IDs for any purpose (including work performed at a law firm, corporation or government agency). This includes unlimited access to all legal content and news available through current law student IDs.
LexisNexis—Access Policy for Graduating Law Students:
Graduating law students can register for Graduate Program IDs that will extend their access beyond graduation. The access for graduates ends at the end of December (12/31/2014). To learn more, visit
LexisNexis Contact for Questions:
Mary Beth Drain, Esq., Account Executive, LexisNexis,, Cell 845-598-3203

Westlaw—Summer Access Policy for 1Ls & 2Ls:
Westlaw will extend 1L & 2L passwords for:
• Summer law school classes
• Law review and journal work
• Moot court work
• A project for a professor
• An unpaid intern/externship or pro bono work required for graduation.
If a student is being paid for summer work or an internship, then the student is not eligible for Westlaw’s summer extension. To extend passwords, students can click on the banner on the site that says “Need Your Westlaw Password this summer” and indicate the reason for the extension.  If students do not complete the online summer extension form, they will receive a set number of hours of Westlaw usage for June and July. If they exceed those hours, then they will see a warning screen indicating that their summer access is limited unless they complete the summer extension form.
Westlaw—Access Policy for Graduating Law Students:
Graduating law students can extend their passwords to have the same level of access to WestlawNext as they did as students for up to six months after graduation. The access for graduates ends at the end of November (11/30/2014).
Instructions for graduating students to extend passwords:
1. Log on to
2. Click “Rewards”
3. Click “My Messages”
4. Look for the extension email with link in the inbox
a. If not in the inbox, click “Deleted/Archived Items” and the email should be there.
Westlaw Contact for Questions:
Stefanie Efrati, Esq., Academic Account Manager, Thomson Reuters,, 212-548-7432



Legal Research System of the Future

If students at Brooklyn Law School are frustrated with legal research systems, they are not alone. In a blog post called The Legal Research System of the Future, New Jersey lawyer, technologist, and author John Miano has put together an interesting series of videos about his frustration with legal research systems. In them, he relates that from his initial encounters in law school with Westlaw and Lexis, he has been saving ideas on how these systems could be improved. The series of videos presents these concepts in the hope that someone will build a legal research system that is more than a Google box on top of a legal database.

The videos are available below.

Part I: Content Formatting

Just reading content in a legal research system is a chore. This video addresses how content should be formatted in a legal research system. A link to this Scientific American article that addresses the background of some of the issues raised in the Part I.

Part II: An Irreverent Look at the Legal Research Market

This is a humorous look at the stagnation in the legal research market. It explains why there is now an opening for a new legal research system.

Part III: The System Canvas

How the Legal Research System of the Future should use the system canvas from a customer perspective.

Part IV: Citations and Citators

The central theme of this latest vided is that a legal publisher does not need an army of editors to produce the best citator on the market.

Summer Access to Bloomberg, Westlaw, and Lexis (Update)

All three of the research platforms available to Brooklyn Law School students provide students access over the summer. However, there are different steps that students must take to keep their passwords activated, and some limitations do apply.


Bloomberg is offering students full access to all summer with no academic use restriction. This means that students are able to use all of the available resources on the platform even when performing research in their summer jobs. Passwords can be obtained by contacting our Bloomberg Account Manager, Pamela Haahr. For students who need some additional training on Bloomberg, three Prepare to Practice trainings are coming up on Tuesday, April 3rd, 5:00pm-6:00pm, Wednesday, April 11th, 1:00pm-2:00pm, and Tuesday, April 17th, 1:00pm-2:00pm, all in Room 603. To reserve a spot, email Pamela at with the subject line, “Bloomberg Law Training.”


All students will automatically receive 40 hours of Westlaw and WestlawNext usage this June and July. For additional access to Westlaw and WestlawNext over the summer, students just need to register at Look for the image that says “Need Westlaw this summer” and follow the instructions to register. Academic use only restrictions apply for summer.  Passwords may NOT be used for research for law firms, government agencies, corporations or other purposes unrelated to law school coursework. Students graduating this year can extend their passwords by following the special link for graduates. in addition


LexisNexis will be offering students full access to Lexis Advance all summer for educational use only. To participate in this program, students need to have a registered Lexis Advance ID. This is a separate and different ID from the standard ID. Lexis Advance Summer Access does not include international content. Students that need access to specific content available only on (i.e. international materials) can content our LexisNexis Account Executive, Megan Cowden, at

WestlawNext is Coming to Brooklyn

This month marks the official launch of WestlawNext. Brooklyn Law School law librarians test drove this new platform on February 17th.

According to Betsy McKenzie at Out of the Jungle, “WestlawNext has been in development for more than five years.”

Westlaw programmers studied legal researchers and analyzed the researchers’ interface with Westlaw. Academic law librarians provided feedback as part of the development process. Westlaw also conducted in-depth analysis of users’ real research logs, recreating the searches and looking for opportunities to improve the search, retrieval and ranking. Westlaw also convened focus groups, design reviews, and performance testing.

WestlawNext provides a legal research experience that mimics the ease of use customers have come to expect from Google, says Jill Schachner Chanen of ABA Journal.

McKenzie blogs at Out of the Jungle and is the Law Library Director at Suffolk University does a great job of looking under the hood and explaining the features of this new platform.

McKenize asserts that:

This is not “googlization” of legal research. There is some similarity because they are looking at customer linking. But they are building an enormous “back end” to this research system that looks simple at the front. The system does in the background all the things law librarians have wanted good researchers to do: do background reading, get extra terms, carefully choose database or even combine them, So it is also not dumbing down legal research. It is, rather, doing it for you, automatically. However, it still gives you the choice, and the tools to do the Boolean search, to use the field searching, and to do all the powersearching things that long-time skilled searchers have learned to do.

Westlaw plans to launch WestlawNext to law students in Fall 2010 semester, this is according to Anne Ellis, Senior Director, Librarian Relations Thomson Reuters as noted in Law Librarian Blog.

Brooklyn Law School Library will be demonstrating WestlawNext to faculty in March 2010, watch for details.