What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

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How much?

Over 5000 a week
4
18%
Over 1000 a week
2
9%
Just shut up and be happy you have a job
16
73%
 
Total votes: 22

lawgod
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:22 pm

What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby lawgod » Thu May 26, 2011 10:48 pm

So I am working this summer (my 1L summer) in this huge corporation the size of an elephant.
I am doing little research projects for the general counsel's office, so far.

And I sit there and wonder: What am I costing these people in westlaw charges? I do these huge searches, and then sit there sorting through results. I try to download pages instead of reading online, but I still spend hours a day on westlaw.
Hmmmm.

imchuckbass58
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:24 pm

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu May 26, 2011 10:50 pm

lawgod wrote:So I am working this summer (my 1L summer) in this huge corporation the size of an elephant.
I am doing little research projects for the general counsel's office, so far.

And I sit there and wonder: What am I costing these people in westlaw charges? I do these huge searches, and then sit there sorting through results. I try to download pages instead of reading online, but I still spend hours a day on westlaw.
Hmmmm.


It could easily be over $5000 per week if they're on a regular transactional plan. At firms large searches (e.g., allfeds) cost north of $200 each.

Take a cost-efficient research class. If you don't have the time, the basic gist is:

-Stop searching large databases because it's almost never necessary - use smaller ones.

-Don't redo searches. Start with a broad search, then filter/narrow within your results (this costs nothing, while re-searching costs as much as the original search) - I think it's called "locate in result."

-Use West Find and Print if you know the citation of what you're trying to find.

-If you're accessing a document you already viewed, access it through your research trail (free) instead of pulling the citation or redoing the search (costs money).

-Use digests/treatises to point you in the right direction instead of searching aimlessly.

You should also see if your employer has an hourly (rather than transactional) option for Westlaw. For the type of stuff you're doing it's probably cheaper.
Last edited by imchuckbass58 on Thu May 26, 2011 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lawgod
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:22 pm

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby lawgod » Thu May 26, 2011 10:53 pm

I can't take a cost effective research class.
I'm working

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Kilpatrick
Posts: 1073
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Kilpatrick » Thu May 26, 2011 10:58 pm

lawgod wrote:So I am working this summer (my 1L summer) in this huge corporation the size of an elephant.
I am doing little research projects for the general counsel's office, so far.

And I sit there and wonder: What am I costing these people in westlaw charges? I do these huge searches, and then sit there sorting through results. I try to download pages instead of reading online, but I still spend hours a day on westlaw.
Hmmmm.


Does it cost money just to be on Westlaw? If so... shit. I thought only searches cost money

imchuckbass58
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:24 pm

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu May 26, 2011 11:05 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:
Does it cost money just to be on Westlaw? If so... shit. I thought only searches cost money


Depends if your employer has an hourly plan or transactional (some have both).

flcath
Posts: 1502
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby flcath » Thu May 26, 2011 11:12 pm

Is there anywhere that holds associates accountable for racking up too much Westlaw?

User avatar
Kilpatrick
Posts: 1073
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Kilpatrick » Thu May 26, 2011 11:14 pm

.
Last edited by Kilpatrick on Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

lawgod
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:22 pm

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby lawgod » Thu May 26, 2011 11:18 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
lawgod wrote:So I am working this summer (my 1L summer) in this huge corporation the size of an elephant.
I am doing little research projects for the general counsel's office, so far.

And I sit there and wonder: What am I costing these people in westlaw charges? I do these huge searches, and then sit there sorting through results. I try to download pages instead of reading online, but I still spend hours a day on westlaw.
Hmmmm.


It could easily be over $5000 per week if they're on a regular transactional plan. At firms large searches (e.g., allfeds) cost north of $200 each.

Take a cost-efficient research class. If you don't have the time, the basic gist is:

-Stop searching large databases because it's almost never necessary - use smaller ones.

-Don't redo searches. Start with a broad search, then filter/narrow within your results (this costs nothing, while re-searching costs as much as the original search) - I think it's called "locate in result."

-Use West Find and Print if you know the citation of what you're trying to find.

-If you're accessing a document you already viewed, access it through your research trail (free) instead of pulling the citation or redoing the search (costs money).

-Use digests/treatises to point you in the right direction instead of searching aimlessly.

You should also see if your employer has an hourly (rather than transactional) option for Westlaw. For the type of stuff you're doing it's probably cheaper.


Thanks.
Last edited by lawgod on Thu May 26, 2011 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273139
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 26, 2011 11:19 pm

$13/minute for westlaw next...too lazy to find the link on their website now, but I'll post it tomorrow.

lawgod
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:22 pm

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby lawgod » Thu May 26, 2011 11:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:$13/minute for westlaw next...too lazy to find the link on their website now, but I'll post it tomorrow.


I think that is only if you don't have any plan.

Mine has a plan. I know because I occasionally click on something and it says "that is outside your plan, do you want to proceed" (not exact quote)

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Grizz
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Grizz » Thu May 26, 2011 11:25 pm

I'm working for the feds, so your tax dollars are paying me to search hilariously inefficiently

lolololololololololololololol

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Unitas
Posts: 1387
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:03 pm

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Unitas » Fri May 27, 2011 8:49 am

I have started using google to come up with cases then using westlaw only to check the status of them or find more cases that cited that case.

Anonymous User
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 27, 2011 9:14 am

Doing a split internship with DOJ and another gov entity at the same time, they told me it's charged by the minute but not to worry about it because they never see the bill :| Nice that I don't have to worry about it, but someone is paying for it.

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TTH
Posts: 10378
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby TTH » Fri May 27, 2011 9:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:Doing a split internship with DOJ and another gov entity at the same time, they told me it's charged by the minute but not to worry about it because they never see the bill :| Nice that I don't have to worry about it, but someone is paying for it.


Paul Ryan would not be amused.

LurkerNoMore
Posts: 237
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:05 pm

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Fri May 27, 2011 10:07 am

You should not be using Westlaw if you don't know what you are looking for.

Start with a combination of Google and Wikipedia to figure out the basics of the field. Get a lay of the land, terms of art. You might be able to get treatises and cases through here too (of course this shouldn't be the end of the line -- you still need to run them through Westlaw once you figure out if they are on point).

After you've figured out what the question really is, then you can move on to Westlaw. Click through your secondary sources and search for databases to see if there are practitioner guides on the topic you've been assigned. Run searches in these smaller databases.

Only hit up cases when you really know what fine points of law you are looking for.

Number one rule for cost effective research: search the smallest database set you can with the broadest search terms you can think of (that won't pull over the 3,000 or whatever hits). Once you have that search run, you can search within it for free (assuming that you are transactional and not time based).

Basically, Westlaw should only be used if you know the database and search terms you are looking for.

Oh, another thing: since you are working in a GC's office, I'm guessing that you might be researching some pretty fresh issues. Try googling "client alert" and the topic you've been given. Law firms send out all sorts of practical materials discussing coming laws or or changes in regs and other timely issues. They are often online and can be treasure troves of information.

lawgod
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:22 pm

Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby lawgod » Fri May 27, 2011 5:23 pm

LurkerNoMore wrote:You should not be using Westlaw if you don't know what you are looking for.

Oh, another thing: since you are working in a GC's office, I'm guessing that you might be researching some pretty fresh issues. Try googling "client alert" and the topic you've been given. Law firms send out all sorts of practical materials discussing coming laws or or changes in regs and other timely issues. They are often online and can be treasure troves of information.


Thanks. That last bit is a real good idea.

Anonymous User
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 27, 2011 7:31 pm

i'm assuming using your school westlaw account during your summer job is not allowed?

Anonymous User
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 27, 2011 8:01 pm

My firm pays a fixed monthly amount to Westlaw (as long as you don't go off plan). The only reason that the transactional costs are relevant is if the firm wants to bill them to a client in order to recover some of the Westlaw costs. So technically, I am not costing the firm anything when I search. If I bill it to the client, then I am costing the client something but saving the firm something. This was not clearly explained to me at first, and I am not sure if everybody at the firm even understands how it works.


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Lawquacious
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Lawquacious » Fri May 27, 2011 8:07 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:God I hope it's transactional, I spent all day on Westlaw today. I don't even think I signed off when I went to lunch



Don't you mean you hope it's NOT transactional? Or am I missing something here...

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Lawquacious
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Lawquacious » Fri May 27, 2011 8:12 pm

I'm in a PI job so my West access is just an extension of my regular law school access... I imagine the contract rate (which is pretty ridiculous) for the school stays the same for the year regardless of how many students are taking advantage of the summer PI option.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Kilpatrick » Fri May 27, 2011 8:19 pm

.
Last edited by Kilpatrick on Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 27, 2011 9:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My firm pays a fixed monthly amount to Westlaw (as long as you don't go off plan). The only reason that the transactional costs are relevant is if the firm wants to bill them to a client in order to recover some of the Westlaw costs. So technically, I am not costing the firm anything when I search. If I bill it to the client, then I am costing the client something but saving the firm something. This was not clearly explained to me at first, and I am not sure if everybody at the firm even understands how it works.

This is true at almost all of the big law firms.

03121202698008
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby 03121202698008 » Fri May 27, 2011 9:38 pm

Some tips from cost effective class:

You pay for searches but not locates. So, run the largest search you'll need, then use the locate feature to retrieve smaller groups matching whatever terms. (Instead of running actual searches for them.)

In class, you don't pay to print if you right click on case and select Print from the browser. You pay if you click the print icon.

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YourCaptain
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby YourCaptain » Fri May 27, 2011 10:19 pm

rad law wrote:I'm working for the feds, so your tax dollars are paying me to search hilariously inefficiently

lolololololololololololololol




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