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

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 27, 2011 10:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
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.


I'm sure it is. I didn't realize that until it was explained to me, though. And I feel like most people in this thread don't realize that.

LurkerNoMore
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Sat May 28, 2011 10:02 am

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


No. Unless you are in a Public Interest Job and have signed up as such through WL/Lexis this is a big issue.

Lawquacious wrote:
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...

No, he meant transactional. The other way to pay is by time. If he stayed on Westlaw all day and was on a time basis, the bill would be huge.

This is something to check with your employer. If you are on a time basis, you need to alter the way you search.

Anonymous User wrote:
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.


This is not a good way of thinking about it. Most big firms do have flat rate accounts. However, that does not give you carte blanche to search anyway you want. First, clients can get pretty pissed if they are billed for a bunch of ALLFED searches. Searching broadly makes more work for your partner because they either need to write down the whole thing, or adjust the charge to the appropriate number. Making more work for your partner is not a career enhancing move.

Second, while your firm *currently* has a flat rate with WL/Lexis, the rate they will pay the next time their contract is up will be calculated and bargained from how much you are using right now. WL and Lexis look at the rate they charged the firm and compare that to the actual usage rate. If you are doing expensive searches, that gets held against the firm in the future.

As a SA, the worst that will happen to you is probably getting called out on your searching. However, it is still a good idea to get into good search habits early. (Also, good search habits also generally mean that your billables are going to be appropriate to the assignment and the partner won't have to write down your time as well.)

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leobowski
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby leobowski » Sat May 28, 2011 11:55 am

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

lolololololololololololololol



Federal agencies (fed courts, DOJ, etc) have an unlimited plan. So kind of a moot point.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 28, 2011 12:21 pm

blowhard wrote: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.

This is the key to cutting down on search costs. For my research projects so far, I use the transactional model and run 1-3 big searches. From there I Locate everything. We pay for click-throughs from results but the additional cost is worth it when you consider that the time it takes to locate an already known article (which probably is available in your original search) would be offset by the cost of the time it would take you.

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snowpeach06
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby snowpeach06 » Sat May 28, 2011 3:31 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.

My small firm does this as well - unlimited cases and statutes. I have a feeling more places have this sort of plan than you would think, because a couple of slip ups can rack up such a huge bill.

boalt2l
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby boalt2l » Sat May 28, 2011 7:03 pm

I'm using my Student Westlaw account for my summer gov job, who cares? what are they gonna do to me?

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Lawquacious
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat May 28, 2011 7:14 pm

Lawquacious wrote:
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...

LurkerNoMore wrote:No, he meant transactional. The other way to pay is by time. If he stayed on Westlaw all day and was on a time basis, the bill would be huge.

This is something to check with your employer. If you are on a time basis, you need to alter the way you search.


I think Kilpatrick already cleared up that this is the distinction that he had in mind. But isn't the actual distinction in billing usually one of transactional v. blanket-plan that covers everything, rather than transactional v. hourly rates (time)? When we reviewed West billing in my research class it looked like it was either billed transactionally (e.g. $20 for a particular search) or billed as a general plan to the employer (or school)... I didn't see anything about hourly (or time-based) billing...

Renzo
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Renzo » Sat May 28, 2011 7:53 pm

Lawquacious wrote: But isn't the actual distinction in billing usually one of transactional v. blanket-plan that covers everything, rather than transactional v. hourly rates (time)? When we reviewed West billing in my research class it looked like it was either billed transactionally (e.g. $20 for a particular search) or billed as a general plan to the employer (or school)... I didn't see anything about hourly (or time-based) billing...


No. When I sign on to Westlaw I have to specify each session whether to bill hourly or by transaction; either way the client gets the bill for that session. Then, on top of this, the firm has access to a very few limited services (like get by citation and a few treatises) on a blanket, all-inclusive plan that doesn't get billed back to the client.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 28, 2011 9:25 pm

LurkerNoMore wrote:No. Unless you are in a Public Interest Job and have signed up as such through WL/Lexis this is a big issue.

can you still use it for your own personal perusal over the summmer?

Renzo
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Renzo » Sat May 28, 2011 9:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LurkerNoMore wrote:No. Unless you are in a Public Interest Job and have signed up as such through WL/Lexis this is a big issue.

can you still use it for your own personal perusal over the summmer?

You probably need to register for summer access, but yes. You can use it for personal education/practice, for journal/research work, and for public interest/government work; just not for for-profit work (even if you aren't paid).

03121202698008
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat May 28, 2011 10:48 pm

One thing to consider as explained by our WestLaw rep. Your firm may have an unlimited plan, but the price each year is based upon the previous years usage. So, you are actually costing them money in a roundabout way if you're doing a ton of inefficient searches as it will raise the price for subsequent years.

Renzo
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Re: What Am I Costing Them in Westlaw?

Postby Renzo » Sun May 29, 2011 12:08 am

blowhard wrote:One thing to consider as explained by our WestLaw rep. Your firm may have an unlimited plan, but the price each year is based upon the previous years usage. So, you are actually costing them money in a roundabout way if you're doing a ton of inefficient searches as it will raise the price for subsequent years.


Not to mention you're wasting your own time by conducting a bunch of useless searches, rather than just focusing on getting what you need.




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