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.
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.)