Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

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Anonymous User
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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:38 pm

romothesavior wrote:Yeah, you made it sound like you're at a firm or a government office. That is a no-no, or at least it was at the government office I worked in last summer. But for a lot of PI places, they allow it. I think a lot of the confusion was surrounding where you are working. Never heard the term "public firm" used before.


My apologies. Next time I will be clearer. Thank You.

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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:26 am

I am getting a little nervous now because I only recently realized I have been using Westlaw under my school account for research at a firm that I spend a few hours a week at during the school year (was logging in without even thinking). I have since stopped doing that, so am I in the clear as far as repercussions from Westlaw/does Westlaw only get involved if they notice high volumes of firm research on a daily basis?

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ben4847
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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby ben4847 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:28 am

They should ask this on the bar application. "Have you ever used your student Westlaw or Lexis account for employment related searches?"
That would solve the problem of too many new lawyers for the available jobs.

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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:43 pm

Are you fucking kidding? We all use our Westlaw during 1L. Hell I worked at a Fed. Ct. that provided free Westlaw, and I still used my student Westlaw because I was too lazy to reorganize my tabs. They aren't going to bust you, because the day Westlaw busts a 1L for doing this, is the day that all 1Ls switch to Lexis.

(Anonymous because I probably shouldn't have done this).

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nygrrrl
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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby nygrrrl » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:53 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Then you read my post incorrectly. I will be working for a Public Defender's Office. That's about as "public" and "non-profit" as you can get.

(For the record: I meant the word "firm" in the economic sense -- not a laymen's sense.)

This thread turned out to be worth the effort.

Yeah, you made it sound like you're at a firm or a government office. That is a no-no, or at least it was at the government office I worked in last summer. But for a lot of PI places, they allow it. I think a lot of the confusion was surrounding where you are working. Never heard the term "public firm" used before.

I've never heard anyone use this term, either. For the record, everything Blowhard said is correct (in a "firm" context.) I'm shocked at how many people think it's OK to steal the services during the summer; both Lexis and Westlaw send very clear, NOT grey-area emails about this, when they turn off your service.
Anon, congrats on your PDO gig.

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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:04 am

You guys want a real clusterfuck to think about?


What if Student is enrolled in an externship at a PD's office during the academic year for academic credit? Westlaw use OK or no? :mrgreen:

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romothesavior
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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby romothesavior » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:You guys want a real clusterfuck to think about?


What if Student is enrolled in an externship at a PD's office during the academic year for academic credit? Westlaw use OK or no? :mrgreen:

I imagine that is totally fine. It's for school. If its okay to use at a PD's office in the summer, it'd be fine during the semester.

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dturnbull87
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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby dturnbull87 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
blowhard wrote:
seatown12 wrote:I don't think it's unethical; the school is paying for Westlaw (and everything else) with your [loan] money.


Actually, the school pays nothing for Westlaw. It's given free to
hook you and therefore comes with restrictions. Using it during your internship likely violates the terms of service and is unethical. They make exceptions for some kinds of public interest but otherwise you can't use it. Doing so is an honor code violation at some schools.


That's what I thought. I just can't seem to find the fine print to know if it is/isn't. If anyone can find it that would be wonderful.

The way my firm works is there is ~60 attorneys and only about ~10 Westlaw access codes. The attorneys who don't have a code use other accounts. Same goes for interns.

The overwhelming consensus doesn't think it's unethical so I'm going to assume Westlaw doesn't crack down on this type of use. I'll probably use it unless a request is made for me to stop doing research with my school account.



Firm's value candidates that can use traditional print sources, because it saves them money, no matter the slight inconvenience it is on your part. Sometimes you've got to learn how to use "slide rules" instead of calculators...it'll make you a stronger worker in the long run

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ben4847
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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby ben4847 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:08 pm

dturnbull87 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
blowhard wrote:
seatown12 wrote:I don't think it's unethical; the school is paying for Westlaw (and everything else) with your [loan] money.


Actually, the school pays nothing for Westlaw. It's given free to
hook you and therefore comes with restrictions. Using it during your internship likely violates the terms of service and is unethical. They make exceptions for some kinds of public interest but otherwise you can't use it. Doing so is an honor code violation at some schools.


That's what I thought. I just can't seem to find the fine print to know if it is/isn't. If anyone can find it that would be wonderful.

The way my firm works is there is ~60 attorneys and only about ~10 Westlaw access codes. The attorneys who don't have a code use other accounts. Same goes for interns.

The overwhelming consensus doesn't think it's unethical so I'm going to assume Westlaw doesn't crack down on this type of use. I'll probably use it unless a request is made for me to stop doing research with my school account.



Firm's value candidates that can use traditional print sources, because it saves them money, no matter the slight inconvenience it is on your part. Sometimes you've got to learn how to use "slide rules" instead of calculators...it'll make you a stronger worker in the long run


What? No they don't.
Westlaw is a lot cheaper than your time.

LordBeric
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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby LordBeric » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:21 am

Much like normal law, there is Westlaw's official policy and its actual enforcement in practice. If Westlaw actually wanted to bust every student they could, though for some reason they don't.

I'd like to suggest that its really not in Westlaw's best interests to support such a policy. If firms and gov employers were not allowed to have students use their own Westlaw accounts, they would lose the chief benefit of having interns, free Westlaw research. Without candidates having requisite experience, there would be a less skilled labor pool and consequently less skilled attorneys who could not afford to pay for their very expensive services.

For all the shit this board gives shitty law schools for scamming law students, there is little talk of the Westlaw/Lexis practice of gouging law firms by exercising their duopoly power and enforcing heavy price discrimination. A big reason why firms cant hire people is their ridiculous overhead which is driven (among many other things) by the legal research costs.

http://www.geeklawblog.com/2010/03/west ... -hour.html, as you see Westlaw is doing just dandy charging 900-3400/hr for Westlaw next.

TLDR: I don't see why people feel bad for Westlaw, and I don't think its in their best interests to actually enforce their own policies.

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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby spaghetti day » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:31 pm

My 1L law firm explicitly told us to not do this. If you're going to work at a firm (and want to turn that SA into a full-time offer), follow the firm policy.

Also, firms have Lexis and Westlaw reps come into the office occasionally during the summer to do training and tutorials. They give free access for a couple days each time they visit. We were allowed to use these days whenever we wanted, so you can just pocket the offer until you need to do a lot of research. I had 10-15 days of free access during my summer and printed everything I would later need for reference.

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Re: Ethical to use School's Westlaw during 1L internship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:04 am

blowhard wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I used my school's during my judicial internship to get Westlaw Next (and also all summer to research judges I was applying to for clerkships), and no one said a word. But I guess they could have all just been condoning my deeply unethical behavior.


This is explicitly prohibited. Our rep told us to use our school account to get a framework for our search if unsure but that we then had to re-run the search and read everything under the court's account. The court's rep flat-out said we'd better not get caught using our school account.

You are allowed to use it to research judges, research for prof, write Note, etc.


Yeah, I'm not looking forward to my clerkship/graduation. I don't think the courts are shelling out for westlawnext, and it's got to be something like 20% more efficient.




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