Summer firm and Westlaw use

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Anonymous User
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Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:39 pm

My small summer firm is having me use my school Westlaw to gain access to and print forms/cases outside of the firm's own Westlaw package. After a few weeks of feeling a little weird about this I looked it up, and it seems to be unethical and possibly borderline illegal. However, I'm nervous about refusing to do it since its a large chunk of my work and I would like to receive positive recommendations from some of the lawyers at the end of summer/next year. I guess what I'm asking is, can I personally get in trouble for this?

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swampman
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby swampman » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:45 pm

Maybe switch to Lexis. Lexis sent an email saying I could use Lexis Advance unlimited all summer, including for professional uses.

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smaug
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby smaug » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My small summer firm is having me use my school Westlaw to gain access to and print forms/cases outside of the firm's own Westlaw package. After a few weeks of feeling a little weird about this I looked it up, and it seems to be unethical and possibly borderline illegal. However, I'm nervous about refusing to do it since its a large chunk of my work and I would like to receive positive recommendations from some of the lawyers at the end of summer/next year. I guess what I'm asking is, can I personally get in trouble for this?

obviously you should out the firm

Traynor Brah
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby Traynor Brah » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:48 pm

Westlaw explicitly says you cannot do this. Lexis explicitly says you can do this.

This is perhaps the only time where using lexis the credited response.

Anonymous User
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:12 pm

I thought all decent firms had moved to the unlimited package by now?

smallfirmassociate
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby smallfirmassociate » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:57 pm

It's against your terms of use with Westlaw. In addition, it's a big red flag for the firm. Having a student use his account is the ultimate bush league move and brings into question whether that's the only reason the firm hired an SA.

Anonymous User
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:49 pm

OP here. Thanks everyone. I always kind of felt weird about it, but today it got way weirder when I noticed things with my Westlaw heading that I had not printed out on the office printer. Awhile back I had given one of the partners my password when he needed "emergency access" to research I had been doing earlier that day. I never thought he would keep it and keep using my Westlaw account (esp since the firm has their own, albeit more limited subscription). I plan on changing my password this week as a way to subtly let him know I would prefer if he didn't use it.

LazyLASA
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby LazyLASA » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:17 am

Don't change your password "this week." Change it this second.

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LA Spring
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby LA Spring » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:26 am

Given that “emergency access” was the premise of supplying access, you should be able to change your password without too much blowback…. “emergency access” and “daily access” are much different given Westlaw’s strict usage policy. BTW: I am not that familiar with Lexis but I understand that Lexis is much cheaper, although I’ve heard WL is better.

(how small is this law firm?)

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pancakes3
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby pancakes3 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:34 am

As devil/small-law's advocate, I think the terms of WL actually allow for summer intern use if unpaid or nonprofit.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:00 am

Law firms aren't supposed to have unpaid interns at all, though, and since this was described as a firm it's probably not a non-profit.

Anonymous User
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:08 am

The firm is 6 lawyers and a secretary. Its a decent office in a nice area, I'm having trouble reconciling why the partner would rather "steal" student westlaw that he can't even use without my name and "educational use only" blasted across the top than pay extra for what the firm needs. And I'm getting paid, so there's that.

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sundance95
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby sundance95 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The firm is 6 lawyers and a secretary. Its a decent office in a nice area, I'm having trouble reconciling why the partner would rather "steal" student westlaw that he can't even use without my name and "educational use only" blasted across the top than pay extra for what the firm needs. And I'm getting paid, so there's that.

Because it's free.

You need to let the firm know that your WestLaw access was cut off for the summer, either mysteriously, or after West noticed your use. But, on the bright side, you will be using Lexis Advance for the rest of the summer since Lexis allows you to.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:56 pm

Change your password ASAP & be upfront in a diplomatic fashion with the firm about your concerns.

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Yukos
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby Yukos » Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:37 am

I understand (and have heard of other small firms) using a student's WL, even if it's against terms of service. But asking for a PW for "emergency use" and then printing out tons of cases using it is so slimy.

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runinthefront
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Re: Summer firm and Westlaw use

Postby runinthefront » Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:I thought all decent firms had moved to the unlimited package by now?

This was a dumb use of anonymous and not completely accurate in general anyway




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