Prepare to Practice, New and Notable: The Ever-Growing Collection of Practice Ready Tools from Bloomberg Law, Lexis, and Westlaw

prepare to practice graphic

At this time of the year, as the spring semester winds down (how is that already possible?!?), my mind always seems to wander to thoughts of law students heading off to their summer jobs, putting their legal analysis, writing, and research skills to the test in a real-world setting. These thoughts then naturally drift to the many practice-focused products legal information vendors offer. In this post, I highlight the new and notable products from Bloomberg Law, Lexis, and Westlaw.

Bloomberg Law

The first development that caught my eye was Bloomberg Law’s new In Focus: Core Skills – Litigation feature in the Litigation Intelligence Center. This resource begins with quick links to core research tools, such as their docket search, court opinions search, and litigation analytics, and includes a box of links to litigation-related reference materials, such as the ABA’s “How to Succeed as a Trial Lawyer.” But the other thing that struck me about this resource were the visual aids, including two flowcharts, one on research and writing and one on document review; and an interesting graphic about the variety of Bloomberg Law resources available across the platform. Legal research databases have so much rich content today that it can be a challenge to know what all is available; while I am sure this graphic doesn’t cover everything in Bloomberg Law, it is an interesting method of introducing users to the types of resources and tools at their disposal.

While we’re at it, I’d like to give a shout-out, in general, to the entire In Focus series on Bloomberg Law. These are great information portals on an array of timely topics in law and law practice. Most recently I’ve found the In Focus: Lawyer Well-Being resource of particular interest, with sample surveys and forms for the workplace, quick links to state lawyer assistance programs, and other news and analysis on the subject of wellness in the legal profession.

The In Focus series is by no means the only practice-focused tool in Bloomberg Law. From the Brief Analyzer to the Draft Analyzer, Practical Guidance to Practice Centers, not to mention the Certification Courses law students can take, there are many, many resources users can take advantage of to build their practical skills.

Lexis+

Two newer practice-focused tools in Lexis+ are Practical Guidance and Brief Analysis, both off to the left of the Lexis+ home page. In Practical Guidance, you can search or browse by practice area, task, jurisdiction, or content type (here, content types include documents such as checklists, practice notes, and clauses, rather than statutes, cases, and secondary sources). Additional tools here include everything from state comparison tools to smart forms to training videos.

Brief Analysis, similar to Bloomberg Law’s Brief Analyzer, scans a user’s work product and uses the Lexis+ research platform to seek out any additional or alternative recommended authority based on the arguments made in the uploaded document. Brief Analysis even scans the uploaded document for viruses!

Again, these are two of the more recent, but certainly not the only, practice-focused tools from LexisNexis. With their own set of trainings and certification courses, not to mention their many practice-focused add-on products, such as Lexis Tax and Products Liability Navigator, there are a variety of tools here too that students might use to become more efficient in their legal research and analysis.

Westlaw Edge

Westlaw’s best known practice-focused suite of tools, of course, is Practical Law, with its checklists, practice notes, sample forms, and more, covering a variety of legal subjects and specific law tasks. In the student Law School Survival Guide, the Practical Law editors have even put together a series of podcast episodes about careers in various areas of law. Like Bloomberg Law and Lexis, Westlaw too has training videos and certifications, from basic to advanced research skills, transactional to litigation skills, and even a specific and separate prepare to practice certification. Similar to Lexis’s Brief Analysis and Bloomberg Law’s Brief Analyzer, Westlaw’s Quick Check tool helps the user analyze their own legal document by suggesting additional or alternative legal authority.

Whether a student will be working in a transactional or litigation environment this summer, whether they prefer, or will be restricted to the use of, Bloomberg Law, Lexis, or Westlaw, all three offer an ever-growing variety of practice-ready tools and certifications to help them build their skills and make a great impression with their summer employer.

Westlaw Edge Now Has Regulations Compare for Select States

According to a tweet earlier this week, Westlaw Edge has added the Regulations Compare feature to select state regulations. Unfortunately, the announcement does not say which states are included. However, after a chat session where I asked which states were included, I received a response that the following states have regulations compare: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. For those unfamiliar with regulations compare or statutes compare, the feature allows users to compare red-lined versions of the regulation showing deletions and insertions. The comparison is done automatically when you select two versions to compare. This saves the user the time that would have been spent comparing the versions manually. Presumably, this feature will be added to all states in the future.

TR price increase on outside content

Thomson Reuters today announced a price increase on content not included in fixed-rate subscriptions for large and medium law firms.  The increase, effective January 1, 2017, will not affect fixed-rate contract terms.  For details on the rate increase, contact your Thomson Reuters representative or Customer Service.

Thomson Reuters Announcement of Case Errors on Westlaw and in Reporters

Thomson Reuters sent out the following announcement regarding errors in cases they’ve published on Westlaw and in their case reporters. The announcement includes links to further details.

To our customers:

As part of our commitment to transparency, I wanted to alert you to some errors related to publishing cases in Westlaw® and our print volumes that we have now corrected.

In March, Thomson Reuters became aware that small portions of text were missing in a number of new cases posted to Westlaw due to the introduction of an upgrade to our PDF conversion process in November 2014. We immediately conducted an investigation, which revealed that approximately one-half of one percent (0.5%) of total decisions added to our collection during this period were affected by these issues. We have now corrected those cases on Westlaw and we will be shipping replacement print volumes to all affected customers as soon as possible. We will work closely with those customers to minimize any disruption.

Our analysis of the cases found that none of these issues resulted in any change to the meaning of the law. To provide clarity, we are posting examples of the issues, as well as a listing of all corrected cases, here. We will post all affected cases with corrections highlighted within the text.

Additional details and answers to common questions can be found here. If you have questions, please contact your sales representative or Thomson Reuters Customer Service at 1-800-249-9378.

We are very aware of our crucial role in supporting the U.S. legal system, and there is nothing more important to us than delivering the best possible solutions and customer service to you. Please accept our apologies for our errors. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.

Sincerely,

Andy Martens
Global Head of Product & Editorial