5 more ways to conduct legal research on Westlaw efficiently

July 20, 2016

Legal solutions TOTWI once had a professor who graded on a scale of 0-9 rather than 0-10 because he’d calculated the significant time he would spend over his career writing the “0” in “10.”  When conducting your legal research, are you ‘writing the 0?”  Even the most-skilled legal researchers can cut down their time investment by using the tools available on Westlaw.  If you’ve already mastered the 5 Tips for efficiently using Westlaw for legal research, here are 5 more ways to be efficient on Westlaw (so you can stop writing out that “0”):

  1. Set Up KeyCite and WestClip Alerts

Do you find yourself spending valuable time checking and re-checking the KeyCite status of a particular case?  Do you run the same search across Westlaw on weekly basis, looking for new case law on your legal research issue?  Set up a KeyCite or WestClip Alert on Westlaw, and you will be automatically notified when there’s a KeyCite status change to your case or when new cases matching your search terms become available on Westlaw.  The few seconds you spend creating your alerts will pay dividends when your legal research is done for you.

  1. Add frequently used content to your Favorites

You can cut legal research time by adding your most frequently-used content on Westlaw to your Favorites.  Your “Favorites” appear on the right side of the Westlaw homepage, putting you only one click away once you log in and cutting clicks out of your legal research.

  1. Use History to return to documents and searches

Even the most adept legal researcher may not remember the name or citation of ‘that one case’ they found last week, much less last month.  History on Westlaw allows you to view and filter through a full year’s worth of your legal research, allowing you to quickly locate past documents or searches that are useful to your current research task.

  1. Save your thoughts using Annotations

Your legal research may bring you back to a document again and again.  But you may have to re-examine it to remember why it was useful in the first place.  If you could use a little “past recollection recorded” in your legal research, use the annotation tools in Westlaw to highlight important text or create a note.  ‘Future you’ will be grateful for your analysis.

  1. Share your Folders and Annotations with colleagues

You can also save your colleagues time on their legal research by sharing folders and annotations on Westlaw. When your colleagues log in to Westlaw and view their folders or a document you’ve annotated, they will see your shared organization and analysis, cutting out that extra email or trip down the hall.

We encourage you to learn more about how to conduct efficient legal research on Westlaw.