May 14, 2012
The West Key Number System® organizes the universe of caselaw into topics (e.g., Contracts, Criminal Law, Patents, etc). Each of those topics is then further organized and subdivided into individual points of law called Key Numbers.
For example, in the Contracts topic, there is a subdevelopment (I) called Requisites and Validity. Within that subdevelopment there is a further subdevelopment (D) called Consideration. Within that subdevelopment there are dozens of Key Numbers devoted to the various issues pertaining to contractual consideration.
To promote a clean, streamlined document display, WestlawNext® abbreviates the full Key Number hierarchy on viewed and delivered documents. However, if you prefer to see the full context of the Key Number, this default setting is easy to customize according to your needs.
Customizing the Key Number Hierarchy Display
While viewing a case, the West Headnotes section can be customized by toggling between two different views. Click Change View to display the full classification hierarchy. This preference is “sticky” and will remain your default setting until you change it again. To change back, click Change View again to collapse the full Key Number hierarchy into an abbreviated display.
Customizing the Key Number Hierarchy for Delivered Documents
Each time you deliver a document from WestlawNext (e.g., print, email, etc.) you may choose whether to include the full Key Number hierarchy. Simply select Show the full Key Number hierarchy on the Layout and Limits tab. This preference is “sticky,” so each time you deliver a document thereafter, the hierarchy will display.
Alternatively, click on Preferences at the bottom of any page to customize your delivery preferences at any time.