WESTLAW NEXT Tip of the Week: WestSearch Takes Key Numbers to the Next Level

May 7, 2012

Tip of the WeekThe West Key Number System® is one of the most important components of WestSearch®, the world’s most advanced legal search engine. Because our attorney-editors have been reading, summarizing, and classifying the law for over 100 years, WestSearch can identify the topics of law best represented by your search terms, and return highly relevant documents for those topics – even if the documents don’t have the terms you put into the search box.


Here’s how WestSearch takes Key Numbers to the next level:

Search Using Simple Descriptive Terms

Enter your issue in simple descriptive words* and WestSearch will automatically use our proprietary research tools – like the West Key Number System, KeyCite®, and West’s statutory indexes – to deliver highly relevant results.

* Note: On the other hand, if you enter Boolean terms and connectors or the advanced command, WestSearch bypasses this sequence and only delivers documents that meet your exact specifications.

WestSearch Automates the Process of Using Key Numbers

Even when you specify a particular jurisdiction for your results, the WestSearch algorithm works behind the scenes to search every case in every jurisdiction to find headnotes that match your search terms. Then WestSearch analyzes the Key Numbers those headnotes are classified under and uses them to help find on-point documents in your selected jurisdiction.

Here’s an example …

WestSearch algorithm exampleLet’s say you search for the term redhibition in Alabama.

WestSearch algorithm finds the termAlthough the term “redhibition” does not appear in any Alabama cases, the WestSearch algorithm finds the term in other states and identifies the Key Numbers associated with those headnotes.





WestSearch then delivers Alabama cases with those same Key Numbers, giving you on-point results that would be completely missed by other search engines

WestSearch then delivers Alabama cases with those same Key Numbers

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