The Westlaw Editorial Process for case law

September 11, 2012

Supreme Court BuildingWhen a court issues a decision, it may mark the end of a specific legal matter, but it is only the beginning for our editorial team. By the time an important decision is published in one of our reporter volumes or on Westlaw, it has been reviewed by experienced team members who provide enhancements so that attorneys can find the case when they need it, understand what was decided, and put the case to work for them. While the text of the decision is central to a practitioner’s understanding of the issues involved in the decision, the editorial enhancements transform the basic text of the case into an intelligent and integrated document.

These enhancements include adding National Reporter System headnotes and Key Number classifications, linking related documents such as appellate briefs, and adding KeyCite History. Our editorial team has extensive experience analyzing and summarizing the underlying legal issues within caselaw. These issues can then be categorized, leveraging the Key Number System that contains more than 100,000 Key Numbers, each covering a very specific point of law.  Our Key Numbers, along with other editorial enhancements, also serve as the building blocks for the WestSearch algorithm that is at the heart of the WestlawNext search engine.

Over the next few weeks we will share our editorial process with you. In this series, you will hear directly from the members of our editorial team who work with these cases.  We will closely examine the path that this summer’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act decision took from the United States Supreme court to its final, enhanced version appearing on Westlaw.

The Westlaw editorial process for Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, part 1

The Westlaw editorial process for Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, part 2 (Keycite)

The Westlaw editorial process for Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, part 3 (headnotes)

The Westlaw editorial process for Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, part 4 (Key Numbers)

The Westlaw editorial process for Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, part 5 (Codes validity)