February 24, 2010
As the WestlawNext tour enters its third week, some of you have been asking: Who are Johnny and Jenny Westlaw? And what’s up with those names? Did they rename themselves as a tribute, the way John Denver did? Or was it merely to make their names more memorable, a la Barbara Eden? (You know, Barbara Eden? I Dream of Genie? Oh, never mind.)
Are they a brother-sister act like Donny & Marie? Or are they a husband-wife duo, like Sonny & Cher? Will Johnny Westlaw run for Congress? Is he even electable?
Of course, most of you have guessed that Johnny and Jenny Westlaw are pseudonyms for two real (and unrelated) people who work with West to promote and personify WestlawNext.
As for the name, “Johnny Westlaw” recalls John B. West, founder of West Publishing Company, who began publishing law books in Minnesota in 1876. John West traveled long distances to meet and talk to his customers – much like Johnny and Jenny are doing right now (but without the benefit of paved roads or hot showers).
Many of West’s earliest customers were pioneer lawyers, and John West established a niche by coming up with the tools they needed to practice law more effectively in their remote communities. Often, he had to create those tools himself. Up-to-date court reporters (starting with the North Western Reporter) and the West Key Number System were innovations inspired by the needs of West’s first customers.
WestlawNext builds on the company’s long history of innovation. It was developed to meet the needs of attorneys practicing today, by listening and responding to what you told us you needed to be more effective at helping your clients.
And now you know… The “West” of the story. (Horrible pun intended.)