June 24, 2010
Like a baseball manager who once played the game, West Reference Attorneys are coach and colleague to lawyers and law librarians looking for help with legal research.
We recently had the chance to talk about the job and its responsibilities with Reference Attorneys Andy O’Meara and Scott Hamel.
O’Meara says the moment he picks up the phone with customers, the focus is on assessing the caller’s situation, and then listening.
“I’ve been on the other side, I worked in a firm for awhile and I remember the partner’s footsteps coming down the hall when they needed me to look up information on something critical to a case,” O’Meara said. “Reference attorneys are really helpful for our customers because they can call in and talk to a licensed attorney – and someone who’s very experienced in legal research – about their legal issue.”
“The help we provide is invaluable and I think the customers appreciate our service because we’re simply there to help if they’re unable to find what they’re looking for,” said Hamel, who litigated for more than 20 years before coming to West. “They can call and discuss with us and we can lead them to the right cases.”
Every West Reference Attorney is a bar-admitted attorney with a deep understanding of Westlaw features, functionality, databases and services. They help refine search queries, find specific laws and documents and answer questions regarding the process of legal research on Westlaw.
“The value we provide to customers is showing them where to find the answer, explaining the content that’s available to them for analysis and also brainstorming with the caller to decide what legal issue it is that they’re trying to research and how best to approach their research problem,” added O’Meara.
In this video clip, O’Meara talks about the skills a reference attorney needs to have and Hamel explains why every call from a customer is “like a game show” for him:
As part of a Westlaw subscription, users can contact a West Reference Attorney anytime, at 1-800-REF-ATTY (1-800-733-2889) or by email.