Tip of the Week: Why WestlawNext?

September 29, 2014

Legal solutions TOTWWestlawNext has many resources beyond cases, statutes, and secondary sources. Knowing what they are, where to find them, and how to use them can greatly increase your research efficiency.

Notes of Decisions

If you’re having a hard time finding case law interpreting a statute or rule, or just want to research cases citing a statute more efficiently, pull up the rule or statute and click the “notes of decisions” tab. This is a great way to find cases for those general propositions of law that you know exist but are difficult to find. Notes of decisions are categorized by how they interpret the particular statute you are viewing and provide short, easy-to-read summaries written by our editors.

Tip: Try a terms and connectors search in the search bar in the “Notes of Decisions” tab if there are many Notes of Decisions for a given statute. Here is an example of how we would search within the notes of decisions for Tennessee Code section 47-40-109 for punitive damages:

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Statutes Index

Do you want to search statutes but are having a hard time finding what you need from the table of contents or searches? Our editors have created a very useful Statutes Index to help you find the statute you need. Just click “Statutes Index” on the right under “Tools & Resources” when viewing a particular jurisdiction’s statutes landing page. Here you can search by letter or run a general search to get the section(s) you need, faster.

Tip: Use the Statutes Index if you know the popular name of an act but do not know the citation. Just enter this in the search bar to be brought to an index of popular names of laws: popular name

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In addition to those features, we also have Briefs and Trial Court Orders. Read more about these helpful content sets below.


If you are struggling to find the standard of review, you might wish to search briefs. Briefs contain briefs filed at the appellate level, and they appear on the left side of the screen after you run a global search from the home page.  This is a good place to check if you are not seeing the standard of review in caselaw.

Tip: Once you have a citation to a case cited in a brief, you can quickly pull it up by clicking it and then using our KeyCite system to make sure it is still valid law.

Trial Court Orders

Trial court orders are a great place to check when searching for difficult procedural questions or issues which may not be appealed often due to a trial court’s discretion in managing cases. If you are not finding what you need in cases, check our extensive trial court order coverage (we have over 1.1 million and are adding more) to see if a trial court judge has used the language you need. Trial Court Orders are located on the left side of the screen after a running a global search from the home page.

Tip: Some, but not all Trial Court Orders have Headnotes and Key Numbers under the West Key Number System. If you’re not finding what you need when searching the Headnotes, try searching outside of them.

Notes of Decisions, the Statutes Index, Briefs, and Trial Court Orders may help you find answers faster. Of course, if you have any questions, please do not forget to call or chat with the Westlaw Reference Attorneys. Contact information is at the bottom of nearly every screen on WestlawNext:

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