I have come to realize that giving law students free reign on Westlaw during law school is a terrible, terrible, idea. Here is why... Westlaw sucks us in by offering us unlimited access for free, free printing, and by giving us "Westlaw" Points to be redeemable for fabulous, fabulous prizes (Calculating is aiming for the iPod while I am aiming for a Kate Spade purse for Mrs. Ito). I have truly become a Westlaw Junkie...hoping and wishing for more and more points to satisfy my fix. Here is what they tell me at Westlaw, "research everyday- 20 pts," "answer trivia-10 pts," "attend various seminars- 100-500 pts." In less then a month I have managed to accumulate about 2000 pts (with many, many more still possible before the end of the semester- ask me about the "bingo card.")

Here is what they should tell you about Westlaw before they get you addicted to the free stuff during law school. Once you leave law school, it is really expensive to use it. Several of us here took a Westlaw Seminar entitled "Prepare to Practice" (got us 500 Westlaw points and a beautiful soft leather portfolio) and we found how much it costs out in the real world. Here are just some examples (and the numbers are not exaggerations...).

Typical Database search Costs:

Search all cases- $159 (everytime you hit the "Search" button)
Search one state's cases- $52
Keycite a case- $6.25 (per Case- think of a memo you would write which may cite to 20-30 cases)

Search all cases- $15.80/minute or $948/hour
Search one state's cases- $6.33/minute, $380/hour

Of course this is without any real discounts (some firms have discounts and will allow you unlimited access but remember a client still does not want to see a $4000 bill for "research"). I just thought I would point this out to everyone before you get addicted, for me it is too late, time to go print out some statutes and earn some more Westlaw Points. (I may need an intervention at some point)


The BLS said...

Well, why do you think that drug dealers give you your first hit for free? They KNOW you'll be back.

I secretly think that Westlaw and Lexis Nexis are run by drug dealers.

M said...

Weird, I just went to that prepare to practice session today, and was in the process of writing about my points-whoreness.
I, however, already have enough points for the ipod. Bow to the master!

Elvis said...

what you end up doing though is passing it onto clients. I mean, it sucks, and they bitch and moan, and might even threaten to run you down in the parking lot, but in the end, someone else gets the effing bills.