Due to the different features and search functions of each site, when comparing LexisNexis vs Westlaw, it impossible to say which company is better. It all depends on your legal firm’s requirements such as: practice areas, client needs, user preferences, search requirements and pricing. We will take a look at each of these factors below:
Both LexisNexis and Westlaw provide a wide range of legal cases. Westlaw claims to have three times as many state and federal appellate briefs as their closest competitor. LexisNexis claims to be faster at indexing their material and have 148 more years of Florida Attorney General Opinions than Westlaw.
However, there are some key differences. For instance, if you want to search for patents, you might wish to choose LexisNexis which has its own section for patent law, whereas Westlaw deals with more administrative and practical law.
Each company will have a variety of packages to offer you, depending on your needs, so it is worth taking the time to speak to them and ask for a quote.
For instance, if you are doing research on behalf of your academic institute and want to use the Westlaw form within your intranet, Westlaw may give you the ability to integrate their Westlaw search forms under your institute domain name.
Some users will like to see precedential cases:
• Lexis Nexis has a Legal Issue Trail which enables you to see which cases cite your case, as well as the cases that your case cites under their shepardizing function. You can see this as a graphical representation under some plans. You can also do a search for all landmark cases.
• Westlaw allows you to check for key citations using their keycite function. For more information check out this article – https://lscontent.westlaw.com/images/content/CheckCitewKC10.pdf
Many users will prefer the search functions of one company more than the other. LexisNexis will allow you to pre-filter cases, whereas Westlaw will allow you to prefilter and postfilter.
LexisNexis offers legal students and professional a reliable legal search. One user said ‘For someone comfortable with legal searches using commands like /p or /25, Lexis Nexis is a better search engine that enables you to search more precisely and narrow down your findings faster. I also find Sheppards more reliable than Westlaw’s KeyCite.’
You can search for keywords/topics that are:
• Party Names
• Legal Topics
• At least 5 occurrences
You can also prefilter your search by searching for:
• Federal and State Cases
• Shepard’s Citations
• Landmark Cases
• Supreme Court Briefs
• Federal Statutes, Codes and Regulations
• Law Reviews
• Legal Reference
• Tax Law
You can also search using Boolean terms to narrow down your results. E.g. You can add segment search terms such as court(eighth) in Lexis Advance.
However, there is no way to filter your results after the search except by date.
A study based on over 100 reviews found that users favored Westlaw more in terms of how it met their requirements, ease of use and setup. One user said, “Westlaw is the easier to use for plain keyword searches and for more natural language type searches.”
Using Westlaw you search via
You can filter via:
Westlaw also allows you to filter for a particular court, for example, Ohio Eighth District, whereas Lexis Advance only filters for court level – ie. appellate courts. You can add segment search terms such as court(eighth) in Lexis Advance.
You can also search using the key numbers. This is similar to using a duey-decimal library search allowing you to narrow down particular topics or areas of law and then filter further to find particular cases of interest.
Both companies offer law students free access and free trials for everyone else.
Westlaw is the more expensive of the two, with prices ranging from $300 – 500 per month.
You can request a quote by filling in the form at http://legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/westlaw-legal-research/pricing-and-plans
You can also choose the transaction pricing type: hourly search or per search.
You will notice that Lexis Nexis does not give out pricing plan information. This is because every law firm has different needs when it comes to legal research.
LexisNexis does offer a Research Tool for Solos which is $175 per month. This is specifically meant for either a solo legal practitioner or two-lawyer firms.
Check out the list of discounts and fees at http://www.lexisnexis.com/terms/21/pricing/
The customers of LexisNexis and Westlaw include:
FALR is the Florida Administrative Law Review, publishing Florida caselaw onto our online search engine database and paperback newsletters for our list of subscribers.
LexisNexis has purchased our comprehensive caselaw database on:
Westlaw has purchase our comprehensive caselaw database on:
However, both LexisNexis and Westlaw use the DOAH database for Administrative caselaw.
After doing a careful review of the DOAH database, we have concluded that it is incomplete, since it does not publish Final Orders along with the Recommended Order. We do not publish anything that is incomplete. All our cases come complete with the Final Order.
For a comprehensive online legal search, we recommend you try out our FALR Search here.
If you practice law in Florida, you should check out the FALR legal search engine. We offer online legal database search at a fraction of the price of lexisnexis or Westlaw. Check out some of the features here.