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Exclusive: Inside the New Westlaw, Lexis & Bloomberg Platforms

Publication Date: 
January 24, 2010
Source: 
ABA Journal
Author: 
Jill Schachner Chanen

Paul Lomio, director of the Robert Crown Law Library and lecturer in law, offered his perspective on commercial legal research databases:

There’s a battle about to break out on your computer screen. On the third floor of West’s sprawling corporate headquarters outside Minneapolis, a veritable army of professionals has been working for nearly five years to create a revamped Westlaw. They are changing everything from the interface users see on their PC screens to all the technology that makes it work behind the scenes.

Known as WestlawNext, the new platform will debut February 1.

On its own suburban campus near Dayton, Ohio, LexisNexis—the other half of the duopoly that has ruled online legal research for almost 40 years (some call it “Wexis”)—is planning its own revamped platform. Referred to internally as New Lexis, it is slated to roll out publicly later this year on a date yet to be determined.

Both companies claim to be creating a legal research experience that will mimic the ease of use their customers have come to expect from the leading Internet search engine, Google.

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Stanford University law librarian Paul Lomio gives Bloomberg Law a mixed review. He believes Lexis and Westlaw may provide better search results than the Bloomberg product, but he likes other features such as its docket search functions. Lomio also gives high marks to Bloomberg’s collaboration features, which allow users to save results, annotate cases and share them with anyone.